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Work Visa Exemption for Russia

In this article, we will explain who is exempt from the requirement to hold a work visa for Russia. For expert assistance with your immigration matter, contact Reiss Edwards, immigration lawyers and solicitors in London, on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk

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Russia is a culturally rich nation, offering a great deal to prospective workers and their families from around the world. In addition to its primary industrial sectors of oil and gas, mining, aircraft manufacturing, aerospace, electrical engineering, automotive, transport, road, and agriculture machinery production, Russia is now experiencing considerable growth in the service sector, especially in the areas of finance and technology. Unfortunately, without expert help from an immigration lawyer, the process of applying for a work visa in Russia can be a lengthy and complex process. However, depending on your nationality or current situation, you may be lucky enough to be exempt from needing a permit to work in Russia. In this article, we will explain who is exempt from the requirement to hold a work visa for Russia

Who normally needs a work visa for Russia

Most foreign nationals need a visa to work in Russia (unless exempt, as explained below). There are two main types of work visas for Russia; the Standard Work Visa and the Highly Skilled Worker Visa. The standard visa is for foreign workers who have been offered short-term employment in Russia and is only granted for a short period of up to 90 days. Because the Standard Work Visa in Russia uses a quota system limiting how many people can be hired from overseas by Russian businesses, gaining a work visa can be tricky without a strong understanding of the visa application system.

The Highly Skilled Migrant visa is for those with strong work and academic skills – referred to as ‘Highly Qualified Specialists’ (HQS) and is typically granted for up to three years initially.

Who is exempt from applying for a work permit for Russia?

Some foreign nationals are free to work in Russia without restriction and do not require a Russian work visa or permit, these include:

  • Nationals of a country in the Commonwealth of Independent States and nationals of a country in the EurAsian Economic Union including Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine (nationals of CIS countries do need to apply for a work patent, however – see below for details).
  • Staff members of diplomatic missions or consulates of overseas countries in Russia and their private domestic employees
  • Foreign citizens with an existing Russian residence permit and living in Russia
  • Foreign businesspeople working on a short-term temporary basis for an overseas company in Russia can apply for a Business Visa rather than a work visa.
  • Staff members of overseas businesses coming to Russia for a short-term visit to install, repair, service, or maintain equipment (such as IT equipment and machinery)
  • Overseas journalists who have the accreditation necessary to work in Russia
  • International students studying in Russia on a valid study visa who are working under the terms of their visa
  • Foreign nationals who have been invited to teach in Russia for an educational institution
  • Sports participants and athletes under 18 years of age.
  • Foreign nationals planning to spend no more than thirty days to tour in the entertainment or cultural sectors.
  • Applicants under the State Program for Assistance with Voluntary Relocation to the Russian Federation (this scheme is for ethnic Russians and their family members who are living overseas and wish to relocate to Russia).

Work patents for nationals of Commonwealth of Independent States

In 2014, Russia passed a federal law changing the requirements for foreign nationals from non-visa countries (‘visa-free foreign nationals’) wishing to work in Russia. The new law was designed to make it easier to employ visa-free foreign nationals. As a result, nationals of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) do not need a work visa, but they do need to apply for a work patent. This includes nationals of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Tajikistan. Under this change, there is no requirement for Russian employers to obtain or adhere to a quota when hiring foreign nationals within their organisation. Applications for work patents must be made to the Federal Migrant Service in Russia.

There are two types of work patent, these include:

  1. A work patent for visa-free foreign nationals who are employed by legal entities, individuals, entrepreneurs, notaries, and lawyers engaged in private practice and other entities subject to state registration and/or licensing, and;
  2. A work patent for visa-free foreign nationals who are employed by individuals who are Russian nationals to perform work in order to meet the individual’s personal, household and other needs not linked with entrepreneurial activities.

Applicants for a patent must have medical insurance which will cover the length of their stay in Russia, and employers are still required to tell the state authorities when they hire a non-visa national and when they leave their employment.

Patents cost from 1,200 RUB and allow holders to work in Russia for up to one year (this can be renewed once). The typical processing time for a work patent for a CIS national is approximately ten working days. If your application is complex or requires additional information, this may take longer.

CIS nationals must apply for a work patent within 30 calendar days of their arrival in Russia, or they face a potential fine of 15,000 RUB. If their application for a work patent is approved, the CIS national then has 60 days to find employment in Russia.

Reiss Edwards has the resources and expertise to assist with all aspects of Russian immigration. If you need assistance with your work visa or patent for Russia or any other immigration matter, contact our immigration solicitors for Russian immigration on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk

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"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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