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Work visa

  1. Invitation letter for work visa
  2. Obtaining Russian work visa
  3. Crossing the Russian border
  4. What to be done on arrival to Russia ("migration register" procedure, visa change)

Invitation letter for work visa

In order to obtain work visa an applicant should get an invitation letter first, which in its turn is issued after a work permit is obtained. Invitation letters should be issued by the Federal Migration Service.

Invitation letter for work visa can be of single and multiple entry type. 

Single entry invitation letter is issued for a period of up to 90 days.

Multiple entry invitation letter is issued for a period not exceeding that of the work permit validity. Multiple entry invitation letter can be issued only for highly qualified specialists and foreign nationals hired within the International agreements.

If close relatives (only spouses and minor children) are traveling with an applicant they can apply for a family member invitation letter and a corresponding visa for the same period as the applicant’s one. In case of highly qualified specialists accompanying family members who can apply for a family member invitation letter and a corresponding visa are spouses, children (including adopted), spouses of the children, parents (including adoptive), spouses of parents, grandparents, grandchildren.

Please, note that according to the Russian legislation the applicant’s passport should be valid within 6 months after an invitation letter expires.

*NB: The invitation letter does not give an applicant the right to enter Russia. It is only a document necessary to get a Russian visa at a Russian Consulate or through a visa centre. An applicant should get the visa and is allowed to cross the Russian border only on the basis of a visa granted by Russian Consulate authorities.

Obtaining Russian work visa

Before applying for a work visa please contact the nearest Russian Consulate (their list and locations you may find here) or visa centre to check the following information:

  • The way the documents are submitted;
  • Operating days and hours of the Consulate;
  • Documents necessary to apply for the visa;
  • Visa processing period;
  • Consular fees and the ways of payment. 

The standard procedure of obtaining Russian work visa is as follows:

The documents for a visa can be submitted to the Consulate in person or through a visa centre or travel agency or by a courier mail service.

In general to be granted a work visa the following documents should be submitted to the Consulate:

  • Original invitation letter;
  • Duly completed visa application form (Form #95) available here;
  • Passport with at least 2 blank pages (some Consulates demand 3 blank pages). The applicant’s passport should be valid within 6 months after visa’s expiration;
  • One recent passport size photo (black and white or in colour);
  • HIV Test (AIDS) Certificate taken within the last three months (not needed for children’s (up to 14 years, in some countries – up to 12 years applications and applications of highly qualified specialists (3 year visas) and their accompanying family members);
  • Medical insurance certificate valid for the whole period of stay (in some countries the necessary period of validity of the certificate may vary);
  • Money Order or Certified Bank Check made out to the Russian Consulate for visa processing. 

Please check the information on the procedure of obtaining a visa as well as on the list of the necessary documents at the Consulate or the visa centre of your choice before applying for the details may vary from country to country and even from city to city.

There are variations of the Consular fees and ways of payment depending on the Consulate location, type of visa, applicant’s citizenship and the time for visa processing.

Any Consulate has the right to invite an applicant for an interview or refuse to grant visa without declaring reasons.

Once the visa is received it is necessary to check immediately whether all the information is correct. Omissions in the applicant’s visa cannot be corrected after applicant’s arrival to Russia and may cause serious difficulties when crossing the border.

Crossing the Russian border

Before ordering tickets to Russia, please check the starting date of your visa. It is not possible to pass the passport control before this date. Every foreign traveler entering Russia should complete a Russian Migration card which is usually available on all planes flying to Russia or at the Russian border authorities. Complete both parts in English or in Russian and present it to passport control officials together with the passport.

The Migration card consists of two equal parts: one should be left at the border control when entering Russia. The second part you should keep while staying in Russia. After passing the passport control please make sure that the officer left you one part of the migration card and put correct current stamps on both the visa and migration card. Your part of the migration card must be returned to the passport control official when leaving Russia.

What to be done on arrival to Russia (“migration register” procedure, visa change)

Those who come to Russia with work visas should be put on “migration register” by a host company within 7 working days since the day of their arrival. Foreign nationals hired within the International agreements (and their accompanying family members) have to apply for migration registration after 10 days of stay on the territory of Russia; highly qualified specialists (and their accompanying family members) are to obtain migration registration after 90 days of their stay in Russia.

If a foreign citizen stays at rental or somebody’s apartment the host company should put him on “migration register” in the following way:

Within 7 working days upon arrival to Russia a foreign citizen presents to his contact person in a host company the copies of the following documents:

    • informative pages of the passport;
    • visa;
    • work permit;
    • migration card. 

A host company will complete appropriate documents and process them through the Federal Migration Service or a post office. Federal Migration Service Department puts a stamp into the “notification of arrival” and returns the appropriate part of it to a host company.

A host company transfers then the tear-off part of the “notification of arrival” or a copy of it to a foreign citizen who keeps it up to the last day of his stay in Russia. 

A foreign citizen is automatically considered to be struck off the register while crossing the Russian border.

A foreign citizen should go through “migration register” procedure every time he arrives/departs from Russia. If a foreign citizen moves inside Russia for the period of more than 7 working days he/she has to go through “migration register” procedure too. Highly qualified specialists have to obtain migration registration at the new place of stay only if they are staying there for more than 30 days. 

Those who fail to follow the procedures can be fined up to 7000 RUR for the violation of the Russian immigration law. This may cause also difficulties in obtaining Russian visa next time a foreign national is going to visit Russia. The host company’s authorized person will also be fined  for up to 70000 RUR moreover the host company can be fined up to 1000000 RUR for the violation of the Russian immigration law by a foreign citizen.

Foreign citizens entering Russia with a single entry work visa valid up to 90 days should apply to a local FMS of Russia to change their visa to a multiple entry one valid for the period of the work permit validity.