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Russian laws and visa policy

The Russian government maintains a restrictive and complicated visa regime for foreign travellers who visit, transit, or reside in the Russian Federation. Here are some extracts from the Federal Laws every foreign traveller must uphold:

 
The Federal Law on the Order of Departure from the Russia Federation and Entrance to the Russian Federation


Chapter I. General Information


Article 1. Departure from the Russian Federation and entrance to the Russian Federation (including transit travel) are adjusted by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the international treaties of the Russian Federation, this Federal law, other federal laws, and also the governmental regulations. In case then the international treaty of the Russian Federation establishes other rules, then the rules, stipulated by this Federal law, of the international treaty have an effect.
Article 6. Foreign citizens or persons without citizenship are obliged at entrance to the Russian Federation and departure from the Russian Federation to show the valid documents proving their identity and recognized in this quality by the Russian Federation and the visa if other is not stipulated by the international treaty. Persons without citizenship enter to the Russian Federation and leave the Russian Federation according to the rules established by this Federal law for foreign citizens if other is not stipulated by this Federal law, other federal laws or the international treaty of the Russian Federation. The control over presence of visas or other entry documents of persons in the foreign state is a duty of the transport company (a carrier of passengers) if other is not stipulated by the international treaty of the Russian Federation.


Chapter IV. The Order of registration and Delivery of Documents for Entrance/Departure to and from the Russian Federation


Article 24.

  • Foreign citizens can enter the Russian Federation and leave the Russian Federation with visa and valid documents proving their identity and recognized in this quality by the Russian Federation if other is not stipulated by the international treaties of the Russian Federation.
  • Persons without citizenship can enter the Russian Federation and leave the Russian Federation with visa and valid documents given by corresponding bodies of the state of their residing, proving their identity and recognized in this quality by the Russian Federation if other is not stipulated by the international treaties of the Russian Federation.                                                                                                               The foreign citizens, who have received residence permit in the Russian Federation, enter to the Russian Federation and leave the Russian Federation with valid documents proving their identity and recognized in this quality by the Russian Federation, and residence permit. Persons without the citizenship with residence permit enter to the Russian Federation and leave the Russian Federation with residence permit.
  • Foreign citizens and persons without the citizenship, recognized as refugees in the order established by the federal law, staying in territory of the Russian Federation, can leave the Russian Federation and enter the Russian Federation on the basis of a travel document of the refugee.
  • Foreign citizens and persons without citizenship leave the Russian Federation on the basis of decision of deportation in case then this decision was taken.

Article 25. The cases for delivery to the foreign citizen of the visa are:
The invitation to entrance to the Russian Federation, according to the federal law in the order established by the Government of the Russian Federation. The invitation to entrance to the Russian Federation is given out by the federal enforcement authority, under the petition:

  1. Federal bodies of the government;
  2. Diplomatic representatives and consular establishments;
  3. The international organizations and their representations in the Russian Federation, and also representations of the foreign states at the international organizations which are situated in the Russian Federation;
  4. Bodies of the government of republics of the Russian Federation.


The decision taken by federal enforcement authority, diplomatic representatives either consular establishment of the Russian Federation or representation of the federal enforcement authority, situated within the limits of frontier territory, including in a check point through frontier of the Russian Federation, under the petition of foreign citizen staying outside the Russian Federation sent with necessity of entrance to the Russian Federation for emergency treatment or in case of heavy illness or death of the close relative;

The decision of the federal enforcement authority on delivery to the foreign citizen of the visa, directed to diplomatic representatives or consular establishment of the Russian Federation;

The decision of the head of diplomatic representatives or consular establishment of the Russian Federation on delivery to the foreign citizen of the visa, taken in unusual cases under the writing application of the foreign citizen;

The decision of territorial body of the federal enforcement authority on delivery to the foreign citizen of the sanction to time residing in the Russian Federation;

The agreement on rendering of services on tourist service and acknowledgement on reception of the foreign tourist by the organization which is carrying out tourist activity;

The decision of the federal enforcement authority, or his territorial body on a recognition of the foreign citizen or the person without citizenship the refugee under the application sent by the foreign citizen or the person without citizenship in diplomatic representatives or consular establishment of the Russian Federation.
Article 25.1. Depending on the purpose of entrance of the foreign citizen to the Russian Federation and the purpose of his stay in the Russian Federation the visa can be diplomatic, service, ordinary, transit and the visa of temporarily staying person.
Article 25.6.

  • Depending on the purpose of entrance of the foreign citizen to the Russian Federation and the purpose of his stay in the Russian Federation ordinary visas are subdivided on private, business, tourist, educational, working, humanitarian and entry visa to the Russian Federation for reception of a refuge.
  • The ordinary private visa is given out for three months to the foreign citizen entering to the Russian Federation with guest visit, on the basis of the invitation to entrance to the Russian Federation.
  • The ordinary business visa is given out for the term of one year to the foreign citizen entering to the Russian Federation in case of business trips.
  • The ordinary tourist visa is given out for the term of one month to the foreign citizen entering to the Russian Federation as the tourist, if he has properly made out agreement on rendering of services on tourist service and acknowledgement on reception by the organization which is carrying out tourist activity.
  • The ordinary tourist group visa is given out for the term of one month to the foreign citizen entering to the Russian Federation as the tourist with the organized tourist group (not less than five person) with properly made out agreement on rendering of services on tourist service and acknowledgement on reception by the organization which is carrying out tourist activity.
  • The ordinary educational visa is given out for the term of one year to the foreign citizen entering to the Russian Federation for study in educational establishment.
  • The ordinary working visa is given out to the foreign citizen entering to the Russian Federation for realization of labour activity, for the term when the labour contract takes force, but no more than for one year.
  • The ordinary humanitarian visa is given out for the term of one year to the foreign citizen entering to the Russian Federation for realization scientific, cultural, political, sports, or religious communications and contacts, or pilgrimage, or charities, or delivery of the humanitarian help.
  • The ordinary entry visa to the Russian Federation for reception of a refuge is given out to the foreign citizen for the term of about three months if he has the decision of the federal enforcement authority about recognition this foreign citizen the refugee in territory of the Russian Federation.

Article 25.9.

  • The foreign citizen or the person without citizenship at entrance to the Russian Federation are obliged to receive and fill in a migration card. The migration card must be returned in a check point in the frontier of the Russian Federation when the foreign citizen or the person citizenship leaves the Russian Federation.
  • A migration card - the document maintaining data on the foreign citizen, driving to the Russian Federation, and also it’s used for the surveillance of time stay of the foreign citizen in the Russian Federation.
  • It is required to put in the migration card personal data, terms of stay in Russia and purposes of visit and the prospective stay of residence. It will be a must to fill in the name of the inviting company and the address of the inviting company.
  • Everyone, who has not put a registration mark due to the address of prospective stay of residence within three days (in other words “Visa registration"), will be considered illegal.
  • The migration card consists of two sections and the top portion is immediately collected by the passport/visa control officials, while the bottom part is collected when the person leaves the country to return home.
  • Thus, you now need to make sure that when arriving to Russia, you have the full name and address of the company that made your visa support letter (an invitation). This information is given on your visa support documents, please, copy it for further use.
  • Entry into the country and actual length of the permitted stay will now largely depend on information given in the card and during the "interview" with the visa officials.
  • The official reasoning behind such "migration cards" was given as "allowing officials to count the number of foreigners who remained in Russia after their visa expired, in other words determine the number of illegal immigrants".
  • According to the officials, law-enforcement bodies will have the information on illegal migrants, because migration card contains all their provisional personal data: first and last name, date of birth, sex, passport number, citizenship, purpose of visit, temporary residence in Russia and the period of stay. Migration cards are numbered, but are printed and have no watermarks.


The regulations about representation of Guarantees of Material and Housing Maintenance of Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons for the Period of their stay in the Russian Federation


1. These regulations determine, according to article 16 of the Federal statute "About a legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation" the order of representation by the inviting person of guarantees of material, medical and housing maintenance of the foreign citizen and the stateless person for the period of their stay in the Russian Federation.

2. The inviting party are:

  1. Federal bodies of the government;
  2. Diplomatic representatives and consular establishments of the foreign states in the Russian Federation;
  3. The international organizations and their representations in the Russian Federation, and also representations of the foreign states at the international organizations which are situated in the Russian Federation;
  4. Bodies of the government of republics of the Russian Federation;
  5. Institutions of local government;
  6. Legal persons;
  7. Citizens of the Russian Federation and foreign citizens constantly staying in the Russian Federation.


3. Guarantees of material, medical and housing maintenance of the foreign citizen for the period of his stay in the Russian Federation are letters of guarantee of the inviting party on acceptance on themselves of the following obligations:

  1. granting by the inviting party of money resources for residing the foreign citizen for the period of his stay in the Russian Federation in size is not lower than a living wage established in the republic of the Russian Federation, and also the money resources necessary for departure of the foreign citizen from the Russian Federation upon termination of term of his stay in the Russian Federation;
  2. providing by the inviting party of the foreign citizen arriving to the Russian Federation for realization of labour activity with wages in size not less then minimal size of a payment established by the federal law;
  3. providing by the inviting party of the foreign citizen with the insurance medical policy for the period of his stay in the Russian Federation, or granting to the foreign citizen money resources for medical aid if it is necessary.
  4. granting the habitation for the foreign citizen for the period of his stay in the Russian Federation according to the social norm of the area of habitation established by body of the government of the republic of the Russian Federation.


4. The inviting party at the reference in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation or the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (territorial law-enforcement body) with the petition for delivery of the invitation to entrance to the Russian Federation simultaneously represents guarantees of material, medical and housing maintenance of the foreign citizen for the period of his stay in the Russian Federation.

Please note that this information is subject to change – it’s merely a guideline you may find helpful and for detailed visa instructions, please contact the local Russian Embassy/Consulate.

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