Foreigners coming to Russia for work face many challenges. Obtaining the necessary visa and paperwork is often complicated and lengthy, requiring advanced preparation from you and your employees. With quotas set in place, your employees could go through the entire process only to get denied if quotas were already met. Plus, a work visa is the most complex and expensive visa type.
Available Work Visas in Russia
Your employees need both a Russian work permit and a visa to stay compliant. The two visa options include:
- Single-entry: This visa is valid for 90 days. The Russian Consulate will issue it based on a work visa invitation, which employees get once they have a work permit.
- Multiple-entry: The local office of the Russian Migration police reissues the multiple-entry visa based on how long the work permit is valid.
Your employees also have Russia work permit options. Anyone from non-Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries can apply for the standard work permit, valid for the length of the employment contract. It requires securing a temporary residence permit first. Skilled professionals with a salary over RUB 1 million can apply for the work permit for highly qualified professionals, which gets processed faster, is valid for three years, and allows family members to obtain Russian visas.
Keep in mind that citizens of CIS countries do not need a visa to enter the country. They can apply for a work patent with the local Russian Directorate of Migratory Affairs (GUVM) office in their region within 30 days of entering. The work patent gives people 60 days to find employment and is valid for 12 months with the option to renew once. However, applicants cannot obtain a work patent unless they pass an exam showing that they know the Russian language, history, and legislation.
What You Need to Obtain a Work Visa in Russia
As an employer, you’re required to obtain all work permits on behalf of employees. When you apply at the GUVM, you’ll need to submit the following documents for employees:
- A color passport photo
- A passport or other valid ID
- Copies of necessary qualification certificates
- A medical certificate showing no diseases
- A receipt for the payment of all fees
As soon as your employees get their work permit, they’ll receive an invitation for a work visa from the GUVM. In addition to filling out a work visa application, employees will also need to provide:
- A passport
- One passport photo
- The letter of invitation
- A letter from you with job details, work location, and contract dates
- A medical certificate
The Application Process for a Work Visa in Russia
The first step to obtaining a working visa in Russia is completing the application and attaching a photo. Your employees will also need to make sure they have a passport valid for at least six months after they enter Russia. You should also write a letter of invitation for your employees that shows why they’re coming to Russia and explains that you will host them during your stay.
The Russian Federation requires that all employees make a doctor’s appointment, as the country has additional restrictions on people traveling with HIV/AIDS. A doctor must test all individuals for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and leprosy. Along with the recent medical test results, employees can submit their visa applications in-person or through a travel agency. They’ll also need to pay the applicable fees depending on their visa type.
Other Unique and Important Considerations
After obtaining a work permit and visa, the employee will be entitled to work, but only for you. The visa should show your company’s name so that the government knows who your employees are. If you terminate an employment contract, the employee will have to leave the country and go through the entire application process again to obtain a visa for a new employer.
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