October 10, 2011

The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) issued a recent announcement confirming a new electronic border control database that will more easily track departure and re-entry of visitors to Russia.  AmCham is strongly warning foreign business travelers to not inadvertently or intentionally exceed the validity of their business visas as overstays will result in a traveler’s detention upon seeking departure from Russia.

New Electronic Border Control

Beginning the month of September 2011, the Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS) has implemented an enhanced electronic border control system to track the amount of time foreign visitors remain in Russia.  Business travelers possessing multi-entry, long-duration business visitor visas will be particularly targeted due to perceived violations by business travelers overstaying their maximum duration of stay in Russia.

Business visitors are reminded to check the validity of their visas and the number of entries. Russian business visas can be issued for single, double or multi-entry with an overall validity period of six months to five years. Most important is to confirm the maximum number of days allowed per entry denoted on the visa.  Under Russian immigration law, the maximum period of stay for business visits is 90 days within a given 180-day period.

Penalties for Overstaying

According to the AmCham announcement, the FMS has advised that foreign visitors who stay longer than 90 days will be detained at the border and directed to the nearest branch of the Federal Migration Service to pay a fine of RUB2,000-5,000 (approx. US$61-$153) and an added step to apply for a transit visa permitting departure from them the country.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS 

As a general rule, visitors to Russia should ensure they do not overstay the number of days per entry denoted on their visa.  Under the new electronic monitoring system, Russian immigration officers can readily identify foreign nationals who overstay their status.

Companies are advised to remind their Russian business travelers to fully understand the conditions of stay, including the limited circumstances where stay can be extended while in country.  Visitors can review specific information at: http://www.fms.gov.ru/useful/formvisa/index_eng.php

This news alert was provided in coordination with material from the Moscow Times and the FMS.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader 

This content is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or final guidance for any immigration matter. Readers are reminded that a country’s immigration laws and requirements may change with little to no advance public notice. Questions regarding specific immigration matters should be addressed to your Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist.