March 2015

This summary is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered an authoritative guide on how to obtain work authorization in Russia. The intent is to give the reader a general overview of the process only. Procedures and requirements may have changed since the writing of this article. For current and detailed information regarding the topics below, as well as documentary requirements, processing times, post-arrival and departure requirements, penalties for non-compliance, allowances for accompanying family members, and any other information pertaining to your specific needs, please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration professional.

Overview

BUSINESS VISITOR

Permitted Activities – Business visitors must generally limit their activities to the following:

• Making sales calls to potential Russian clients provided that the visitor represents a commercial entity outside of Russia;
• Attending business meetings or discussions, meeting business partners;
• Negotiating or signing agreements or contracts;
• Entering as a representative of a foreign company to install, dismantle, service or repair equipment or software that was supplied by a foreign company, provided it is on a post-sales, contractual basis;
• Attending personal professional development and retraining programs;
• Attending exhibitions, trade fairs;
• Entering as a crew member or a transportation driver.

Type of Business Visas – Certain nationals may enter Russia without need of a business visa (visa-exempt nationals).   All other nationals will require a single, double, or multiple-entry business visa. Note that multi-entry visas are generally available for visitors who already have a previous Russian visa in their passport.

Basic Requirements

1 .Intention of a genuine visit for business and not for paid employment;
2. Passport should be valid for six additional months after the expiration date of the potential Russian visa, and should have at least 2 blank adjacent pages;
3. Evidence that there are no restrictions on his or her traveling to Russia;
4. No intention to permanently reside in Russia;
5. Invitation from the inviting organization (original may be required);
6. A ticket for onward travel from Russia;
7. HIV test if applying for a visa for over six months;
8. Justification letter, confirming purpose of business traveler from inviting party may be required, if applying for a multiple-entry visa;
9. Proof of sufficient funds (bank statement);
10. Medical insurance covering period of stay in Russia (required at some consulates).

Estimated Processing Times – This varies by diplomatic post and country.

Validity Period of Visa – 1-3 months for single and double entry visas, 6-12 months for multiple-entry business visas.

Typical Documents Required – All travelers need to present the following documents to officers in immigration clearance:

• a valid passport or other acceptable travel document and in some cases;
• a valid visa or authority to enter Russia.

EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION 

Basic Requirements – The principal immigration category for temporary employment in Russia is the personal work permit. This is a category for employers to sponsor qualified skilled workers to work as intra-company transferees in Russia on a temporary basis.

Process Overview – The standard process for obtaining work and residence authorization involves an eight-step process summarized below.  Note that for highly skilled employees, who receive a yearly salary of at least RUB 2,000,000 in Russia (or 1,000,000 in certain sectors), a considerably shorter process applies – certain steps may be waived, as indicated below:

1. Work force demand – local labor market test to demonstrate that no resident worker can be found (waived for highly skilled employees);
2. Corporate work permit application – this may list several positions and nationalities and can be used for multiple cases (waived for highly skilled employees);
3. Personal work permit application* (submitted in Russia);
4. Visa Invitation letter application (submitted in Russia – not applicable to highly skilled visa waiver nationals);
5. Work visa application for employee and dependent visa applications for accompanying family members (submitted to Russian Embassy or Consulate in the applicant’s country of residence – not applicable to highly skilled visa waiver nationals);
6. Registration and visa extension (post arrival) – note that a comprehensive medical examination is required for the employee (visa extension and medical are not required for highly skilled employees);
7. Contract notification – once the employee has signed the employment contract** the Federal Migration Authority (FMS) must be notified within 3 business days***;
8. In case of highly skilled employees, companies have to submit a notification on salaries to the Russian authorities every quarter of the year along with other tax reports.

* As of January 2015 a proof of knowledge on Russian language, history and law will need to be submitted within 30 days of issuance of the work permit for any non-highly skilled employee.

** In December 2014 the employment contract needs to meet new requirements, including it being drawn up for an indefinite term and to include confirmation and details on medical coverage.

*** In 2014 the tax authorities and FMS have started to exchange data, which in theory should result in the mandatory Taxpayer Identification Number (Individualiy Nomer Nalogoplatelshika or in short TIN) to be issued to the foreign national after the FMS notification has taken place. In practice this does not always work well and therefore the foreign national may still be required to apply for the TIN through the Tax Authority. Pro-Link GLOBAL will advise on a case by case basis whether or not separate filing for the TIN will be required.

Notes:

• This overview assumes that the company is properly registered with the migration authorities, has submitted a labor forecast and has been allocated places accordingly under the relevant regional quota, or that the position for which the application is being made is quota exempt (either based on position or salary). Submission of a labor forecast is required on an annual basis. Pro-Link GLOBAL can assist with labor forecast and quota applications as well as determining quota exemptions.
• The above described process does not apply to visa waiver nationals who are not applying as highly skilled employee – in January 2015 a different process has been implemented for this specific group of foreign nationals: the work patent process. Pro-Link GLOBAL can advise on the details of this process upon request.

Estimated Processing Time – 16 – 20 weeks, or 4-6 weeks for highly skilled employees.

Validity periods – Standard work permits are valid for up to twelve months and are renewable. Work permits for highly qualified employees are valid for up to three years.

Family Members – Dependents cannot work in Russia without separate work authorization.

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