Updates on temporary migration measures during pandemic in Russia
Following the closure of borders and quarantine measures under Presidential Decree No. 274 dated April 18, 2020 introducing temporary measures to regulate the legal status of foreign nationals and stateless persons in the Russian Federation due to the threat of the further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ministry of Internal Affairs has taken measures to regulate the legal status of foreign nationals residing in Russia.
- Updates from May 25, 2020
Clarifications provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs on 22.05.2020 (in Russian)
- Updates from June 5, 2020
Additional clarifications provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (in Russian)
- Updates from June 16, 2020
1. New Presidential Decree (RU) prolongs the measures from the Decree No. 274 until September 15-th and changes some of the requirements for patents and work permits.
2. Additional clarifications provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (in Russian)
- Updates from June 26, 2020
A new decree has been adopted. Highly qualified specialists are allowed single entry, and visa invitations and work permits may be issued to foreign nationals outside the Russian Federation subject to certain conditions.
- Updates from September 03, 2020
Answers to frequently asked questions have been posted on the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
- Updates from September 23, 2020
New Presidential Decree (RU) prolongs some of the measures from the Decree No. 274 until December 15-th.
- Updates from December 15, 2020:
A new Presidential decree (RU) has been issued.
- Updates from December 17, 2020:
New clarifications by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Russia border crossing
Foreign nationals (with a few exceptions) cannot enter the Russian Federation for an indefinite period (Russian Government Decree), and foreigners for whom an exception is made also experience significant difficulties due to the cancellation of most transport links between countries.
Updates from June 09, 2020: Russian Government eases restrictions on entry and exit from the country
Updates from June 26, 2020: Highly qualified specialists are allowed single entry into Russia based on a list that federal authorities should send to the Federal Security Service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The date of arrival and the checkpoint through which highly qualified specialists plan to enter the country must be specified. In addition to their passport and visa (if a visa is required for entry), highly qualified specialists must also have with them a valid employment contract or services agreement. August 27, 2020: Entry procedure for Highly Qualified Specialists during the period of restrictions related to COVID-19
Updates from July 27, 2020: A decree has been issued to remove entry restrictions through air checkpoints as well as restrictions on the issuance of visas to citizens from Great Britain, Tanzania, Turkey, Switzerland (September 02, 2020 Egypt, Maldives and UAE (government decree), September 20, 2020 Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, South Korea (government decree)) and citizens of other countries entitled to permanent residence in these four countries entering the Russian Federation from these four countries. Entry restrictions have been removed for Abkhazia (August 01, 2020) and South Ossetia (September 12, 2020).
September 23, 2020: Foreign nationals have been allowed since September 16, 2020 to exit the Russian Federation to go to their own country (without transit through other countries) with identity documents (provided they are recognized as such in the Russian Federation) that have expired after March 14, 2020. This means that if the passport of a foreign national (or other identity document) has expired after March 14, 2020 and has not be renewed in the Russian Federation, the foreign national holding such passport must urgently leave the Russian Federation or apply for a new passport through the relevant consulate.
Extension of document validity – Foreign nationals in the Russian Federation
Foreign nationals who are already in the Russian Federation and cannot leave the country due to border closure.
Immigration cards, visas, temporary residence permits, permanent residence permits and other documents that have expired or will expire between March 15 and
June September December June 15, 2021, except for work permits, patents, and authorizations to hire foreign nationals (June 16, 2020; September 23, 2020; December 15, 2020).
Updates from June 16, 2020: The work permit, PHP and patent of foreign nationals and stateless persons expiring after June 15, 2020 will not be extended, so these documents will need to be issued (renewed) by applying to migration authorities as usual although it will not be necessary to meet the following requirements:
- People that have arrived in Russia on a visa-free basis will be able to apply for (extend) their patent regardless of the deadline for submitting documents for their processing and regardless of the requirements for purpose of entry and exit from the Russian Federation;
- Employers with a valid authorization to hire foreign nationals will be able to apply for (extend) the work permit of their employees that have arrived in Russia on a visa basis regardless of the requirements for purpose of entry for any period until
September DecemberJune 15, 2021 inclusive (September 23, 2020; December 15, 2020).
So, work permits, patents, and authorizations to hire foreign nationals expiring after June 15, 2020 are not extended and need to be re-issued/extended. From June 16, employers do not have the right to hire foreign nationals without valid documents as mentioned above. The validity terms of the other documents listed in Decree No. 274 are extended until
September December June 15, 2021 (September 23, 2020; December 15, 2020).
Updates from September 03, 2020: According to new clarifications provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in case of expiration of the validity period of temporary stay, visa, registration at the place of stay and residence, passport, and temporary residence permit, these documents are automatically extended for 185 days, and there is no need to apply to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to extend the validity period of these documents. It will also be possible to apply for permanent residence permits within 185 days of the expiry date of temporary residence permits.
Update December 15, 2020: If regular transport link (excluding evacuation flights) was resumed with a particular country on December 15, 2020, then the validity of the documents of the foreign nationals from that country has been extended by 90 days, so not until June 15, 2021 but until March 15, 2021. If regular transport link is resumed with a particular between December 15, 2020 and June 15, 2021, then the validity of the documents of the foreign nationals from that country will be automatically extended by 90 days from the date of travel resumption. This rule does not apply to participants in state programs. Current list of countries with which transport link has been resumed with document renewal dates. All foreign nationals who can enter the country visa-free are entitled to apply for a patent, patent extension, or patent re-issuance regardless of the deadline for submission of documents and the declared purpose of entry and exit from the Russian Federation.
How to extend/renew documents?
If any of these documents expire between March 15 and June 15, 2020, they are automatically extended free of charge for 93 days from their expiration date. Local authorities continue working and are open as usual. They accept documents and provide advice subject to quarantine measures and restrictions imposed in your region.
Updates from June 16, 2020: The validity of these documents will also be extended automatically between June 16 and
September December June 15 2021 (September 23, 2020; December 15, 2020) (except for the documents listed in Decree No. 392, namely patents, work permits and authorizations to hire foreign nationals). The procedure for obtaining patents has been simplified for foreign nationals in Russia on a visa-free basis. Patents will now be issued regardless of visit purpose requirements and regardless of the deadlines for submitting documents and leaving the Russian Federation. In addition, from June 16, 2020 onwards, the appropriate amount of advance payments for personal income tax should be paid for patents.
Updates from 13.07.2020: New forms for temporary residence permit and permanent residence permit
Document cancellation for foreign nationals who have left the Russian Federation
The law provides that many documents (e.g. temporary residence permits, permanent residence permits, work permits, etc.) are cancelled if foreign nationals leave the Russian Federation for more than six months. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this rule is suspended until
June September December June 15, 2021 (June 16, 2020; September 23, 2020) for work permits, temporary residence permits, permanent residence permits, certificates of state program participants, visas, and patents.
Deferred procedures. If they were decided before March 15, 2020, expulsion, deportation, readmission, withdrawal of refugee status or temporary asylum, cancellation of documents (visas, temporary residence permits, permanent residence permits, etc.) will not go ahead or will be temporarily suspended.
September 23, 2020: The deadlines for voluntary departure from the Russian Federation for foreign nationals and stateless persons subject to administrative expulsion from the Russian Federation, foreign nationals and stateless persons who have not been authorized to enter the Russian Federation, or who are deemed not desirable to stay (live) in the Russian Federation have been suspended since September 16, 2020 (Item 1(c) Decree). This means that from September 16 onwards foreign nationals and stateless persons may be deported from the Russian Federation in other ways (for example, court decision) except for voluntary departure from the Russian Federation.
Since September 16, no decisions have been adopted for forced administrative expulsion from the Russian Federation, for deportation or transfer to another country under the international treaty of the Russian Federation on readmission, as well as decisions reducing the period of temporary stay in the Russian Federation, denying refugee status, temporary asylum, canceling previously issued visas, work permits, patents, temporary residence permits, residence permits, certificates of state program participants issued for foreign nationals and stateless persons
(except for foreign nationals and stateless persons released from imprisonment or in breach of Russian state border laws, or posing a threat to the national security of the Russian Federation, including those advocating a violent change in the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation, or helping with the commission of terrorist (extremist) acts or committing them, as well as other actions supporting terrorist (extremist) activities) (Item 2(b) Decree). Update December 15, 2020: People “who do not respect public order and public safety, including those participating in unauthorized meetings, demonstrations, marches, and picketing” have been added in the special categories of individuals on whom any relevant decisions may be imposed (expulsion, deportation, etc.) We recommend foreign nationals to follow the news and avoid places where the aforementioned events are held to prevent any accidental recognition as participants in such events which would entail the subsequent application of abovementioned sanctions.
So, since September 16:
- Decisions on undesirability of stay (residence) may be adopted, and foreign nationals that are deemed undesirable may even be expelled from the Russian Federation by court decision;
- Some exceptions have been made for special categories of citizens for whom any relevant decisions may be adopted.
Easing of some requirements for employers hiring foreign nationals
Employers and customers of goods and services (December 15, 2020) are entitled to hire foreign nationals without work permits and patents from March 15 to June 15, 2021 inclusive provided they have a valid authorization to hire foreign nationals.
From June 16, 2020 onwards, employers must apply for (renew) these documents as usual if they expire after June 15, 2020 (December 15, 2020). They also must comply with the restrictions and other measures put in place for public sanitation and disease control purposes.
Updates from June 16, 2020: Work permits will be issued (or renewed) until
September December June 15, 2021 (September 23, 2020; December 15, 2020) inclusive to foreign nationals that are in the Russian Federation on a visa basis regardless of visit purpose requirements. In such case, employers must have an authorization to hire foreign nationals and comply with all restrictions as well as take the necessary measures for safe resumption of work. For more detailed information on the requirements for organization of work, read our article on resuming work after the end of non-working day period.
Update July 16, 2020: The Government has approved amendments to the Russian Tax Code providing that in 2020 individuals are to retain their right to remain tax residents of the Russian Federation provided that they actually stayed in the Russian Federation between 90 and 182 calendar days inclusive in the period from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020. To obtain the status of Russian tax resident, an application must be submitted to the local office of the Federal Tax Service at the place of permanent or temporary residence. We recommend drawing up this application as follows: "I hereby request the status of tax resident for 2020 in compliance with Article 207(2.2) of the Russian Tax Code." Full name and taxpayer identification number (INN) must also be indicated. We also recommend specifying the date of entry to the Russian Federation and providing with the application documents confirming that you stayed in the Russian Federation for more than 90 days in 2020 (for example, a copy of all pages of your passport stamped by the border service). We recommend going to the Federal Tax Service with two copies of the application and getting the copy that you keep with you stamped by the Federal Tax Service. This way, in case of delay from the Federal Tax Service, you will have proof that your application was made within the timeframe set out by the Russian Tax Code. Applications must be submitted by April 30, 2021 (Article 229(1) Russian Tax Code)
What has remained unchanged and has yet to be clarified?
- The clarifications provided by the authorities do not preclude the imposition of fines, especially on employers.
- The Ministry of Internal Affairs has granted no breaks and postponements for notifications.
- No explanations have been given on how to issue documents to foreign nationals outside the Russian Federation if their documents expire during the period from March 15, 2020 to
SeptemberDecember 15, 2020. Updates from June 26, 2020: In accordance with a new decree, work permits and visa invitations may be issued subject to certain conditions even if highly qualified specialists are outside the Russian Federation.