Migration overview December 2020 – January 2021
At present the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation is consistently taking all the necessary measures to regulate the legal status of foreign citizens located in the territory of the Russian Federation or crossing the border of the Russian Federation.
We would like to bring to your attention an overview of current information on migration issues.
1) Temporary measures to regulate the legal status of foreign citizens and stateless persons in the Russian Federation in connection with the threat of further spread of the new coronavirus infection have been extended until June 15, 2021.
The Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 791 (hereinafter referred to as the “Decree”) was adopted on December 15, 2020. The Decree extends the measures to regulate the legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation in connection with the threat of the spread of a new coronavirus infection until June 15, 2021.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation clarified the main provisions of the Decree, noting the following:
• foreign citizens and the host country are not required to take actions to extend the periods of temporary stay (including the extension of visas), the terms of registration at the place of temporary residence, the periods of temporary and permanent residence, the validity period of the certificate of temporary asylum or refugee certificates, if such periods expire between March 15, 2020 and June 15, 2021;
• the deadline for voluntary departure from the Russian Federation of foreign citizens and stateless persons, in respect of whom an expulsion order has been made in the form of a controlled independent exit, prohibition to entry the Russian Federation or the undesirability of stay (residence) in the Russian Federation, has been suspended;
• in relation of foreign citizens, decisions on forced administrative expulsion from the Russian Federation, on deportation or transfer to a foreign state in accordance with international treaties of the Russian Federation, on readmission, on reducing the period of temporary stay, on deprivation of refugee status or temporary asylum status, on cancellation earlier issued visas, work permits, patents, temporary residence permits, permanent residence permits, certificates of a participant of the State Programme of Support for the Resettlement in the Russian Federation of Compatriots Residing Abroad are not made.
It is especially noted that from March 15, 2021 the abovementioned procedure will not apply to citizens of foreign states (including persons holding a permanent residence permit or other document confirming the right to permanent residence in a foreign state), with which as of December 15, 2020 transport links have been resumed (except for “evacuation” flights)(1). If after December 15, 2020 transport links are resumed with countries not indicated in the list, then the abovementioned measures will not be applied to citizens of these countries after 90 days from the date of resumption of transport links.
For foreign citizens who left the territory of the Russian Federation before the closure of the borders and who have a temporary residence permit, permanent residence permit or certificate of a participant of the State Programme of Support for the Resettlement in the Russian Federation of Compatriots Residing Abroad, the period from March 15, 2020 to June 15, 2021 does not count towards the period of stay abroad and the duration of the status, respectively.
For foreign citizens who arrived in the Russian Federation in a manner that does not require a visa, the right to file an application for the issuance (renewal) of a patent is retained until June 15, 2021 without considering the requirements for the deadline for filing documents and the stated purpose of entry. Work permits for foreign nationals from “visa” countries covered by the Decree will be issued with a validity period until June 15, 2021.
Additionally, the right of foreign citizens to leave the Russian Federation to the state of their citizenship, excluding transit travel through third countries, is retained according to documents proving their identity and recognized in the Russian Federation as such if the validity of such documents expired after March 14, 2020.
If the document with an expired validity period from March 15, 2020 to June 15, 2021 had a visa that also expired in the indicated period, then these documents are valid for leaving the Russian Federation during 2021 without the need to obtain a transit visa, with the exception of the abovementioned cases related to the resumption of transport links with foreign states.
2) The process of entry to the territory of the Russian Federation for relatives of highly qualified specialists (hereinafter referred to as the “HQS”) is simplified.
Foreigners working in Russia as HQS can enter the country with family members (these include spouses, parents, children, adoptive parents and adopted children). In this case, the entry of family members of the HQS must be agreed with the Federal Security Service and, if a visa is required, with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.
3) The possibility of multiple entry of foreign HQS is limited.
Despite the fact that the restriction on entry to the Russian Federation does not apply to persons involved in labor activities as HQS, multiple entry to the Russian Federation is not provided for them.
4) The Government of the Russian Federation has determined the procedure for issuing the recently introduced unified electronic visas.
The purpose of the introduction of electronic visas is to facilitate the process of crossing the border of the Russian Federation for short-term trips with a business or guest purpose, as a tourist, in order to participate in scientific, cultural, socio-political, economic, sports events and to carry out appropriate relations and contacts.
The unified electronic visa is a single-entry visa. The period of validity of a unified electronic visa is sixty days from the date of its issuance with the permitted period of stay of a foreign citizen in the Russian Federation for no more than sixteen days from the date of entry into the territory of the Russian Federation. The list of foreign countries for citizens of which a unified electronic visa can be issued was approved by Resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 2571-r as of October 06, 2020. The list includes 52 countries(2).
To obtain a unified electronic visa a foreign citizen at least 4 calendar days before the expected date of entry into the Russian Federation, fills out and applies for a unified electronic visa. In this case, an invitation from the Russian host or confirmation of a hotel reservation is not required. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation informs that the cost of such visas will not exceed 50 USD.
Order of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation No. 22683 as of December 14, 2020 established the composition of information that a foreign citizen must indicate in the application for a unified electronic visa. The composition of the information includes information about the trip, marital status and information about relatives living in the Russian Federation, address of residence, etc.
However, the issuance of unified electronic visas is currently suspended because the Russian authorities have introduced a moratorium on entry and completion of documents for foreigners in connection with the spread of the new coronavirus infection. Thus, the issuance of unified electronic visas will become possible only after the epidemiological situation improves and the abovementioned moratorium is lifted.
5) The procedure for registration and issuance of patents for foreign citizens and stateless persons to carry out labor activities in the territory of the Russian Federation has been updated.
Applicants are foreign citizens and stateless persons legally staying in the Russian Federation who have arrived in the Russian Federation in a manner that does not require a visa and have reached the age of eighteen.
The service for registration and issuance of a patent is provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.
The term for registration and issuance of a patent for a foreign citizen should not exceed 10 working days from the date of acceptance of an application from a foreign citizen.
1. These countries include: Great Britain, Tanzania, Turkey, Switzerland, Egypt, Maldives, United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Korea, Cuba, Serbia, Japan, Seychelles, Ethiopia.
2. Austria, Andorra, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Vatican, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, China (including Taiwan), Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, North Macedonia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Philippines, Finland, France, Croatia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Sweden, Estonia, Japan.