VISTA Immigration

Russian Immigration Lawyers

Why us


believe that a single person can change the world and make a difference in life of other people. An entrepreneur, a corporate executive, a sportsman or any other professional has that power. We believe that such professionals are needed in every part of the world and especially now in our country – Russia. Our job is to help such people do their job, accomplish their dreams, start and grow their business in Russia.

VISTA Immigration provides professional advice in the field of migration legislation covering all aspects of employment of foreign citizens in Russia. Whether you need a business visa to come to Russia or obtain work permit we are here to help. We can also assist in obtaining residency permits and Russian citizenship.

We do our best to foresee any possible risks and issues and take all necessary actions to make the process of obtaining work permits and visas as smooth as possible. We do Take Care of your immigration needs as they are our own.


Years of successful practice


Work permits obtained


Specialists in immigration team



In order for a foreign national to work in Russia such foreign national has to have a work permit and work visa. Foreign nationals have to have a sponsoring entity (employer) that would apply for a work permit and work visa on behalf of the foreign national. Citizens of the CIS countries with which Russia has non-visa regime need to apply for a patent not a work permit. Foreign nationals from the Custom Union countries Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kirgizia are not subject to the work-permit, patent or visa requirements.

This service includes:

  • Consulting services with regard to the requirements of the Russian federal and territorial migration authorities to companies employing foreign nationals
  • Assistance in obtaining of an HQS and standard work permits for foreign nationals
  • Assistance in obtaining necessary visas for family members
  • Extension of work permits and dependent family members immigration documents
  • Consulting and other necessary assistance in the course of processing the documents necessary for obtaining work and business types of visas for the Client’s foreign employees
  • Obtaining work permits for foreign employees in the Russian regions
  • Representing Client’s interests with the migration and labor authorities

Nearly all foreign nationals need visas for entry into Russia. Most foreign nationals must be sponsored to receive advance authorization to enter, which comes as an invitation from the migration authority. Nationals of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan (Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries) may enter without visas.

Most foreign nationals seeking to enter Russia temporarily need sponsors for visa invitations. Possible sponsors are Russian legal entities, such as domestic corporations or foreign corporations accredited to do business in Russia

This service includes:

  • Obtaining of official letter of invitation from Russian Immigration Authorities on behalf of the Client
  • Preparation of the letter of invitation on company letterhead (some EU countries, USA)
  • Obtaining of family members visas
  • Registrations upon arrival

Many foreign nationals are seeking to stay in Russia for longer and are applying for residency permits and citizenship. Obtaining a 3-year temporary residency permit is subject to an annual quota but for those foreign nationals that have close relatives in Russia a non-quota procedure is available. A 5-year residency permit is available to be applied for after residing 1 year based on temporary residency permit. Both documents allow working with out a work permit in Russia and residency permit allows visa free travel in and out. After residing 5 years based on residency permit foreign national can apply for a Russian citizenship. General rule is that foreign national has to apply for termination of his/her current citizenship in order to obtain the Russian one, but there are exceptions to that.

This service includes:

  • Consulting on the pros and cons of obtaining residency in Russia
  • Assistance in obtaining of 3-year temporary residence permit
  • Assistance in obtaining of 5-year residency permit
  • Assistance in obtaining of Russian citizenship

Many countries require official certifications to establish the authenticity of documents that are submitted with immigration applications. Procuring and authenticating the mandatory documents can be troublesome and time-consuming process. We provide services to secure and to properly authenticate documents through legalization or apostille

This service includes:

  • Marriage Certificates
  • Birth Certificates
  • Police Clearance Certificates
  • Translations
  • Notarizations
  • Apostil
  • Consular Legalisations

Immigration audit is the check conducted to ensure that the employer is compliant with the requirements of the Russian migration legislation when employing foreign national. An audit report produced as a result of the audit contains information on non-compliance issues and recommendations how to ensure that in the future all requirements of employment of foreign nationals are met

This service includes:

  • Immigration compliance audit of employment of foreign nationals in Russia
  • Audit of internal HR documentation
  • Traking of work permit, visa validity, registrations and notification requirements
  • Preparation of Audit report

This service includes:

  • Defining of residence tax status
  • Collection of information about all incomes worldwide
  • Preparation of declaration
  • Guidelines how to submit declaration and pay tax

Residents of the Russian Federation (all citizens of the Russian Federation, as well as foreign citizens with a residence permit) who were in 2021 for a total of more than 183 days on the territory of the Russian Federation, having bank or broker accounts, accounts in payment systems, electronic wallets, insurance policies, accounts (personal cabinets) in other financial organizations are required to file a so-called “ODS” report – on the flow of funds on foreign accounts. Deadline for submission of such reports has been recently extended.

This service includes:

  • Assessment of your case
  • Completion of the report
  • Assistance with filing

Russian Immigration A-Z

All the valuable information on the latest Russian immigration news and legislative alerts, interesting case studies, answers to the difficult immigration questions and much more immigration related information.


There are 2 basic entry regimes in Russia: “Visa-free” and a “Visa regime”.

The general rule is that visa is required to enter the country.

Though, there are certain countries with which Russia has signed international agreements to allow nationals of these countries to enter Russia without the need to apply for the visa provided certain conditions are observed (on these, please see answers to Q2 and Q3 below).

Countries which citizens can enter Russia visa-free include:

CIS Countries: Armenia, Belorussia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan

Other countries such as: Israel, Argentina, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, Serbia, etc. (with which there are bilateral agreements regarding visa-free travel).

While on a visa-free regime in Russia foreign national can’t perform work activities, if they though want to:

Foreigners from CIS countries: must apply for a patent to work in Russia (sponsorship of an employer is not required+ don’t need to exit Russia, in case a foreigner entered Russia with the purpose to find work and it is stated in their migration card. If migration card says otherwise, they will need to leave the country and re-enter again)

Foreigners from non-CIS countries:

  1. have to find an employer to sponsor their work visa
  2. exit Russia to apply for the work visa
  3. re-enter Russia to start work.

While on a visa-free regime in Russia foreign national can engage in following activities:

  • be a tourist: visit sights, performances, exhibitions, museums, socialize and etc.
  • act as a business visitor: participate in meetings, negotiations, conferences and workshops.

CIS Countries: 90 calendar days from each 180 days

Other Countries: from 14 to 90 calendar days*

*Period of visa-free stay is determined by the respective International Agreement between Russia and the Country of your citizenship.

Business visa – is visa issued to foreign national who comes to Russia with “Business purposes” (see Q7).
Generally, business visas are issued for the period of 1 to 12 months.

Although there are exceptions:
for USA citizens – 1 month to 3 years,
for French citizens – up to 5 years.
Processing time: approx. 3 – 4 weeks

Types of Business visa:

  1. 1 entry
  2. double entry
  3. multiple entry

For the USA, EU (except UK and Ireland) and China – Invitation letter on the company letterhead from the company in Russia.

For other countries – Invitation letter should be requested by inviting company from immigration authorities (Invitation letter should be sent to the foreign national and foreign national will receive the visa after he applied to the Russian Consulate abroad)

Inviting company – should be the company which you are going to visit (it is not compliant to use unrelated to your business trip third parties as inviting company). Inviting company is legally liable for your stay in Russia and can assist you in case of any unpleasant situation.

IMPORTANT Notice: Border control in Russia can ask you about your Inviting company and the purpose of your visit.

  • Attending meetings, conferences, trade fairs, auctions, or seminars.
  • Negotiating or signing agreements or contracts.
  • Attending meetings on the invitation of a government body.
  • Entering as a representative of a foreign company to install, dismantle, service, or repair the company’s equipment.
  • Examining goods to be purchased or purchasing or delivering goods pursuant to a sales contract
  • Attending personal professional development and retraining programs.
  • Giving lectures at institutions of higher academic or professional education.
  • Entering as a foreign media correspondent to report on a specific event or to serve as a technical assistant to a foreign media correspondent.
  • Entering as a crew member or transportation service driver.

If you are a foreign journalist and you would like to conduct interviews for the foreign media, Accreditation from the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Russia is required. Foreign Affairs Ministry will issue business invitation letter and you will apply with this letter for the business visa at the Russian Consulate abroad.

In case you conduct interview for your own private purposes (writing in your blog about Russia) this activity can be done on a tourist or business visa, all depends on the circumstances!

  • If a business trip, even if very brief, will involve activities other than those permitted under a business visa
  • Types of activities allowed under business visa: see Q7
  • Even if activities are limited to those listed in Q7, but foreign national generates profit for the host entity and/or receives compensation from the host entity and/or takes direction from the host entity a work permit may be required

In some cases activities like: stage speaking, participation in sporting events and music band performances can be conducted on business visa, but never on tourist visa, in such cases work authorization may be required.

Dependent family members (spouse and unmarried child under 18 years old) should get dependent invitation letters.

Each family member who owns his/her own passport will be issued a separate invitation letter. They have to apply for the visa with the principal applicant at the Russian consulate abroad. Children who don’t have their own passports should be included into parents’ visa application.

Family members can also use another, independent way to enter Russia – they can obtain tourist visas.

Tourist or business visa holders are not permitted to change to another immigration status while in Russia. Although, they may be present in Russia while applications for employment authorization and a work visa invitation letter are filed on their behalf. In order to start employment, they will require to depart Russia, then apply for a work visa at a Russian consulate abroad and after that enter Russia with work visa.

General rule: visa type to be changed outside Russia (tourist > business, business > work, work > private, etc.).

  1. Standard Work Permit:
    • For Visa-countries only
    • Requested by Employer
    • Is issued based on a quota, established by the Russian government each year (there are exceptions for certain categories of employees, mainly top-management)
    • Quota should be requested by the Employer from the respective migration authorities 1 year in advance before filing for the work permit
    • Validity of the Work Permit is 1 year
    • Processing time: 3-4 months (Note: visa processing time is not included)
    • Important supporting documentation include: Higher education diploma, Russian language Test, Medical Tests for HIV and Tuberculosis, Hansen disease, etc.
  2. (2) HQS (Highly Qualified Specialist) Work Permit:
    • No Quota Required
    • Important eligibility requirement: min. salary 167 000 RUB gross/month (incl. 13 % income tax)
    • Validity: HQS Work Permit – 3 years
    • Processing time – 3 weeks
  3. Work Patent:
    • Non Visa-countries only
    • Requested by the foreigner
    • Validity: Work Patent – 1 year
    • Citizens of the following CIS countries: Ukraine, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan
  4. Work Permit exemption
    • Temporary and Permanent Residence Permit holders
    • Citizens of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia
    • Validity: not determined
  1. Report to the police immediately and receive written confirmation, then Apostillize/Legalize and translate it into Russian
  2. Apply for the new passport as soon as possible. Attention: not for the “temporary passport”, validity should be not less than 1,5 years
  3. Apply for the work permit amendment within 7 business days of obtaining new passport. Important: 7 business days should be observed, otherwise foreigner will be fined
  4. Apply for the new work invitation letter in 14 calendar days. Important: while employee stays outside of Russia employment is NOT terminated
  5. Apply to the Russian consulate abroad for the new work visa. HIV Test, Medical Insurance, other docs will be required again
  6. Enter Russia
  7. Collect the new work permit in person
  1. Report to the police immediately and receive written confirmation
  2. Apply for the new passport as soon as possible. Attention: not for the “temporary passport”, validity should be not less than 1,5 years
  3. Apply for the work visa restoration in 14-16 business days
  4. Apply for the work permit amendment within 7 business days of obtaining new passport; Important: 7 business days should be observed, otherwise foreigner will be fined!!!
  5. Collect the new work permit from the immigration office in person
  • Single entry tourist visa is issued for max. 30 days on the basis of a tourist voucher by a tourist agency or the hotel. It is not possible to extend a tourist visa in Russia;
  • Obtaining of multiple tourist visas is possible, though this right should not be abused!!! In case of abuse authorities can deny issuance of the visa and ban entry to the country due to the fact that authorities can treat the situation as mismatch in the purpose of the visit claimed and actual one.
  • Purpose of entry “tourism” means that while in Russia you can: visit the sites, meet friends, visit events
  • Purpose of entry “aim tourism” means that while in Russia you can: participate in trade shows, exhibitions, conferences, receive medical treatment
  1. Inform the Police and obtain written confirmation – do it as soon as possible
  2. Apply in person to the local immigration office for the duplicate
  3. Submit your fingerprints, document from the police, notarized passport translation and address registration
  4. Receive the duplicate of your migration card
  5. Apply for the amendment of the address registration if there was one
  1. Obtain birth certificate at Russian relevant authorities (ZAGS) – Civil Registry Office
  2. Obtain passport for the baby at the foreign embassy in Russia
  3. Once the passport is obtained, two parallel procedures should be accomplished:
  4. Obtaining a letter of invitation for a dependent family member (for the baby) – 14 working days (in case of an HQS Work Permit)
  5. Obtaining of an exit visa for the baby 12-14 working days
  6. With the exist visa a baby should exit Russia
  7. Obtain a dependent family member visa in the Russian consulate abroad based on the invitation letter
  8. Enter Russia on the dependent family member visa and complete address registration

Currently there are 135 professions in the list, approved by the Ministry of Labour. In case foreign national finds work in Russia in one of the professions from the list and works for 1 year, they are allowed to apply for Russian citizenship following a simplified procedure (that is without having to live in Russia for 5 years on the basis of the permanent residence permit). 

Below, please find the list of professions.

135 Professions – Russian citizenship simplified procedure

Immigration matters when setting up a business in Russia
You’ve lost the passport? Don’t worry
What you shouldn’t do under a business visa
Steps that have to be taken in case you lose your Russian immigration card
Grounds for applying for permanent residency in Russia
Obtaining of residency permit based on a child Russian citizen
Obtaining residency permit in Russia as teacher
What is better ground to apply for residency based on a child or as Highly Qualified Specialist
Procedure of TRP and Residency application at Sakharovo Immigration Center

For more news and videos please visit our Youtube channel.

*All the information contained in videos is for information purposes only and in no case should be treated as legal advice. For legal advice please contact us and we would be happy to assist you

Our team

VISTA Immigration team consists of unique professionals, experiences in advising clients on all matters of Russian immigration.
Please meet the team!

Timur Beslangurov


Maria Mironova

Head of Private Client Practice

Irina Pochkhua

Head of Corporate Immigration Practice

Victoria Pikalova

Senior Lawyer

Tatiana Andryushechkina

Senior Lawyer

Victoria Shilova


Anastasiya Nazarova


Oksana Bairova


Maria Voskoboynikova


Ekaterina Zhukova



VISTA Immigration is an active member of major chambers and associations.



+7 495 252-07-09