Immigration. Travel. Living.

Getting an employment visa: Work Permit in Russia

For most people, getting a job in Russia as a foreigner is a hard and time-consuming procedure that requires a lot of documentation and planning ahead of time. The Russian government imposes limitations on the number of foreign nationals who are allowed to work in the country. These are decided on once a year.

Obtaining a Russian work permit necessitates you and your company to participate in a process. It’s critical to get this right because Russian officials can fine employers heavily if they don’t follow the laws, which could jeopardize your right to remain in Russia.

Russia red square

Who may receive a Russian work visa and work permit

You’ll need both a work permit and a work visa if you’re a foreign national coming to work in Russia. You can only apply for a Russian work permit and visa if you have a job offer from a Russian employer who has obtained an employment permit allowing them to hire foreign nationals for particular positions.

Government quotas determine the number of employment licenses available for foreign workers each year, based on Russia’s economic condition and government policies. There are separate quotas for Russian regions, occupational sectors, and foreign nationalities within the overall quota. The overall limit for 2017 has been set at 177,043, a reduction of 17% from the 2016 quota.

The only nations that do not require a Russian work permit and visa or a guaranteed job offer from a Russian company are those from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which do not require a visa to enter Russia. CIS nationals are no longer subject to Russian work permit quotas as of 2015. Instead, they must apply for a work permit within 30 days of their arrival in Russia, and then find a job within 60 days after receiving the permit.

Types of Russian work permits

Once you’ve found a job with an employer who has the required permit, the employer will apply for your work permit with the GUVM. There are several different types of Russian work permits available:

Standard Russian work permit

This is the standard Russian work visa for non-CIS nationals seeking employment in Russia. It is valid for the term of employment. If your job in Russia lasts longer than a year, you’ll need to renew your Russian work visa every year. A temporary residence permit will also be required. The open work permit in Russia, on the other hand, is not job-specific.

Permission for highly qualified professionals to work in Russia

This is a special Russian work permit for people in skilled occupations who earn more than R1 million per year (reduced from R2 million in 2015). The benefits of this permit are that it is normally processed within 14 days, that it is valid for three years, and that it grants Russian visas to the family such as spouses, children, and parents.

Work patent for CIS nationals

If you are a citizen of a CIS nation who does not require a visa to enter Russia, you do not require a Russian work permit or a job to work in Russia. Within 30 days after arrival in Russia, you must apply for a work patent at the local GUVM office in your region. A fine of up to R15,000 can be imposed if this is not done. You’ll have 60 days to locate work after that. The work patent is for 12 months and can be renewed once. This means you can work outside the government quotas without your business needing an employment permit. You must pass an exam demonstrating knowledge of the Russian language, history, and Russian Federation legislation to receive a work patent.

Visa and work permit applications in Russia

Your employer will apply to the GUVM for a Russian work visa on your behalf. You are required to supply the following items:

  • passport photo in color
  • a valid passport or equivalent
  • a copy of any required credentials of qualification
  • a medical certificate stating that no diseases exist
  • a receipt for fees paid

The GUVM will send you a Russian work visa invitation after the permit has been granted. This must be done at your native country’s Russian embassy or consulate.

Along with the completed Russian work visa application form, you must submit the following documents:

  • a valid passport
  • one photo for the passport
  • a letter from the GUVM inviting you to the event
  • a letter from the employer detailing the position, the location of the job, and the contract’s start and end dates
  • a medical certificate stating that no diseases exist

Processing times and visa validity

The processing period for a Russian work visa is about 20 days, however, the entire procedure can take anywhere from 3-6 months from the time you inquire about acquiring a Russian work permit to obtain a Russian work visa.

The Russian work visa is typically valid for 90 days, but it can be extended to a year and then renewed annually. This must be done through your local GUVM branch in your area. If you intend to stay in Russia for more than 90 days, you must also apply for a temporary residence permit with the GUVM (other than Highly Qualified Professionals who get a 3-year residence permit automatically).

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