Today's Selection of Immigration FAQs

(1) Why registrations are so big in Russia?

The registrations (informing the State of your movements) were around in Russia for at least 150 years (in fact more than that). For example, if you take Gogol's "Dead Souls" (first published in 1842) you'll read it in the first page of the book that the main character had himself registered upon arrival to the hotel (he dictated to a page-boy his name, title and purpose of the visit to the city). Gogol also wrote that the information was routinely intended for the local police department.

Nowadays, under most circumstances it’s a must for a foreigner to get registered at his/her residential or business address. Sanctions, all the way to deportation may apply.

Under some circumstances it’s not a must, and you’re exempt of registering yourself, however, the registration will be needed as soon as you need something from the system - in a bank, state office, or at the notary's.

(2) Do I need work permit in order to act as a member of the board of directors (BOD) of the company? You don't need a work permit in this case. BOD members are not employed by a company, they may be paid annual renumeration based on a due decision of the general meeting of the shareholders. In case payment is made in Russia income tax apply.

(3) Why I need to discriminate between «business purpose of the visit» and «commercial purpose of the visit»? They seem pretty much the same thing.

This subtle difference must be known by your Russian inviting party.

Both types of visitors - «business goals» and «commercial goals» will be issued the same type "common business visa".

Your Russian inviting party has to lay it down accordingly in the letter of invitation.

The most general, officially spelled, wording for "business purpose" of the visit in a letter of invitation would be " take part in negotiations of principle and consultations on trade and economic matters…"

The most general wording for "commercial purpose" would be resolve concrete commercial issues (take part in trade negotiations, sign or extend contracts, render commercial services), also to participate in exhibitions and auctions.

These wordings were enacted by the List of «Purposes of the visits» in Dec 2003 (order signed by the Interior Ministry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the FSB)

(4) May I work outside of subunit of Federation where I am registered while I have RVP (3-year Temporary Residence Permit) ? No. You may only be employed by the company registered in your 'domestic' subunit of the Federation. There are some exemptions.

(5) May I register myself as «Sole Proprietor» (ИП) after I will obtain my RVP stamp? (a 3-year Temporary Residence Permit) Yes. You may register «Sole Proprietor» (ИП), render your services and hire people in the territory of Russia where you are registered.

(6) Is it required to obtain work permit in order to act as a founder or investor of the company? No it's not. Any foreigner may act as an investor or company founder. No work permit is required. You'll need a visa to come to Russia. Your physical presence in Russia is needed if you want to register a company.

(7) What kind of Russian language/history/legislature exams I have to take?

You need to take combined (Russian Language + Russian Legislature (mostly immigration law) + Russian History) computer based test if you apply for

(a) common work permit

(b) 3-year Temporary Residence Permit,

(c) 5-year Extendable Residence Permit.

In order pass you have to score 60, 70 and 80% in (a),(b), and (c), accordingly.

(d) You need to take only Russian (more in-depth one) test if you apply for Russian citizenship.

And, finally, you have to pass the exam to qualify as «Native Speaker of Russian» administered by the board made of UFMS (Immigration Authority), Russian language education professionals and municipal (e.g. city of Moscow) representatives. This test is needed if you use «native Russian speaker lane» to citizenship. be continued.

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