A Guide for the Registration of Foreign Citizens in Russia
1. What changes were made to the rules of registration of foreign citizens in Russia from January to March 2011?
Over the past several months the procedures for the registration of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation by place of residence have seen significant changes.
One of the first changes in the registration procedures of foreign citizens that came into effect on January 1, 2011 was the elimination of the state fee for registration. Thus, current procedures are conducted without any financial cost to the hosting (inviting) party, except for a small payment that is to be applied upon the formal arrival notification of a foreign citizen if the notification is sent via post.
Another change in migration legislation was the ability of employers to register foreign citizens by the address of the hosting (receiving) company. Thus, in the Federal Law of March 20, 2011 № 42-FZ, which was issued on March 25, 2011, lawmakers revised the legal definition “place of residence of a foreign citizen”. At present the place of residence of a foreign citizen or a person without citizenship in the Russian Federation (hereafter – place of residence) is defined not just as a berthing space that is not the place of his/her living by law, but also other premises, institutions, or organizations in which a foreign citizen or a person without citizenship stays, and/or the address at which a foreign citizen or a person without citizenship shall be registered in accordance with the Federal law.
Thus, foreign citizens again possess the option of
(A) either registering at their actual place of residence,
(B) or registering at the address of the receiving company.
In addition to this, the Federal Law of March 20, 2011 № 42-FZ increases the time period to complete the registration process of a foreign citizen who is temporarily residing or staying in the Russian Federation from three to seven working days.
2. How do foreign citizens register by actual place of residence (residential address) in the Russian Federation?
After deciding to register by actual place of residence, a foreign citizen upon his/her arrival to the place of residence must submit to the owner of the residence a copy of his/her passport, visa, and migration card. Within seven working days the owner of the residence can then formalize the registration of the foreign citizen in one of the following ways:
1) An in-person application to the territorial office of the Federal Migration Service (FMS), which will include the address of the residential property and the arrival notification of the foreign citizen. In this case, registration by place of residence of a foreign citizen is valid for the duration of his/her visa. The tear-off part of the arrival notificationis then given an official stamp of approval by an official of the FMS.
2) An in-person sending of the arrival notification (as a rule, it is filled out by hand) and copies of the foreign citizen’s documents to the territorial office of the FMS via post, along with a letter listing its contents. In this instance, registration by place of residence is granted for a period not exceeding 90 calendar days, with the possibility of extension. Instead of an official FMS stamp to the migration card, the post office stamp is deemed as official recognition of registration.
In the instance that a foreigner arrives in the Russian Federation via a visa-free regime, the foreigner must provide the hosting (inviting) party with a copy of his/her passport and a copy of his/her migration card. Registration of the foreign citizen by his/her own place of residence is carried out by the FMS or the post office for a period of up to 90 calendar days.
The tear-off part of the arrival notification is, in all instances, passed to the foreign citizen.
3. How do foreign citizens register by address of the receiving company?
If a foreign citizen is to register by the address of the inviting (receiving) party, upon arrival he/she must submit to the inviting party copies of all documents, including his/her passport, visa, and migration card. As in the abovementioned instances, within seven working days the employer must submit the arrival notification of the foreign citizen:
1) either for the period a foreigner’s visa is valid, submitting it to the territorial office of the FMS in which the company is listed,
2) or for a period of up to 90 calendar days, sending the arrival notification blank and copies of all the foreign citizen’s documents to the territorial office of the FMS via post, along with a letter listing its contents. Upon conclusion of the registration period, it may be extended by similar means or by directly contacting a representative of the company and in turn the territorial office of the FMS no later than the last day before the expiration date of the current arrival notification of the foreign citizen.
As a general rule, either through the territorial office of the FMS or via post, a foreign citizen arriving on the territory of the Russian Federation by a visa-free regime can be registered for a period of up to 90 calendar days from the final date of registration by place of residence using the address of the company or another address.
4. How do foreign citizens register if their place of stay in the Russian Federation is a hotel?
Upon arrival in the Russian Federation, a foreign citizen is automatically registered at the hotel in which he/she is residing. The hotel is obligated to follow migration law in the process of registration of foreign visitors immediately upon their arrival. This registration is issued for a short period of time; that is, only for the period of time in which a foreign citizen is a guest in the hotel. By the old rules, once the foreign citizen has departed, the hotel administration would submit to the FMS the notification of arrival; however, as of February 15, 2011, the notification form remains in the possession of the foreign citizen after departure from the hotel.
5.How do foreign citizens deregister upon movement to other regions of the Russian Federation or upon exiting the country?
The official website of the FMS has published clarification that upon exiting from the former place of residence to a new place of residence, the tear-off part of the arrival notification remains in the possession of the foreign citizen.Upon a foreigner’s arrival at the new place of residence, the previous tear-off part of the arrival notification passes from the foreign citizen to a new receiving party, and it is used for the registration of the foreign citizen according to his new address. For example, having registered at any address in Moscow and then going to other region of Russia, the foreign citizen passes the tear-off part of the arrival notification issued in Moscow to a receiving party in the region (to the proprietor of a house, the representative of the inviting company, or the administration of a hotel). Instead of this tear-off part of the arrival notification, the foreign citizen gets a new one indicating the address of the place of residence in the region. In the process of registration at his/her new place of residence, the foreigner is automatically removed from the registration of his previous address in Moscow. With regards to the prolongation of validity of registration at the place of residence, in obtaining a new registration blank, the data of the foreign citizen’s current migration card should be used. And as on the migration card, the earlier date of entrance into Russia is displayed, but the date of arrival to a new place of residence is not displayed. Therefore, for the confirmation of timely registration in the previous places of residence, it is desirable for the foreign citizen to provide a new receiving party with copies of the previous tear-off part of the arrival notifications issued during the current visit to Russia.
When the foreign citizen departs from Russia, the tear-off part of the arrival notification surrenders to the border control.
Thus, since February 15, 2011, the receiving party is released from the obligation to notify the FMS about the foreign citizen’s departure from the place of residence within two working days.
6. What are the specific features of registration and deregistration by place of residence of foreign citizens who are classified as Highly Qualified Specialists?
Preferential treatment of migration registration is applied to Highly Qualified Specialists. Since February 15, 2011, Highly Qualified Specialists and foreign citizens who are family members of Highly Qualified Specialists are free from registration by place of residence for the period not exceeding 90 calendar days after entering the territory of the Russian Federation.
Herewith, the specified foreign citizens registered by the place of their living (the place of residence) in the Russian Federation, in the case of their moving on the territory of the Russian Federation and upon arriving to the new place of stay for the period not exceeding thirty calendar days, are free from registration at the new place of residence. Upon expiry of this 90-day or thirty-day period, the specified foreign citizens are obliged to fulfill the actions necessary for their registration at the place of residence during the period not exceeding seven working days.
Like other foreign citizens, Highly Qualified Specialists can be registered by the place of their actual living on the territory of Russia, by the address of the employer, or by the hotel address.
In case of registration by the actual address, the arrival notification is obtained by the owner of the living quarters for the period from 90 calendar days (in the case of carrying out the procedure via post, with the possibility of prolongation of the registration) to three years (in the case of registration at the territorial office of the FMS).
The tear-off part of the arrival notification is passed to the foreign citizen.
In the case of registration by the address of the receiving company, the arrival notification can also be issued for the period from 90 calendar days to three years.
If a Highly Qualified Specialist was registered by the address of the hotel for a short period of time immediately upon his/her arrival in Russia, according to migration legislation, he/she is free from the obligation to register at another place of residence during the period of thirty calendar days after moving to a new place of residence.
In some cases the tear-off part of the arrival notification of a Highly Qualified Specialist could be required for submitting to other state authorities, e.g. tax authorities for the purpose of his/her registration as a taxpayer. In this case the foreign citizen should be registered by means of any of the abovementioned ways. Besides the specified advantages, Highly Qualified Specialists who are owners of living accommodations on the territory of Russia can act as a receiving party for their family members.
7. What are the advantages to foreign citizens of the new rules in registration by place of residence in the Russian Federation?
The changes that have been implemented from January to March 2011 in the rules governing registration of foreign citizens can be characterized as progressive in nature and are evident in the following:
1) The state fees for the registration of foreign citizens were eliminated;
2) The hosting (inviting) party is now exempt from the responsibility of notification to the FMS of departure of the foreign citizen from his/her place of residence; in this case the foreign citizen in his/her movement throughout the territory of the Russian Federation retains the tear-off blank of the arrival notification up until registration by his/her new place of residence. This eliminates the former administrative responsibility of each hosting (receiving) party for non-delivery of the tear-off blank of the foreign citizen’s arrival notification to the FMS upon departure of the foreign citizen from the place of residence.
3) Deregistration of a foreign citizen occurs upon registration at a new place of residence or upon departure from the territory of the Russian Federation, which indicates an improvement in the Russian migration control system;
4) Foreign citizens who are not registered by place of residence in accordance with migration legislation are not liable for breaching the rules of registration by place of residence except for circumstances in which they are obliged to inform about their place of residence;
5) Highly Qualified Specialists, as well as foreign citizens who are their family members, have the opportunity to stay in the region of their employment without officially registering by place of residence for a period of up to 90 calendar days. In the instance of work-related travel to another region on the territory of the Russian Federation, they could stay there without registration for thirty calendar days, if the previous place of residence has already been registered.
The advantages of these changes provide employers with more comfortable conditions to conduct business, because they will no longer have to expend considerable time in managing the questions related to migration procedures. These changes also bring further clarity to the rules governing the migration process of foreigners in Russia, their frequent travels within the territory of the Russian Federation, and their travels throughout the world.
*This Guide was published in the AmCham News, #92
You can also find this guide at the web-site of AmCham: http://www.amcham.ru/doingbusiness/migration