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Obtaining a permanent residence permit in Russia

Any foreign national who wants to live in Russia permanently is required by law to have a Russian permanent residence permit (вид на жительство / ВНЖ). In this article, we will describe how to obtain this permit.
Russian Federal Law «On the Legal Status of Foreign Nationals in the Russian Federation» (of 25.07.2002 N 115-FZ) divides foreigners into three main groups according to the time of residence allowed to them in Russia.

These groups are:

1) Temporary staying foreign nationals (Временно пребывающие иностранные граждане);
2) Temporarily residing foreign nationals (Временно проживающие иностранные граждане);
3) Permanently residing foreign nationals (Постоянно проживающие иностранные граждане).

1) Temporarily staying foreigners remain on the territory of Russia on a visa, or under a visa-free regime.
2) Temporarily residing foreigners remain on the territory of Russia on a temporary residence permit.
3) Permanently residing foreigners remain on the territory of Russia on a permanent residence permit.

How to obtain a permanent residence permit in Russia?

A permanent residence permit is a document issued to a foreign national in confirmation of their right to permanently reside in the Russian Federation, as well as their right to freely leave and enter the country. For a stateless person (apatride) a residence permit also serves as an identity document.
As a general rule, before obtaining such a residence permit, a foreigner must have been living in Russia for at least a year on a temporary residence permit.

As an exception, the law allows the following categories of foreign nationals to obtain a permanent residence permit without obtaining a temporary one:

1) a foreign national who is recognized as a native speaker of the Russian language;
2) a citizen of the Republic of Belarus;
3) a highly qualified specialist and their family members;
4) a person residing in Russia, whose citizenship of the Russian Federation has been terminated;
5) a foreign national who was born on the territory of the RSFSR and who in the past was a citizen of the USSR;
6) a minor foreign national who receives a residence permit together with a parent who is a foreign national, or whose parent is a foreign national and permanently resides in the Russian Federation;
7) a foreign national who has a parent (adoptive parent, guardian, trustee), a son or daughter who is a citizen of the Russian Federation and permanently resides in the Russian Federation;
8) a foreign national who has successfully mastered a state-accredited educational program of higher education in full-time education in Russia and received a certificate of education and qualifications "with honors".

To obtain a residence permit, in general, we recommend following this algorithm:

1. Prepare an application for a permanent residence permit and the necessary documents:

The list of documents required to obtain this permit is different for different categories of individuals. The permit application itself is also different.

You can receive information on the forms of applications and samples of their filling, as well as a list of documents that must be submitted by the applicant for obtaining a residence permit, the requirements for these documents, bank details for paying the state tax fee on and websites of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Together with the application (in duplicate), the foreign national must prepare:
• four personal photographs measuring 35 x 45 mm;
• ID;
• proof of a legal source of income, allowing a subsistence means in Russia within the permissible limits (for example, a certificate of income), or a proof of the applicant's disability.

2. Submit the documents:

Residence permits are issued by the territorial divisions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia (MVD RF- МВД РФ) at the regional and district levels.

A foreigner who has reached the age of 18 applies in person. Application and documents regarding minors are to be filed by the parent, adoptive parent, guardian or custodian of the minor. In addition, it is possible to apply for the issue of a permit electronically.

An application for a residence permit is filed no earlier than 8 months of the first year of residence in the Russia on a temporary residence permit and no later than 4 months before this permit expires.

3. Wait for a response on your application

The period for a response on issuing a residence permit is 6 months from the date the application filed by a foreign national or in relation to a foreigners who has Russian temporary residence permit was accepted.

However, for certain categories of individuals, the terms may be different. For example, the response period is:

• 3 months - for highly qualified specialists and their family members; for citizens of the Republic of Belarus;
• 2 months - for foreigners who are recognized as native speakers of the Russian language;
• 15 working days - for foreigners whose Russian citizenship has been terminated.

During the work day following the day the decision was made, you will be notified of the decision. If the decision is positive, it will indicate the decision number and date. In the event of a negative decision, the notification provides the grounds for refusal to issue a residence permit. If technically feasible, notification can be sent to the applicant by e-mail.

If an application is filed through Gosuslugi, a notification about the decision made is sent to the foreigner within a working day through Gosuslugi. To obtain a residence permit, a person who applied electronically and received a notification of a positive decision on their application, submits all required documents. Yet registration and issuance of a residence permit before the presentation of all the necessary documents is not allowed.

4. Pay the state fee and get a permanent residence permit

For a permanent residence permit, a fee of 5 000 rubles must be paid (5 000 rubles equals about 67 USD as of august 2020 when the exchange rate for 1 USD = 73,71 RUB).

For obtaining a residence permit, the foreigner must personally apply to the authorized body at the address indicated in the notification of a positive decision on the application.

Note that from 01.11.2019, a permanent residence permit is issued without any time limit, with the exception of a residence permit for a highly qualified specialist and their family members, the term of which is limited by the validity period of a work permit issued to such a specialist.

During the period of validity of a residence permit issued before 11/01/2019, a foreign national has the right to apply to the migration department of the territorial body of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia with an application for an unlimited residence permit and the corresponding documents.

The residence permit must be replaced if:

1) the foreign national reaches the age of 14, 20 and 45;
2) the foreign national has changes their surname, given name, information about the date or place of birth, citizenship, gender;
3) the residence permit cannot be used due to wear, damage or other reasons;
4) there are some inaccuracies or errors in the records of the surname, first name, date or place of birth made in the residence permit.

As a general rule, a foreign national applies for replacing a residence permit no later than one month after the date when the relevant circumstances occured. If the residence permit is replaced for the reasons indicated in paragraph 2 above, such an application must be submitted no later than 10 days after receiving an identity document.

A foreign national is obliged to present an annual notification to the authorized body (MVD RF) confirming their residence in the Russian Federation.

Failure to do this will result in an administrative offense.

Punishment for this offense under article 18.8. «Violation by a foreign national or stateless person of the rules of entry into the Russian Federation or the regime of stay (residence) in the Russian Federation» of «Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses» N 195-FZ of 30.12.2001 is a fine or deportation.

If two or more administrative offenses are committed in a period of three years, you could be deported from Russia and denied entry for three years from the date of the entry into force of the last decision on administrative offense.

Should you have any questions or you are in need of legal aid in Russia, do not hesitate to contact us:
Tel: +7 909 961-19-09
Visit us: Moscow, Zubovskiy bulvar, building 4, room 308
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