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Obtaining a permanent residence permit in Russia

Any foreign citizen who wants to live in Russia permanently is required by law to have a Russian residence permit. In this article, we will describe how to obtain this permit.
Russian Federal Law «On the legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation» (of 25.07.2002 N 115-FZ) divides foreign citizens into three main groups according to the time of residence allowed to them on the territory of Russia.

These groups are:

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

1) Temporarily staying citizens remain on the territory of Russia on the basis of a visa, or under a visa-free regime.
2) Temporarily residing foreign citizens remain on the territory of Russia on the basis of a temporary residence permit.
3) Permanently residing foreign citizen remains on the territory of Russia on the basis of a residence permit.

How to obtain a residence permit in the Russian Federation?

A residence permit is a document issued to a foreign citizen in confirmation of their rights 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 a residence permit, a foreign citizen must live in the Russia for at least a year on the basis of a temporary residence permit.

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

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

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

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

The list of documents required to obtain this permit is different for different categories of citizens. Also the application for the issuance of this permit is different itself.

You can receive the Information on the forms of applications for the issuance of a residence permit 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 such documents, bank details for paying the state tax fee, on the Unified portal of state services and websites of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia.

Together with the application (in duplicate), a foreign citizen must prepare:
• four personal photographs measuring 35 x 45 mm;
• identity document;
• a document confirming the existence of a legal source of livelihood, allowing a subsistence means in the Russian Federation within the permissible limits (for example, a certificate of income), or a document confirming the applicant's disability.

2. Submitting 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.

The application is submitted by a foreign citizen who has reached the age of 18 in person. Application and documents regarding minors are submitted by the parent, adoptive parent, guardian or custodian of the minor. In addition, it is possible to submit an application for the issue of a residence permit in electronic form using the Unified Portal of Public Services (

An application for a residence permit is submitted no earlier than eight months of the first year of residence in the Russia on the basis of a temporary residence permit and no later than four months before the expiration of this permit.

3. Wait for a response on your application.

The period for a response on issuing a residence permit is six months from the date of acceptance of the application filed by a foreign citizen or in relation to a foreign citizen who has (his) temporary residence permit in the Russian Federation.

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

• three months - for highly qualified specialists and their family members; for citizens of the Republic of Belarus;
• two months - for foreign citizens who are recognized as native speakers of the Russian language;
• 15 working days - for foreign citizens 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 number and date of the decision. 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 submitted through the Unified Portal of Public Services, a notification of a foreign citizen about the decision made is sent to him within a working day using the Unified Portal. To obtain a residence permit, an applicant who submitted an application in electronic form and received a notification of a positive decision on his application, submits all the documents necessary for the provision of public services. At the same time, 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 residence permit.

For the issuing a 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 applicant 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 residence permit is issued without any time limit, with the exception of a residence permit for a highly qualified specialist and his family members, the term of which is limited by the validity period of a work permit issued to such specialist.

During the period of validity of a residence permit issued before 11/01/2019, a foreign citizen 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 citizen reaches the age of 14, 20 and 45;
2) change by a foreign citizen of the surname, first name, information about the date or place of birth, citizenship, gender;
3) the unsuitability of the residence permit due to wear, damage or other reasons;
4) discovery of 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, an application for replacing a residence permit of a foreign citizen is submitted no later than one month after the date of occurrence of the relevant circumstances. In the case of replacing the residence permit 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 citizen is obliged to submit an annual notification to the authorized body (Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, MVD RF - МВД РФ) confirming his 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 citizen 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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