How to get a Russian work permit

Global Citizen By Andrei Muchnik December 19, 2019

This article was created in partnership with Western Union.

Obtaining a work permit is one of the most important steps on your journey to working legally in Russia. Although the process of getting a permit and visa can seem quite cumbersome, it’s important you follow these procedures properly to secure your new profession.

How to get a Russian work permit

Here are the steps you and your employer will need to follow to obtain your permit and, later, your visa. Note that most of these steps will need to be completed before you move to Russia.

Step 1: An employer applies to Migration Quotas

Migration Quotas is a Russian government agency that registers all applications for foreign workers. There are limitations on the number of foreign workers that can be hired for certain professions. Other professionals — typically those considered to be highly qualified specialists or people who work in the arts — are not subject to quotas.

Step 2: An employer appeals to the employment bureau

After completing the application to Migration Quotas, your employer needs to appeal to the local government employment bureau, which decides if a foreign employee is needed in each particular case.

Step 3: An employer gets a work permit

A Russian work permit is a plastic card that allows the employee to apply for a work visa. Your employer has to accredit the work permit with the local Ministry of Internal Affairs office.

Step 4: The employee gets an invitation

Only after getting the permit and accreditation can an employer send a job invitation to the prospective staff member.

Step 5: The employee applies for a work visa

At this point, you can finally apply for a work visa online. The application will need to be completed at the Russian consulate in your country.

In addition to the application, you will need the following:

  • Your valid passport
  • An official invitation from your Russian employer
  • Payment for the application fee
  • Additional documents as requested

Usually, you will first get a single-entry visa, which is valid for 90 days but can be extended, explains Visantiya. Once you’re in Russia and your 90-day visa is valid, you’re eligible to apply for a multiple-entry one-year work visa, limited by the expiry date on your permit. The visa will allow you to work and live in Russia for the duration of your visa. You can also get visas for your relatives by applying together.

Special circumstances

If you are a citizen of a CIS-member country (Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan or Kazakhstan), you can get a permit while you’re already in Russia, since citizens of these countries don’t need a visa to enter. After you get a permit, your employer can then register you with the local Ministry of Internal Affairs office. You can only begin legally working in Russia after getting your official permit (the plastic card). The procedure is simpler than the standard permit application, but requires quite a few documents listed by Visa House:

  • Copy of all pages in your passport (translated into Russian if needed)
  • Copy of your migration card
  • Copy of a document confirming your arrival to Russia
  • Two photos
  • Results of medical tests (including HIV, tuberculosis and syphilis)
  • Personal statement
  • Bank receipt confirming you paid the 2 000 rubles fee
  • Statement from your employer
  • Guarantee letter

In all cases, the employer must notify the local Ministry of Internal Affairs office after a foreign staff member signs a contract and starts working at a company in Russia.

The work permit process may take some time and paperwork, but once you are settled in your new home and job, it’ll all be worthwhile.