Russia – Covid-19 – Immigration update

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Update: August 11th, 2020 

Entry requirements updated for foreign nationals and Russian citizens

What is the change?

Russia recently updated its entry requirements for foreign nationals and Russian citizens that were implemented in July.

As of Aug. 1, the following requirements are in effect:

  • Foreign nationals flying to Russia must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate conducted within three days before boarding their flights.
  • Foreign nationals crossing borders into Russia by land must also present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate conducted within three days of traveling.
  • COVID-19 PCR test results not in English or Russian must be translated from the language of the country where the test was conducted, and the Russian consulate must certify the translation.
  • All travelers from abroad entering Russia ports of entry must complete the arrival questionnaire. Click here to download.
  • Employers that send foreign nationals to Russia for work must verify their foreign employees have a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate conducted within three days of arrival. Foreign nationals entering Russia for work must undergo 14-day quarantine.
  • All travelers from abroad entering Russia by air must register on the State Services website before checking in for their flights and complete a paper registration at ports of entry.
  • Russian citizens traveling to Russia on regular flights must obtain a COVID-19 PCR test within three days of arriving and report the results on the State Services website.

In late July, Russia clarified its COVID-19 travel requirements for foreign nationals and Russian citizens, including 14-day quarantine for foreign nationals traveling to Russia for work that remains in effect.

The entry testing requirements may cause minor delays for foreign nationals entering Russia. Employers sending employees to Russia for work should plan for the mandatory 14-day quarantine by completing COVID-19 testing before entering Russia.

Update: July 31st, 2020

Air travel from UK, Tanzania, Turkey

What is the change?

Russia recently announced it will allow entry for air travelers from the U.K., Tanzania and Turkey.

Key Points:

  • Citizens and permanent residents of the UK, Tanzania and Turkey will be allowed to enter Russia beginning 1 August via air travel only.
  • These travelers may only obtain a visa at Russian consulates in the U.K., Tanzania and Turkey.

Russian borders remain closed for all foreign nationals with only a few exceptions. Foreign travelers entering Russia for work are subject to 14-day quarantine upon arrival. The same is true for passengers arriving on evacuation flights. In order to enter Russia, foreign travelers must obtain a COVID-19 test 72 hours before arrival and present a certificate showing a negative result or obtain a COVID-19 test in Russia, within three days of arrival.

The lifting of air travel restrictions for nationals and permanent residents of the U.K., Tanzania and Turkey is good news for employers who wish to send employees to Russia from these countries

Update : July 3rd, 2020

One-time entry for foreign national highly qualified specialists

What is the change?

Russia has made it possible for foreign nationals who are highly qualified specialists to be granted a one-time entry approval.

Key Points:

  • An exemption has been made to the foreign national entry prohibition for highly qualified specialist (HQS) employees who enter Russia one time on the basis of lists approved by Russian authorities.
  • When entering Russia, foreign national HQS employees are required to show a valid labor or services contract from a Russian employer or customer, in addition to both a passport and a valid visa (if applicable).
  • The following conditions do not apply to new HQS employees covered by the separate list who remain abroad:
    • Restrictions on work permits and invitation letters from the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
    • Restrictions on visa issuance by Russian consulates in foreign nations.
  • It is required that a list of HQS employees be sent by a federal executive authority that oversees the industry in which the employer operates to the Federal Security Service and Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. The list must include employee date of entry and entry checkpoint information.

The new one-time entry exemption is good news for foreign national highly qualified specialists and their employers.

Update : June 29nd, 2020

Medical examination to include COVID-19 test

What is the change?

The Ministry of Health has announced that, effective June 27, foreign nationals who must pass a medical examination to obtain work-related documents must also pass a COVID-19 test.

Key Points

  • Those applying for the following immigration documents must pass a COVID-19 test:
    • Work permit (WP)
    • Work patent
    • Temporary residence permit (TRP)
    • Permanent residence permit (PRP)

At this time, foreign nationals working as HQS do not need to pass a medical examination to obtain their work permit, and thus, the requirement to pass a COVID-19 test should not apply to them.

Update : June 22nd, 2020

Validity expiration suspended

What is the change?

Following the recent presidential decree issued June 15, the government has suspended the expiration of validity of stay as well as for certain documents.

Key Points:

  • From March 15 until Sept. 15 expiration of the following is suspended:
    • Stay.
    • Visa validity.
    • Migration registration validity.
    • Temporary and permanent residence permit validity.
    • Validity of documents confirming refugee or temporary asylum status.
  •  The expiration suspension no longer applies to the following documents:
    • Work permits.
    • Work patents.
    • Corporate employment permits.
  • Employers can no longer hire foreign nationals staying in Russia without a work permit or patent. Instead, these foreign nationals can now obtain the necessary permit regardless of their original reason for entering the country:
    • Visa-free nationals may apply for a patent regardless of the declared purpose of entry or the existing deadline for submitting an application.
    • Employers with a corporate employment permit may apply for individual work permits, valid until Sept. 15, for relevant employees regardless of their purpose of entry.

Update : March 17th, 2020

Inbound foreign travel suspension extended

What is the change?

Russia recently extended the suspension of inbound travel for foreign nationals to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Key points:

  • The suspension of inbound travel for foreign nationals has been extended until further notice.
  • The extension keeps various travel restrictions in place such as banning the entry of most foreign nationals, with exceptions for: transit air travelers, employees at diplomatic missions and consular establishments in Russia, official delegation members, ship, air and rail crews, motor vehicle drivers on international routes, and diplomatic and service visa holders, as well as private visa holders traveling in Russia because of the death of a close relative. Those who have close relatives in Russia are also allowed to enter the country.
  • The suspension declared in March also halted the issuance of all types of visas and permits for foreign nationals. (The migration authorities continue accepting applications for permit and visa renewal and amendment for those foreign employees who are currently staying in Russia.) An exception exists for foreign nationals securing a visa and entering the country to provide technical support for foreign equipment and who are on a list approved by a ministry or federal entity that oversees the organization using the equipment. Those who have appropriate documents are also allowed to postpone the renewal of their work permits, patents, visas, immigration registration, residence permits, and other similar documents that expire between March 15 and June 15. These documents are automatically prolonged for up to three months.

On March 18, Russia suspended inbound travel for most foreign nationals until May 1. The issuance of visas and permits for foreign nationals was also suspended at that time.

The inbound foreign travel suspension extension will impact the movement of people into Russia. Employers should be aware that their foreign employees outside of Russia, with some exceptions, will not be allowed to enter until further notice.

Update : March 17th, 2020

Borders closure for entrance of foreign nationals

What is the change?

The Russian government has announced border closure for foreign nationals with few exceptions.

All foreign nationals are banned from entering Russia. Exceptions are announced, in particular, for those holding Russian permanent residence permit, transiting through Russia or arriving to Russia due to a close relative’s death.

  • Implementation time frame: From March 18 till May 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Foreign travelers with Russian private, tourist, business, student and work visas.
  • Who is affected: Almost all categories of foreign nationals willing to come to Russia after 17 March. 
  • Next steps: The restrictions are in force until 1 May or/and further notice. Employers should expect that any of their foreign employees who are currently outside of Russia will not be allowed to enter the country.

The majority of the categories of foreign nationals are banned from entering Russia. Additionally, the issuance of all types of visas and permits has been suspended.

The new Russian travel restrictions were implemented to halt the spread of COVID-19, which continues to develop. Deloitte will provide additional updates as information becomes available.

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Fatia Bouteiller

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