There is hardly any wonder nowadays in the fact that more and more business arrangements occur at the international level. Globalization doubtlessly appears to pays off, which is good news, especially for those who make business abroad. However, even on such a seemingly favorable background certain questions are still much likely to emerge. They primarily cover the procedure of internationalization itself – in other words, gaining a right to enter a different country. This article is to answer some of such questions, in particular for businesspeople involved in collaboration with Russia.
In general, a visa itself makes for nothing else but a confirmation that the given individual, its holder, is allowed to cross the state’s border and stay on its soil for a strictly determined while. The only thing is that it can be of multiple types; and the specific one necessary under certain circumstances fully depends on the latter. That is, it does not only matter which country the one is going to visit, but also why they are doing that. To claim that possible reasons are numerous means to say nothing, but business trips can definitely boast an extremely high popularity rate. To go on those to Russia, a business visa is actually needed.
It is doubtless that one can seek for dramatically different things in a country of visit, for example sights and tourist activities, studies, joining nearest and dearest, etc. Moreover, it is possible to divide those into narrower occasions in their own way. Thus, a business representative may find themselves in want of entering Russia in order to:
expand their business connections, monitor the local goods and services market, take part in negotiations;
make or renew a contract, visit an exhibition or an auction;
do maintenance work (installation and/or reparation of foreign-made equipment);
be a crew member (of a railroad train, a river or seagoing craft, a flight);
be a driver of passenger or load-carrying transport;
be a receiving employee (for control while purchasing, selling, or receiving equipment or raw materials);
accompany their relative who holds Russian business visa (applicable to underage children).
It is possible to guess that modern tendencies are slowly but steadily simplifying the very process of getting a visa. Nevertheless, it will always be essential for Russian government agencies to be secure about what kind of a person is entering the country. In order to prove that they are not random, a business visitor has to possess a paper referred to as an invitation, or support, letter.
The nuances of obtaining procedure may vary from one legal entity that issues an invitation to another; but notwithstanding that, it has to inform on the following:
passport particulars of the arriving foreigner;
purpose of trip and concrete entry/exit dates;
extensive information on who in the given case performs an inviter (typically a state or legal body);
communities that the guest is planning to visit (up to five names);
unique digital code of an invitation and the date of its issuing;
index of the letterhead;
all signatures and seals of the issuing authority.
That info undergoes maximally thorough inspection in terms of criminal convictions, administrative sanctions, or exclusions from Russia during previous trips. Revealing any is an obvious good reason for denial.
The authority that majorly appears responsible for issuing a business invitation is Federal Migration Service (FMS). This body supports negotiators, trade fair visitors, and international conference participants. An invitation from the given service enables granting a single or double visa for up to three months or a multiple one possibly valid during a year. Those variables determine a period to wait after requesting for a support. Normally, it equals between ten and seventeen days, but for migration risk countries may reach a month. In order to catalyze obtain, a businessperson has a right to request for a visa support electronically and receive it as an attachment to an email as soon as ready. This may be done via our website as well; namely, follow https://russia-invitation.com/en/business.
There exists another way to get Russian business visa invitation which presupposes using the internal telecommunication line between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a certain consulate. Such contact method is commonly known as Telex and does not result in any paper letter. They simply provide the arriving one with the digital code and data on the inviter for transferring to the application form. Period of issuing a Telex visa support is from one to two weeks.
Rather frequently corporations find themselves facing a necessity for physical presence of a counterpart from abroad to some event. As evident from the previous paragraph, dealing with the Migration Service is time consuming, whereas companies are far not always able to postpone a conference of a fair. Alternatively, a situation like this may emerge when the foreign specialist needs to do some repairs of equipment or any similar actions essential for corporate profit and atmosphere. Under such circumstances, a company is sometimes entitled to directly invite a foreigner.
In case of getting a visa support from a legal body, the latter needs accreditation in that same FMS and an official letterhead. A letter itself will at that rate have the form of a petition to Russian consulate about a visa grant to the foreign citizen. Such support is incomparably faster and cheaper, but only valid for the members of simplified visa agreements that Russia currently has with the USA and the EU. It is relevant to mention that due to latest developments this approach is not applicable to the United Kingdom anymore. Details regarding any given state, not only one of the above, are present at https://russia-invitation.com/en/.
Any variation of Russian business voucher is to include information about both sides in as much detail as possible. Purely on that condition will the authorities allow a foreign citizen to stay on the local soil. If an invitation actually corresponds to a letter, nine times out of ten it looks as follows:
An invitation letter is only the initial step on the road to holding Russian visa. With it (and not only it – see below) in hand, a candidate has to go to the consulate. The EU citizens are entitled to visit a one located in any Union member; in the rest of states, consulates only work with those who have a legal right to reside within their territory. As supplementary to a letter, it is inevitably for an arriving foreigner to provide two photos sized 3.5х4.5 cm and a foreign passport with a minimum of two blank pages designated for visas. Furthermore, its expiry date should be at least half a year later than that of a future visa.
Having collected all the above papers, a visitor fills out an application form and pays state duty. What exactly it occurs to amount to derives from the country of origin, number of entries the visa is going to grant, and its validity duration. This is however not the final stage yet: the consulate is frequently likely to demand for an additional set of documents, for instance health insurance.
In the event the arriver’s citizenship belongs to a country recognized as a one of migration risk, they are to demonstrate so-called guarantee letter as well. By means of that, the inviting party takes and proves responsibility for the guest’s residence together with medical and financial aid for the entire period of their stay on Russia’s territory. Though, migration risk countries themselves have hardly anything to do with stability in any terms, including visas: a person coming from one of those is dramatically probable to be denied.
The documents go through intensive checking. If everything goes smoothly, after a certain while (details below) the arriver gets their passport back with a visa inside:
Possible reasons for not obtaining a visa have already been under discussion: migration risk residence or occurrence of any malefactions and/or exclusions.
Having entered Russian Federation, an individual needs to focus on the period of time they are planning to spend there. If it exceeds seven business days, during those it is inevitably obligatory to complete migration registration. Essence of this procedure actually lies in informing the FMS on the foreigner’s arrival. There exist three algorithms of that:
if the guest is going to hotel it, their registration is within the purview of the given institution. For that, the visitor has to provide staff members with the passport bearing a visa and the admission form they have been given when crossing the border;
if the guest resides at somebody’s apartment or house, it is the host who cares about registration. Such process includes interaction with the Migration Service remotely (sending all necessary documents via mail) or personally;
migration can be registered by the legal body that performs as the inviting party. Its representative files the documents to the FMS.
Migration registration is essential for both the arriver and the inviter, since its absence substantially increases the probability of such problems as fines and even arrests. However, if a while to stay on Russian soil is shorter than seven business days, it is not crucial to register a visa.
The previous paragraphs are informative enough in terms of timescales for preparing an invitation letter. As for visa itself, intervals to wait for it currently tend to dramatically vary within two weeks. The exact deadline is derivable from a range of factors, primarily including the candidate’s biography and citizenship. Furthermore, the latter is not only of high importance for migration risk countries: what generally determines in-touch capabilities of a certain consulate or embassy is visa policy. That is, in case departure country is among the ones that participate in simplified visa agreements (see above), hardly any obstacles will emerge, whereas an arriver from a country that does not will have to wait longer.
Summing up all available information about timelines, it would be relevant to claim that the most time saving visa obtain technique is a support from an employing organization. Theoretically, it enables gaining a right to visit Russia within a couple of days. In the rest of events, purely an invitation takes from one to three weeks, so it does not seem real to finally possess a visa itself sooner than in half a month, if not month and a half.
For more visual clarity, see the table below and mind that the amounts given are approximate and theoretical, basing upon key factors only. In practice, the process of gaining a visa to whichever state, not excluding Russia, is far from fully predictable.
Type of invitation
Migration risk citizenship
The given article seems to have answered a considerable share of frequently asked questions regarding business visa policy typical of Russia. Nevertheless, there exists one more aspect that definitely requires clarification: how to behave in a situation when it is inevitable to stay in the country for a longer while than the visa entitles to?
Resolution derives directly from the situation itself, that is, what exactly prevents a foreigner from departure on the previously agreed date. In detail: normally, at present none of migration laws valid in Russia covers such a notion as visa extension. On the other hand, the key word is ‘normally’ which presupposes that under circumstances recognized as those of insuperable force (force majeure) the visa holder finds themselves allowed to prolong their attendance. There is however hardly any positive viewpoint in terms of that. Such circumstances include the visitor’s illness crucial to treat immediately or death of their near relative residing in Russia. This rule is applicable to emergencies as well.
In one of the above events, the foreigner has to file a relevant application to a Migration Service body. It goes together with two photos sized 3x4 cm, the detachable section of the notification form and state duty payment receipt (basically not needed for the USA and EU citizens). Proceeding time reaches three weeks.
As evident, to observe that extension procedure has much in common with obtain procedure is to say nothing. And there is a good reason for the given fact: without a medical certificate legally able to prove illness or death, a foreign visitor will be obliged to leave Russia immediately and apply for a new visa, if necessary.
Due to constant progress, Russian employment market continues gaining popularity with potential employees both from post-Soviet and developed countries. In turn, the local government is highly interested in attracting a variety of professionals and workers from abroad. They have thus undertaken to create most favorable conditions for foreign specialists themselves and their families entitled to accompany them and do work in Russia as well. One of the programs intensively spreading nowadays is under the label of professional immigration.
Compared to a work or business visa, this initiative appears dramatically more time and money consuming, but it is worth that thanks to immeasurably wider range of prerogatives it grants. Having paid approximately $4000 and waited for six to nine months, a candidate gets a full package of services, namely:
consulting on data and document collection;
assisting with applications to relevant government authorities;
facilitating search for accommodation and work in Russia;
migration registration and its extension when needed;
facilitation of getting a residence permit and, thereafter, citizenship.
However liberal the professional immigration is, it bases on strong evidence of the fact that an individual is planning to do certain work in Russia. Unless there is any, the above list becomes absolutely irrelevant. One of such proofs may be a labor permit from Russian institution or enterprise. It has a form of a plastic card (see below) and warrants a work visa, initially for three months but possible to extent for the duration of the contract.
Unlike whichever other type of a visa (comprising business), a work one is renewable via FMS and does not require re-entering the country. Migration registration is however obligatory anyway and in this case the deadline equals three days.
A foreign employee or business operator – in fact, anyone who possesses a legal income stream – has a potential to become naturalized even without an immigration visa. The only additional insistent is fluent Russian. The initial stage evidently lies in getting a residence permit; after that, the further progress takes place no sooner than in five years during which the candidate has to reside on the local soil uninterruptedly. However, on condition that the given individual is anyhow advantageous for Russia, presumably due to unique professional characteristics, this interval may be shortened to one year. Finally, the future citizen officially undertakes to abide by Russian laws and the Constitution.
For a one originating from the CIS, naturalization procedure is substantially simpler. Furthermore, the President of Russia has a right to allow citizenship without consideration of any criteria by his direct order.