Emigrating to Russia from the UK
Russia is a country which few are able to describe effectively. Indeed, the mystery of Russia is part of its unique charm.
The largest country in the world, Russia is a country of immense variety, stretching across eleven time zones. You will find magical landscapes of lakes, forests and castles in the rural areas, and fascinating cities such as Moscow and St Petersburg, the political and cultural hubs of Russia.
Novosilbirsk is Siberia’s largest city, and here you will find a bustling city which is regional centre of Russian technology and education.
However, moving to Russia as a British citizen is not straightforward. It is important that you understand the requisite procedures and immigration laws around moving to Russia as a foreign citizen before you begin the emigration process.
How to Move to Russia from the UK
As a British Citizen, you can move to Russia to work, study or as a family member of a Russian citizen. There are separate rules around these different emigration routes.
If you want to move to Russia, you will usually need an invitation from the General Directorate for Migration Affairs (GUVM) branch in the area where you are staying. Typically, your visa sponsor will sort this out. Your visa sponsor is the individual or organisation which is inviting you to Russia. Your sponsor will usually need to acquire your permit before you apply for a visa.
Once you have received your supporting letter, you can apply for the visa relevant to your circumstances. Typically, the GUVM will contact you to arrange an appointment at a Russian visa application centre in the UK to set up your visa application.
Some of the information which may need to provide includes:
- A copy of your passport
- A passport-sized photograph no older than six months
- A receipt for the visa application fee
- The invitation letter from your Russian sponsor
- A medical certificate, confirming you do not have a disease
- Financial information proving your financial means, such as bank statements
Most of those who move to Russia will need to obtain a residence permit too. The temporary residence permit is for new arrivals in Russia. After a certain period of time, you can apply for a permanent residence permit. Those who are working in Russia can usually apply for a permanent residence permit after they have spent one year living in the country under a temporary residence permit.
The permanent residence permit can be renewed an unlimited number of times and can act as the steppingstone towards full Russian citizenship.
Russian Family Visas
If you are the family member of a Russian citizen, you might be able to move to Russia on the basis of your relationship to your family member. The ‘Private’ Visa is designed for family members of Russian citizens who wish to reunite with their family in Russia.
In September of 2020, the Russian government announced changes to the ‘Private’ visa. Spouses, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren and siblings of Russian citizens will now be able to stay in Russia for 12 months.
Family members who are eligible for this visa would need a written form from their Russian family member (who would act as their sponsor). They will need to provide this letter (as well as other necessary documents) when they apply for their visa.
Student Visas in Russia
Russia is a country with a lot to offer international students. With a high level of education, low tuition fees and a low cost of living, Russia attracts 300,000 international students yearly. Cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg offer a truly memorable experience for students who want to experience modern Russia in all its glory.
The tuition fees for international students can be as low as 1,500 euros for Bachelor’s degrees, and 1,800 euros for master’s degrees. At the prestigious Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, you will pay around 5,600 euros per year.
If you want to study in Russia, you will need to have received an unconditional offer from a Russian educational establishment which is permitted to sponsor students.
You will need to apply for your student visa at a Russian visa application centre in the UK. It is advised that you do this well in advance of your proposed arrival date in Russia.
Working in Russia
All British nationals who want to move to Russia for work will need to apply for a visa and a permit. The main requirement to be eligible for a Russian work visa is to have received a job offer from a Russian company. The employer will need to secure a permit which enables them to employ overseas nationals.
There are limits to the number of employment permits available to overseas nationals, and this number is decided annually.
Russian work permits are generally valid for the duration of the contract, but you will usually need to renew it every year if you have a long-term contract. On the other hand, the work visa is usually only valid for 90 days, but can be extended for up to three years.
For you to work in Russia, you must enter the country on a work visa. If you entered on another visa, you will need to leave Russia and apply for a work visa.
Requirements of the Russian Employer
As mentioned above, you can only work in Russia if you already have a job offer from a Russian company.
If a Russian company wants to hire foreign staff, they have to demonstrate that they have a need for foreign workers. They will need to complete a ‘Declaration of Need’ to demonstrate that they need to hire overseas workers, before applying for an employment permit to hire overseas nationals.
The employment permit given to the employer will specify how many foreign staff they can employ, what nationalities they can employ, and which positions can be filled.
Different Types of Russian Work Permits
Once the employer has the relevant employment permit, they will be able to send an application to the Russian Directorate of Migratory Affairs (GUVM) for your work permit. There are a number of different work permits available, and your employer must apply for the one most suitable for the job you will be filling.
Standard Russian Work Permit
This is considered to be the general Russian work permit. This is the permit which most British citizens looking to work in Russia, will be given if their application is successful.
It is valid for the length of the employment contract. If the job lasts longer than a year, you will need to renew your Russian visa, as this is only valid for a year.
You will also be required to get a temporary residence permit as a British citizen living in Russia.
Russian Work Permit for Highly Skilled People
This is a special work permit for those in skilled professions. If you have been offered a position with an annual salary of over R1 million, you could be eligible for this permit.
This permit offers particularly attractive benefits. Those who hold this permit are entitled to have their spouses, children and parents join them in Russia.
How do I Apply for the Russian Work Permit?
As mentioned, you will need to acquire both a visa and a permit to work in Russia. The first step is for the Russian employer to apply directly to the GUVM for your work permit.
You will need to supply the following documents:
- Passport or other valid ID
- A colour passport photograph
- A copy of all necessary qualification certificates
- A medical certificate confirming absence of disease
- A receipt for payment of application fees
Once you have got access to your permit, you will receive a Russian work visa invitation from the GUVM.
Applying for the Russian Work Visa
You will need to visit one of the Russian visa application centres to complete the visa application process.
In the UK, the main application centres are located in London, Manchester and Edinburgh.
To prepare for your appointment, you will need to fill in a visa application form. You will also need to provide the following documents:
- Your original passport with at least two clear pages in the passport. At least 6 months must be remaining on the date you leave
- One passport-sized photograph which was taken no longer than 6 months ago
- Completed application form
- A completed Russian National Tourist Office booking form
- Supporting employment letter from the employer in Russia, confirming the details of your employment, as well as financial responsibilities
- Original work visa support documents
- Receipt of the application fee
- A medical certificate, confirming you are fit and healthy
Bear in mind that you may be required to provide your biometric information when you attend your appointment. The processing time for your Russian work visa is usually around 20 days.
Once you have received your Russian work visa, you can travel to Russia. When you arrive in Russia, it is imperative that you register your arrival at your local GUVM office within 7 days of arriving. Your employer should be the person to do this, but you ought to check with them that they have done it.
Failure to register your arrival in Russia could result in severe consequences, including fines and, in some cases, removal from the country.
Initially, the Russian work visa is valid for 90 days. It can be extended for up to a year, and then renewed on an annual basis thereafter. Again, you will need to do this through your local GUBM branch in your region.
If you will be staying in Russia for longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a temporary residence permit through GUVM. However, Highly Qualified Professionals will get a 3-year residence permit automatically.
What are the Costs of a Russian work visa?
The cost of a Russian work visa are as follows:
- Standard service single entry (processing time of up to 20 days): £175
- Standard service multiple entry (processing time of up to 20 days): £405
- Express service single entry (processing time of up to 4 days): £275
- Express service multiple entry (processing time of up to 4 days): £620
There is also the charge for the Russian work permit, which you will have to pay when you arrive in Russia. The fee for the Russian work permit currently stands at around 1,000 Russian roubles.
When Can I Apply for Permanent Residency in Russia?
The rules around permanent residency largely depend on your circumstances and your type of residency in Russia.
Before you can apply for permanent residency, you will need to hold a temporary residence permit. If you have been working in Russia for at least three months, you are more likely to be granted with a temporary residence permit, which lasts for three years.
You can apply for permanent residency after you have spent one year living in Russia under a temporary residence permit. You need to apply for a permanent residence permit at least six months before your temporary residence permit expires.
Moving to the UK as a Russian Citizen
If you are from Russia and you want to move to the UK, you can do so as a worker, as an international student or to reunite with family members.
- Skilled Worker Visa. This is for those who have been offered a job in a skilled profession, such as engineers and IT professionals
- Health and Care Visa. This is for healthcare professionals
- Intra-company Transfer Visa. For those who have been offered a position in the UK branch of a multinational company
- T2 Minister of Religion Visa. This is for those who have been offered a position in a faith-based community in the UK
- T2 Sportsperson Visa. For professional sportspeople
As well as the main work visas, you could also move to the UK as an investor or an entrepreneur through the following visas:
- Investor Visa. For those who have at least £2,000,000 to invest in a UK business
- Innovator Visa. This is for experienced entrepreneurs who have at least £50,000 to invest in a business in the UK. Their business idea must have been endorsed by an approving body
- Start-up Visa. For new entrepreneurs, whose business idea has been endorsed by an approving body
Joining Family Members in the UK as a Russian Citizen
If you have a family member who is a British citizen or person with settled status, you might be able to join them in the UK.
Those who are eligible for a UK Family Visa include:
- Spouse/civil partners
- Long-term unmarried partners
- Children under the age of 18
- Dependent children over the age of 18
If you move to the UK on one of the Family Visas you can work and study in the UK without restrictions.
The visa will be valid for two and a half years, and you can apply for an extension for another two and a half years.
After you have spent five years living in the UK under a Family Visa, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain status. This is a form of settled status, which means you can live in the UK without any immigration restrictions imposed.
Once you have spent one year living in the UK under ILR status, you can apply for British citizenship. As a British citizen, you will be able to become a British passport holder.
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If you want to move to Russia, it is highly recommended that you enlist the services of a professional immigration law firm to help with your emigration.
We understand that the decision to move to Russia can be a daunting one. We are here to support you every step of the way.
Our immigration lawyers can help you with our specialist emigration package. We will explain exactly what you need to know about the immigration process in Russia and will provide full support with obtaining permits and with applying for your visa.
To find out more about how we can help you to begin a new life in Russia, please call us now on 0333 305 9375.
Those who want to move to Russia on a permanent basis have the option of applying for a work visa, a family visa or a student visa.
The costs for these visas are as follows:
|Student Single Entry||£175|
|Student Double Entry||£225|
|Work Visa Single Entry||£175|
|Work Visa Multiple Entry||£405|
|Private Visa (Family Visa) Single Entry||£175|
|Private Visa (Family Visa) Double Entry||£225|
If you are the relative of a Russian visa applicant and wish to join them in Russia on the basis of your relationship to them, you will need to pay the same application fee as the applicant.
It is also possible to pay extra to receive an expediated decision on visa applications.
Ultimately, this all depends on your reason for moving to Russia. The specific requirements, including the documentation which you will need to provide, depends on the permit and visa you are applying for.
One of the general requirements for anyone wishing to relocate to Russia is to receive sponsorship from an organisation or person in Russia. For example, if you wish to work in Russia, your prospective employer must act as your sponsor. If you want to move to Russia on a family visa, your Russian citizen family member must act as your sponsor.
Generally speaking, you will need to get a permit first, before applying for a Russian visa at one of the visa application centres in the UK, which are based in London, Edinburgh and Manchester. You will need to provide documentation to prove your eligibility for your chosen visa at your visa application appointment.
When you arrive in Russia, you will typically need to acquire a temporary residence permit. Your sponsor can help you with this.
To find out more about the requirements for emigrating to Russia pertaining to your own circumstances, please call our friendly team now on 0333 305 9375.
In comparison to the UK, Russia is a very affordable place to live. The cost of living in Russia is considerably lower than Western European countries, even in the big cities of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Krasnador.
You will enjoy cheaper rent, utility bills and groceries, and you can eat out at a good restaurant for a fraction of the price you would pay in the UK.
British citizens will find Russia an extremely affordable place to live.
As a British citizen, it is certainly possible to emigrate to Russia. It is important that you understand what you need to do in order to acquire your Russian visa.
It is well known that Russian bureaucracy exists, and this bureaucracy might delay your immigration application. This is particularly true if you do not provide the authorities the required information and documents.
That being said, if you have a valid reason for moving to Russia (to work, study or join a family member) and you meet the eligibility requirements, you can become a resident of Russia.
Yes, it is possible to volunteer in Russia as a British citizen. There are different visas available for those who would like to undertake a volunteering position in Russia.
For instance, the Russian Humanitarian Visa can be used for charity trips or for the delivery of humanitarian aid. You may also be eligible for this visa if you wish to volunteer in political, cultural, scientific or sporting areas.
The Russian Business Visa can be used to volunteer within a business setting.
If you want to work as a self-employed person in Russia, you can follow the same steps as those of regular employees of a Russian company. You will need to apply for both a work permit and a work visa yourself.
It is likely that you will have to provide a letter of support from an individual or organisation to the Russian authorities, justifying the need for your self-employment in Russia.
You will also need to provide an introductory letter which would otherwise come from the employer.
After you have spent a certain period of time lawfully living in Russia, you might be able to apply for a Russian permanent residence permit.
Those who are working in Russia will be among the best placed to receive the permanent residence permit. You must have been living in Russia for at least one year on a temporary residence permit before you can apply for the permanent residence permit.
You will need to prove your knowledge of Russian history, traditions, culture, legislation and the Russian language if you want to settle in Russia as a permanent resident.
The permanent residence permit is the first step towards acquiring Russian citizenship too. If you become a Russian citizen, you will be able to apply for a Russian passport and enjoy the full benefits of Russian citizenship.