Russia: Team Member Nationality Requirements

Any foreigner or foreign company can start a business in Russia. However, there are restrictions on foreigners operating businesses in 44 strategic sectors (law “On Foreign Investments in Companies of Strategic Importance for National Defense and Security of the Russian Federation” No. 57-FZ)

The number of shareholders/participants in PJSC/LLC cannot exceed 50. Any Russian and foreign companies and persons may be founders and shareholder in any number of Russian companies. The company may be established by a single founder, as long as the founder is not a company owned by a single legal entity or individual.

In order to employ foreign citizens a Limited Liability Company or Public/Private Joint Stock Company shall obtain Employment permit. Afterwards every foreign employee shall obtain personal work permit, and then a work visa. Registered Non-Profit Organisations, Representative Offices and Branches of foreign companies also have to obtain Employment permit.

A foreign citizen coming to work in Russia will need a Russian work permit (personal work permit, **work visa (foreign employee visa (subtype of work visa), and temporary residence permit, (it has to be received separately in the Russian Directorate of Migratory Affairs (GUVM), required documents a same as for work permit).

Russia issues quotas on the number of foreign nationals it can employ per year. If an employer wants to hire foreign staff, they have to demonstrate that they have a need for foreign workers by filing a ‘Declaration of Need’ and then applying for an employment permit from the Russian Directorate of Migratory Affairs (GUVM). The employment permit issued to the employer will specify how many foreign staff can be employed, what nationalities they can employ and which positions can be filled. If an Employer is unable to receive Employment permit, a foreign worker should personally apply to the GUVM to receive a work permit.

The following types of Russian work permit can be issued:

  • Standard Russian Work Permit

This is the general Russian work permit issued for those from non-CIS countries taking up employment in Russia. It is valid for the length of the employment contract (need to renew your Russian work visa annually if the job lasts longer than a year).

  • Russian Work Permit for Highly Qualified Professionals

This is a special Russian work permit for those in skilled professions who gain employment with annual salary of over 1 million rubles (more than US$16,700). It is usually processed in 14 days, is valid for three years and entitles relatives including spouses, children and parents to Russian visas.

  • Work Patent for CIS Nationals

A citizen of CIS country that doesn’t need a visa to enter Russia is not required to get Russian work permit or a job to enter Russia for work purposes. It requires to apply for a work patent from the local Russian Directorate of Migratory Affairs (GUVM) office within 30 days of arriving in Russia. The work patent is valid for 12 months and is renewable once; it is not counted in government quotas and an employer will not need an employment permit. To obtain a work patent, an employee will need to pass an exam of knowledge of Russian language, history and legislation of the Russian Federation.

Required documents:

For Work permit: (same set of documents for residence permit)

  • color passport photograph
  • passport or valid ID
  • copy of the necessary qualification certificates
  • medical certificate confirming absence of diseases
  • receipt for payment of fees

Once the permit has been obtained, a worker will receive a Russian work visa invitation from the GUVM.

For Working visa:

  • visa application form
  • passport
  • one passport photograph
  • letter of invitation from the Russian Directorate of Migratory Affairs GUVM
  • letter from employer with job details, work location and dates of contract
  • medical certificate confirming absence of diseases

The Russian work visa processing time is around 20 days although the total time from enquiring about obtaining a Russian work permit to receiving Russian work visa can take anywhere from 3-6 months. The Russian work visa is usually valid for 90 days, but can be extended to a year and then renewed annually after that.

All foreign entrants to Russia need to register arrival and travels in Russia with the local Russian Directorate of Migratory Affairs (GUVM) office within 7 days. Failure to register with the GUVM can result in a fine and in some cases expulsion from Russia.


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