Legal Status of Foreigners in Russia: Legal rights, Russian visa, residency permits, personal taxes.
Most of the information below has been provided by the Russian law firm VISTA Foreign Business Support (www.vfbs.ru).
Rights and obligations of foreign citizens
in the Russian Federation
Legal Status of foreign citizens in Russia first of all is determined by the Constitution of the Russian Federation 1993 (point 3 article 62). It says that foreign citizens and stateless persons enjoy rights and bear responsibilities on a par with the citizens of the Russian Federation, unless otherwise provided by Federal Laws or International Agreements of the Russian Federation.
This provision means that any restrictions or additional requirements regarding legal status of foreigners could not be established by legislative acts of the legislative or executive bodies of the regions (states) of the Russian Federation. Only adopting a Federal Law may worsen legal status of foreigners.
Here are the general principles of the legal status of the foreign citizen in the Russian Federation:
1. Foreign citizens are equal without reference to their origin, social and material status, race and nationality, sex, education, language, religion, occupation, etc.
2. Russian Federation may establish restrictions and additional requirements to the citizens of the countries, which established correspondent restrictions and additional requirements to the citizens of Russia.
3. Enjoyment of rights by the foreigner must not impair damage to the interests of the society, government, citizens of Russia and other persons.
4. Foreign citizens must observe the legislation of the Russian Federation.
Freedom of movement
Foreign citizens enjoy the right of freedom of movement within the boundaries of the Russian Federation for personal and business purposes on the ground of the documents, issued to them in accordance with the Federal Law “On the legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation”, with the exception of territories, organizations and objects, for an entry to which a special permit is required in accordance with the federal laws.
Below is the list of territories organizations and objects, for an entry to which a special permit is required (Instruction of the Government # 754 dated 11.10.2002)
1. Areas of the closed administrative-territories of the Russia Federation.
2. Areas restricted to visit for foreign citizens
3. Territories, where the state of emergency or the state of martial law have been forced in.
4. Territories where special conditions or regime of residence have been forced in as a result of danger of development of contagion or mass non-contagion and intoxication of people.
5. Territories of closed cantonments.
6. Areas where contra terrorism operations are being conducted.
7. Environmental distress areas.
8. Borderland zones.
9. Objects and organizations of Armed Forces of Russian Federation.
10. Objects where public authorities and other authorities and organizations are located in and which work with national secret information.
11. Other territories, organizations and objects where Russian nationals must obtain the special permit for visiting them.
Foreign citizen has no right to:
1. Be employed in the state or the municipal service.
2. Be a member of the crew of a ship, sailing under the State Flag of the Russian Federation.
3. Be a member of the crew of a military air vessel of the Russian Federation or of another vessel, operated for non-commercial purposes, as well as of a flying aircraft of the state or the experimental aviation.
4. Be the commander of a civil aircraft.
5. Be enrolled for a job to the objects and the organizations, whose activity is involved in providing for the security of the Russian Federation:
ÿ objects and organizations of the Military Forces of the Russian Federation.
ÿ institutions that are responsible for the government secret information
ÿ organizations that work with radioactive and nuclear products
6. To engage in another activity and to occupy other posts, the federal law restricts an access to which of foreign citizens.
Note: This is a short summary especially designed for business travelers and employers of foreign nationals. If you are seeking a more detailed information on Russian visa rules and legislation, please, refer to Way to Russia Russian Visa Guide.
Foreign citizen, temporarily staying in the Russian Federation – is the person, who has arrived in the Russian Federation on the ground of a visa or in the order not requiring obtaining a visa (for citizens of the CIS, except Georgia and Turkmenistan), and who has no residence permit or a temporary residence permit.
Visa is the document issued on the basis of the invitation for an entry to the Russian Federation. Visa determines a period of a foreign citizen’s stay in Russia.
Types of visas: 1. Diplomatic; 2. Official; 3. Ordinary; 4. Transit; 5. Temporary residence visas
Ordinary visas are of the following types: 1. private; 2. business; 3. tourist, including group; 4. study; 5. work; 6. humanitarian; 7. asylum.
Necessity of Personal Registration
Note: This is a short summary especially designed for business travelers and employers of foreign nationals. If you are seeking a more detailed information on Russian visa rules and legislation, please, refer to Russian Visa Registration section.
Foreign citizens, who have entered the Russian Federation, are obliged to register within three working days as from the day of their arrival in the Russian Federation. If foreign citizen has changed the place of his/her stay in the Russian Federation, he/she has to register within three working days as from the day of arrival at the new place of stay. Registration of children under 18 will be conducted at the same time as the registration of their parents. The territorial subdivision of the federal executive body, controlling the matters of internal affairs, (PVU GUVD of Moscow) shall carry out the registration of foreign citizens, who have entered Russian Federation.
If foreign citizen has lost the documents on the basis of which he/she entered Russia he/she won’t be registered and has to leave Russian Federation not later then 10 days after he/she obtained (upon his/her written request) the document proving that he/she has lost his documents.
According to the Article 18.10 of the Administrative code of the Russian Federation breach by the foreign citizen of the above stated order of registration impairs fine in the amount from 500 to 1000 rubles (15-30 dollars). The repeated breach of the order of registration may result to deportation.
Temporary Residence Permit for Russia
Note: This is a short summary especially designed for business travelers and employers of foreign nationals. If you are seeking a more detailed information on Russian visa rules and legislation, please, refer to the Russian Visa section.
Temporary residence is a document proving the right of a foreign to reside in Russia before obtaining of Residence permit. Temporary residence permit is issued for 3 years. Temporary residence permit should be issued within 6 months from the date of applying.
Temporary residence permit can be issued to a foreign citizen within a quota established by federal government.
Disregarding quota Temporary residence permit can be issued to the following people:
1. To the person that was born in USSR and was a citizen of USSR or to the person that was born in the Russian Federation.
2. To the person declared disabled, who has a son or a daughter – citizens of Russia.
3. To the person who has at least one disabled parent – citizen of Russia.
4. To the person married to a citizen of Russia, who resides in Russia.
5. To the person investing in Russia.
Procedure of obtaining Temporary residence permit is the following:
1. Foreign citizen applies for a visa of a temporary residing person (4 month single entry visa).
2. Foreign citizen applies for a Temporary residence permit.
3. After obtaining Temporary residence permit visa of a temporary residing person is prolonged.
4. If a foreign citizen wants to exit Russia he/she should apply for an exit/entrance visa.
Rights and obligations of Temporary residing foreign citizen:
1. Temporary residing foreign citizen can not change at his wish place of residence within the territory of the region where he/she obtained Temporary residence permit, or to reside outside the region where he/she obtained Temporary residence permit.
2. Temporary residing foreign citizen can not work outside the region where he/she obtained Temporary residence permit.
Russia Residence Permit
After obtaining Temporary residence permit and residing on its basis no less than for a year foreign citizen may apply for a Residence permit. Residence permit is issued to a foreigner for 5 years and can be prolonged for another 5 years.
Residence permit enables foreign citizen to travel to and out of Russia without visa.
Personal Income Tax in Russia
The taxpayers of personal income tax are individuals – residents of the Russian Federation and individuals – non-residents of the Russian Federation who receive income from the sources on the territory of the Russian Federation.
Even a foreign citizen can be a tax resident of the Russian Federation if he resides on the territory of the Russian Federation not less than 183 days of the calendar year.
The tax rates for personal income tax in Russia are the following:
- 13 % - for income received by tax residents;
- 30 % - for income received by tax non-residents on the territory of the Russian Federation;
- 35 % - for certain kinds of income;
- 6 % - for income from share (stock) dividends.
An individual who is a non-resident of the Russian Federation may be exempt from taxation by Russian tax authorities, provided that he introduces (forwards) to Russian tax authorities an official confirmation that he is a resident of the state that has double taxation treaty with the Russian Federation.
It is also important to note that if the organization pays for the lease of apartments for its foreign employee, the latter shall pay personal income tax on 13 % or 30 % tax rate depending on the period of time he resides on the territory of the Russian Federation
Employer’s Withholding Obligations
Income tax should be withheld at source, by an employer who is deemed to be a tax agent, with respect to all remuneration paid to individuals (employees and individual contractors, except for those who are duly registered individual entrepreneurs). Under current rules, responsibility to be a tax agent lies with Russian entities, individual entrepreneurs and permanent establishments of foreign legal entities in Russia. In addition to withholding obligations, employers are required to provide information to the tax authorities on income paid and tax withheld, and to notify the tax authorities about the amounts of income received by individuals from which tax can not be withheld.
And individual is required to file his/her annual tax return with the Russian tax authorities in the following cases:
- he/she is self-employed;
- he/she received income from which Russian tax was not withheld by a tax agent;
- he/she is a Russian tax resident and received income from sources outside Russia;
- he/she is entitled to and intends to take an income tax deduction provided for under Russian law.
> More information about tax legislation in Russia (VAT, profits tax, assets tax, income tax).
VISTA Foreign Business Support provides consulting, law, and accounting services for organisations and individuals.
Phone: +7 095 933 7822, Fax: +7 095 933 7823