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Choosing the right visa for visiting Russia


After 16 January 2019, organisations and individuals inviting foreign citizens to Russia should ensure that the declared purpose of entry for the invited foreign citizen matches the activities that he will actually carry out in Russia.

This requirement is part of the Russian government’s new policy to monitor closely the compliance of foreign citizens regarding their visas. To avoid a violation, a foreign citizen should choose the correct type of visa when he is planning a visit.

A common violation of the Russian visa regime is to begin employment in Russia before obtaining a work visa. Some foreigners have started work after receiving a work permit, but before obtaining a work visa. Under migration rules, a work permit and visa are both required to lawfully have employment in Russia.

The second most frequent violation: entering Russia with a tourist visa for the purpose attending business meetings and negotiations. Because a tourist visa can often be obtained much faster than a business visa, some foreign businessmen have used a tourist visa to enter the country and conduct business affairs.

These two situations – as well as others where the foreigner’s activities do not coincide with the purpose of a visa – may lead to administrative sanctions against both the individual and the inviting company. 

A foreigner violating the visa regime could receive an administrative fine of up to RUB 7,000 (EUR 90), and possibly deportation from Russia with a subsequent five-year ban. A company involved in a visa violation could be obliged to pay an administrative fine of up to RUB 500,000 (EUR 6,600).

As a result, it is recommended that both foreign citizens planning to visit Russia and their Russian inviting companies analyse the types of activities the visitor will be undertaking and carefully choose the appropriate visa. In this way, both the visitor and inviting company will be fully compliant.

For more information on the new requirements regarding visas to Russia, compliance and penalties, feel free to contact Valeriy Fedoreev and Ekaterina Elekchyan.

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Fedoreev Valeriy
Valeriy Fedoreev
Ekaterina Elekchyan
Ekaterina Elekchyan