Essential Employment Paperwork in Russia



All foreign nationals need to secure an entry visa before entering the largest country in the world. Various types of visas correspond to one’s purpose of a visit, but those who are planning to seek employment are required to obtain a work visa and permit to secure a warm welcome from Mother Russia. 

No visas are issued at any Russian entry and border point that’s why it is important that expatriates process all the legal immigration paperwork before flying in. It is worth noting that according to the local labour law, it is illegal for a foreign national to take a job that a Russian can perform. Expatriates that are about to work in this country are also required to prove that they have specialised skills or managerial/executive-level skills that are unavailable from the local labour market. In addition to that, aspiring foreign workers also need to have the two vital documents stated below: 

Razreshenie na Rabotu (Work Permit) 

Before hiring a foreign national, a Russian employer needs first to file a ‘Declaration of Need’ and obtain a work permit. Applications for both of these documents are submitted to the Federalnaya Migracionnaya Sluzba - FMS (Federal Migration Service). A Russian work permit is usually valid for one year and is issued with 35 business days after the FMS received the application. Some of the documents that the employer must submit during the application are: 

  • A completed No. 370 application form (in Russian)
  • Once passport-sized photo of the expat
  • Copy of the expatriate’s valid passport
  • Educational Certificates
  • Medical Certificate proving that the expat is free from illegal drugs substance, HIV virus and other contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, leprosy and syphilis.
  • Proof of payment of the work permit application fee 

Highly Skilled Specialist Work Permit 

Aside from the standard work permit which is only issued to the employer, there is also the highly skilled specialist work permit that can be applied by the expat from the Russian Consular in his home country. It is only granted to foreign nationals that possess a high level of experience in a particular field and have the ability to earn a salary of over USD 33,400. This permit does not require a sponsor or employer and is usually issued within 14 business days from the date of application. Highly skilled specialist work permits allow issuance of multiple-entry work visas as well as entry visas for the accompanying spouse and dependent/s of the expatriate. 

Work Visa 

"Visas just take a long time. You need an invitation from the company you're working for. This can take between 2 to 9 weeks."- Alice Lucas, Expat in Moscow, Russia

Once the standard work permit has been issued by the FMS, the employer must send a formal visa invitation letter to the expat which must be submitted to the Russian Embassy/Consulate in his home country during the visa application. Work visas for Russia are usually valid for up to three months but it can be extended depending on the holder’s employment status. Some of the documents that expats must bring to the Consular are listed below: 

  • Original Passport that is valid for at least six months (with at least two blank pages)
  • One passport-sized photo
  • Letter of Introduction from the Russian employer stating the full name of the expat and his nature of work as well as intended destination in Russia
  • Medical Certificate proving that the applicant is free from HIV virus
  • Copy of Work Permit from the FMS or Invitation Letter from the Russian employer