Work Permit Application

Find out about the application procedure for work permits in Russia, the documents required and where to get them...

The process of applying for a work permit differs for residents of CIS countries (Commonwealth of Independent States) who don’t require a visa to enter Russia, and for all other nationalities who do require a visa.

Application for all Foreign Nationals from Non-CIS Countries

For foreign nationals from non-CIS countries planning to work in Russia, there are two permits that can be applied for. A standard work permit is available for foreign nationals of any salary level (above national legal minimum wage), and requires an employer to act as a sponsor. The second, for “Highly Skilled Specialists”, allows the individual to apply for the permit directly in the country of origin, takes less time to process, is valid for three years and is easier to apply for family members to accompany the individual, but it has a minimum annual salary requirement of R.2,000,000, or R.1,000,000 if employment is to be in educational institutes or research centres.

Standard Work Permit

The employer applies for the work permit for the employee before entering Russia, although the application is sometimes undertaken by a third-party organisation on behalf of the employer.

It is also possible for an employer to apply for a work permit while a prospective employee is in Russia, but if this is on a Tourist Visa or Business Visa (as some foreign nationals do when visiting a company before starting work in Russia, or searching for work) the employee is not permitted to work until a permit is issued, and has to leave the country and re-enter on a work visa.

Official guidelines for issuing a work permit and work visa are for it to take up to three months, but in many cases it can take up to six months, and sometimes even longer.

The usual process is:

  1. The employer receives permission to apply for a work permit from the relevant government departments.
  2. The employer or the authorised person submits an application to the Federal Migration Service (Federalnaya Migracionnaya Sluzba / ??????????? ???????????? ??????)

The following documents are required:

  • An application form (No. 370) completed in Russian, printed or electronically
  • One colour passport photograph (30mm x 40mm)
  • A document certifying the identity of the foreign worker (a passport for example)
  • A copy of the document of vocational education or training received by the foreign worker in a foreign country, or a certificate of an equivalent to the Russian Diploma(s) of professional education
  • Medical certification confirming the absence of a foreign worker's drug addiction and of the absence of the HIV virus as well as disorders and diseases such as: leprosy (Hansen's disease), tuberculosis, syphilis, chlamydia lymphogranuloma, chancroid
  • Receipt of payment of the fee for issuing a work permit to a foreign employee

Passport copies and a colour passport photograph are required to be supplied to the company by the employee at this stage.

Note: If any copies of documents are to be presented without showing the originals, they must be notarised by the relevant organisation in the home country (available from the Russian embassy or consulate in the home country). If any official documents are supplied in a language other than Russian, they must be accompanied by notarised translations into Russian.

  1. The work permit is issued within 35 working days of the submission of all required documents and sent to the employee for the application of a work visa, (see Work Visa Application below).
  2. When a work visa has been issued, travel to Russia can be made within three months (or an exit of the country to transfer onto the work visa, if already in Russia on another type of visa), and then an application can be made to transfer onto a one year visa that allows multiple entry.
  3. A work permit lasts for the duration of the job, but a new work visa must be applied for every year, and again, the employer or their representative normally handles this for the employee.

Highly Skilled Specialists Work Permit

This permit can be applied by a foreign national at the Russian embassy or consulate in the country of origin, before gaining employment. Applications do not require a sponsor, are usually processed in 14 days, and allow the issuing of a multiple-entry work visa along with visas for accompanying family members, including spouses, children, parents and grandparents among others. The individual needs to have a significant level experience and skill in a particular area of work, and must gain employment with a salary of over R.2,000,000, or R.1,000,000 if employment is to be in education or research.

  • For more information on applying for this permit, contact the local Russian embassy or consulate, or see these Instructions for Highly Skilled Specialists on the FMS website: Click here
  • For FAQs relating to Highly Skilled Specialists and other migration issues: Click here

Work Visa Application

This should be applied for by the individual at the Russian embassy or consulate in country of origin.

Documents required for this are:

  • A completed visa application form (available from or through the local embassy’s website)
  • Original passport, valid for at least six months after the end of the intended duration of the visa and with at least two blank pages
  • One colour passport photograph
  • A document certifying the identity of the foreign worker (a passport for example)
  • Receipt of payment of the fee for issuing a work permit to a foreign employee
  • Medical certification of the absence of the HIV virus
  • A copy of the letter of invitation, or a telex, from the FMS (Federalnaya Migracionnaya Sluzba / ??????????? M??????????? C?????
  • A letter of introduction from the employer with the full name and details of the work permit holder; the intended destination, dates and purpose of the visit; and the name of the host organisation including details for a contact person in Russia and an explanation of who is financially responsible for the individual on the trip

Note: In the case of self-employed people, this letter should be from the individual directly.

Again, if any copies of documents must be notarised, translations must be supplied where relevant.

  • For more details on further specific requirements for work visas, contact the local Russian embassy or consulate, or see the Residency section

For most visas issued to UK residents, the Russian Embassy is using the services of a company called M/S VFS Services, with offices in London and in Edinburgh.

For most visas issued to residents of the USA, the Russian Embassy is using a company called Invisa Logistics Services LLC, with offices in Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, Houston and Seattle.

  • More information can be found on this company’s website: Click here

Information about visa services and agencies for other countries can be obtained by the Russian Embassy or Consulate in the respective country:

Application for Foreign Nationals from CIS countries

Citizens of the neighbouring Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, who do not need visas to enter Russia, also have a simplified procedure for registration for a work permit. Permits can be applied for by the individual themselves from the office of Federal Migration Service (FMS, Federalnaya Migracionnaya Sluzba / ??????????? M??????????? C?????) in the region that registration has taken place in, or by an authorised person on behalf of the individual.

  • For more information on the website of the FMS: Click here
  • For a list of all local regional offices in Russia: Click here (in Russian)

Documents required for the application are:

  • An application form completed in Russian, printed or electronically
  • A colour passport photograph (30mm x 40mm)
  • A document certifying the identity of the foreign worker (a passport for example)
  • Receipt of payment of the fee for issuing a work permit to a foreign employee
  • The migration card, or stamp from customs control upon entry to Russia, or note from FMS for the issuing of a migration card to the foreign citizen

The authorised officer of the FMS registers the application, affixes to it a registration number and issues the applicant with a copy of the application including a mark of acceptance and the date.

The work permit is issued within ten working days to the applicant in person, on presentation of proof of identity and recent medical certification of the absence of the HIV virus, and absence of disorders and diseases such as leprosy (Hansen's disease), tuberculosis, syphilis, chlamydia lymphogranuloma, chancroid.