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View Full Version : Got my work permit/visa - here's the story



Digenis Akritas
25-03-2008, 12:26
Hurrah! As of last week I now have the following

My Russian work permit (razrashenie na rabotu)
A multi-entry work visa (mnogokratnaya rabochaya visa)
A legally-binding stamped contract with my Russian employer

Sometime in mid-December my employer (though I wasn't on the books yet as I didn't have a work permit) applied for my work permit (razrashenie na rabotu). In parallel, I had all my medical tests done at one single clinic near the Luzhniki stadium.

Towards the end of January I was issued a work permit, a small blue card with my photograph, which would enable me to seek employment in Russia (though I had already been "working" for my current employer for 7 months).

Next, my company arranged for an invitation letter for a new visa for me. Previously I had a business (delovaya) visa, but I now needed a work (rabochaya) visa. The invitation came in the standard 3-week time period.

I was told that I had to go to a Russian consulate in the United States, as I am a US citizen. I know there are rumors and stories about exceptions floating around, but I wanted to play it safe and it was on the company's bill, so why not make a visit to NYC?

Applying for a visa at the NYC Russian Consulate was a piece of cake. The procedure was no different than for any other type of visa. I paid 300 dollars to have it processed in one business day. The only thing I can warn of is to make sure you get your money order (they don't accept cash, personal checks, or credit cards) and photographs beforehand, so as not to waste any valuable time. In any case, the kind people there will tell you where you can get all of that stuff within 2 blocks of the Russian Consulate.

All went smoothly and I was issued a 90-day single-entry visa. Yes, it sounds silly, but that's how it's done. They issue a single entry and later (once you officially sign a contract with a Russian employer while possessing your work visa) it is canceled and a multi-entry is issued, all without leaving Russia.

I returned to Russia and signed the contract with my employer the same day.

Then, all documents (contract, migration card, passport, registration, medical tests) were submitted to the Federal Migration Service in Moscow. We paid a little extra to speed up the processing time since I had an urgent business trip the next week, and we received my new multi-entry 1-year work visa within a week.

By the way, the multi-entry 1-year visa is not a sticker in my passport. It's actually a separate green piece of paper, which I must be extra careful not to lose :)

So far, so good. It took time, but all in all it went smoothly.

Any questions?

Transparent Theatre
25-03-2008, 13:09
Thank you for posting this very clear and helpful account of the process. It makes a refreshing change from the usual cycle of unsupported rumours, old-wive's-tales and posts made by visa agents touting for business :)

tgma
26-03-2008, 13:53
Thanks also for the account.
I'm going through this at the moment, and it is all pretty much exactly as you describe. I did it in the UK (as I'm a UK citizen). Did it via an agency, who wanted a letter from my employer (Russian), and also asked for a copy of my work permit, but I had included the work permit number in the letter from my employer, so that was sufficient. I did need an HIV test, but not an insurance policy.

cupcake
26-03-2008, 16:01
quick question - when you say


Next, my company arranged for an invitation letter for a new visa for me. Previously I had a business (delovaya) visa, but I now needed a work (rabochaya) visa. The invitation came in the standard 3-week time period.


was the invitation letter for a business visa or a work visa? and where did they get it from?

thanks

cupcake
26-03-2008, 16:06
and another quick question!

if you have a partner/kid(s), what is the next stage in the process to get their visas and permits done? can anybody help me on this one please?

thanks

Digenis Akritas
26-03-2008, 16:10
was the invitation letter for a business visa or a work visa? and where did they get it from?

I still have a scan of the invitation in my possession.

It was for a single-entry regular work visa (obyknovennaya rabochaya viza, odnokratnaya).

Issued by the Federal Migration Service (UFMS-511)

It was issued for a period of 90 days. That means I would have 90 days to sign a contract with my Russian employer and have the visa 'converted' to multi-entry valid for one year.

Hope that helps.

bluemidnight
26-03-2008, 16:37
It was issued for a period of 90 days. That means I would have 90 days to sign a contract with my Russian employer and have the visa 'converted' to multi-entry valid for one year.


Can you enter Russia for the first time at any point during those 90 days? I read somewhere that there might be a restriction on when you can enter Russia (something like within the first 5 days that the visa is valid?) but I can't find find where I read it, can't find anything else to support it, and can't gte an answer from the consulate. Do you know?

Digenis Akritas
26-03-2008, 17:14
Can you enter Russia for the first time at any point during those 90 days? I read somewhere that there might be a restriction on when you can enter Russia (something like within the first 5 days that the visa is valid)

My Letter of Invitation says "Entry from: 21.01.08 Through: 27.04.08"

It also says "for a period of 90 days" (na srok 90 dnei)

So, basically, you have 90 days from the day your LoI is issued to apply for, receive, and re-enter Russia. Upon your entry, you supposedly have another 90 days to sign an employment contract.

The 5-day rule you've heard of is something different. It applies to when you can re-enter Russia after you've received your new visa. Basically, you must wait 5 days after your visa has been issued to initiate your return to Russia. This pretty much does away with the 1-day visa runs.

bluemidnight
26-03-2008, 18:08
Thank you!!! *huge sigh of relief*
:11721:
I was starting to panic.

cupcake
27-03-2008, 12:30
Thanks for this info.

So did you have to wait 5 days between visa being issued and you returning to Russia, or could you come straight here?

Digenis Akritas
27-03-2008, 13:05
So did you have to wait 5 days between visa being issued and you returning to Russia...?

Yes, they expressly told me that I had to wait 5 days before returning to Russia.

xSnoofovich
29-03-2008, 01:40
maybe i missed it, but did you need an aids test ?

and did you have to wait the five days?

tgma
02-04-2008, 09:57
I just got my multi-entry visa - the law firm that handles it for us was able to process it in about 5 days.
In London, as a UK citizen, I needed an AIDS test. My single-entry visa was valid from the date of entry - i.e. I could travel the next day. My US colleague got a single entry visa in NY, and he had to wait 5 days.

atelegs
08-05-2008, 11:44
A quality set of posts - thanks for all the info.

TGMA,

I am in London now to apply for my Work Visa. I already have my Work Permit and had an HIV test as part of the application for the Work Permit. I do not yet have the Invitation, it will be couriered over from MOW next week. I have a UK passport, but will be applying on my New Zealand passport. I'm assuming the requirements are the same for both citizenships.

I have a couple of questions:

- HR in MOW have told me all I will need for the Work Visa application is the Invitation - is this true? What are the documents one needs as part of the Work Visa application at the London Embassy?

- Is it true that for one's first Work Visa application, it has to be done outside of Russia? Then for renewal at the end of the first year (including the extension from 90 days) it is completed inside Russia?

- I had the HIV test in MOW as part of the Work Permit application. Do I need to submit the HIV test results again in London as part of the Work Visa application?

- Where do you get the forms for the Work Visa? I cannot find them on the London Russian Embassy site.....?

Thanks in advance for your answers !

: )

Carbo
09-05-2008, 11:43
A quality set of posts - thanks for all the info.

TGMA,

I am in London now to apply for my Work Visa. I already have my Work Permit and had an HIV test as part of the application for the Work Permit. I do not yet have the Invitation, it will be couriered over from MOW next week. I have a UK passport, but will be applying on my New Zealand passport. I'm assuming the requirements are the same for both citizenships.

I have a couple of questions:

- HR in MOW have told me all I will need for the Work Visa application is the Invitation - is this true? What are the documents one needs as part of the Work Visa application at the London Embassy?

- Is it true that for one's first Work Visa application, it has to be done outside of Russia? Then for renewal at the end of the first year (including the extension from 90 days) it is completed inside Russia?

- I had the HIV test in MOW as part of the Work Permit application. Do I need to submit the HIV test results again in London as part of the Work Visa application?

- Where do you get the forms for the Work Visa? I cannot find them on the London Russian Embassy site.....?

Thanks in advance for your answers !

: )
At the end of December, I went through the same process as the person who started this thread, and I can say that my experience was identical to his, except as British subject I did everything in London.

If you re-read his account again, atelegs, you will note that he didn't actually get a multi-entry one year work visa from his consulate. He was issued with a 90 day visa which was then altered in Moscow. The same happened to me. I applied for a 90 day visa using the consulate's online form, following the process I would have used for applying for a business visa.

The difference was that the inviting (name on the invitation) company was the company I work for (as opposed to fin-group, or the ministry of agriculture, or something), and when the visa came, it didn't say 'commercial', but 'work'.

I went to the consulate in London sometime before 7am to make sure I was the first in the queue, which I was, and was let in at 8.30, and I was first to make my application. I didn't need an AIDS test, and got my visa the same day for just less than 100 quid.

I then used that 90 day, single entry visa to get back to Moscow. Handed it in to my company, who got it registered. My company then took it away for 2 weeks, and returned it with a line though the visa I'd just got from London, and a new visa -- not stuck into the passport, but a seperate piece of green paper that I had to fold up inside -- that was 1 year multi entry, from the date of my application in London.

Hope that helps, but if there's anything you don't understand or that I have explained poorly, let me know.

alekto
10-05-2008, 14:45
- Is it true that for one's first Work Visa application, it has to be done outside of Russia? Then for renewal at the end of the first year (including the extension from 90 days) it is completed inside Russia?

In a word, yes.

I've had it done a few times now and basically, the whole process takes about 3 weeks/1 month. You need to submit photos and all your documents (passport, migration card, current visa) and spend 3 weeks without them :( Then you get it all back, with a new green piece of paper.

So you don't have to leave the country. But you do have to plan ahead - no trips to Petersburg or the like during the renewal period.

tgma
12-05-2008, 15:13
The work visa application is the same as the ordinary visa application - you need to do it online, and then print it out.
I went through an agency (ruvisa.co.uk), and would recommend them.
I needed the HIV test, and a letter from my company. A copy of the work permit would probably help.
Have you checked that they will give you a visa on the NZ passport in London?

atelegs
13-05-2008, 18:57
Carbo/ TGMA,

Thanks for your replies. Much appreciated.

Yes, I can apply for the Work Visa on my NZ passport in London no trouble.

Rang the Russian Embassy in London this morning and finally managed to speak with the consular staff. They said that there is no specific application form for the Work Visa, and that you have to use the Business Visa form off the web instead. They also said that you need to bring along as part of the application: passport, application form with photo, Invitation, confirmation of employment letter from employer, and HIV test results.

So I'll be giving it a shot on Thurs. Thanks for all your advice !

Acoreana
13-05-2008, 21:24
Thanx a bunch for the post!!! Now I know the basic steps to follow!!
One quick question, forgive me if I over read it somewhere else...
I'm a UK citizen, will I need a work permit AND a multi-entry work visa?
I guess having a work permit AND/OR multi-entry work visa (employed in Russia) is the only way to live in Russia without the hassles of expiring visas and having to leave for 3 months before coming back into the country...yes?

svelt
19-05-2008, 14:28
DA this is not the first time one of your posts has been of great value to me. keep it up man.

carbo i agree and disagree. i just did another visa run. (3rd since end october) this time for the work visa. i use an agency in london although and they were declined until i got another aids test. old one was from november 07 visa application. fortunately i was able to get the test done and the results in four hours in edgware road. yes 4 four hours.
to grant or not to grant is either decided by the moon status, bio rythyms, solar activity and sun spots, the size of the holiday fund or maybe some combination of all these factors plus polonium for flavouring.
it seems for sure that there is as usual no universal application of the rules/law.
welcome to russia some things dont change after all.
anyway i got the three month visa and am now in the process of having that switched into the one year multi ''work'' version.

Carbo
20-05-2008, 07:50
Thanx a bunch for the post!!! Now I know the basic steps to follow!!
One quick question, forgive me if I over read it somewhere else...
I'm a UK citizen, will I need a work permit AND a multi-entry work visa?
I guess having a work permit AND/OR multi-entry work visa (employed in Russia) is the only way to live in Russia without the hassles of expiring visas and having to leave for 3 months before coming back into the country...yes?
Yup, you need both a work permit, and a ME visa. Honestly, I have so much paperowrk in my passport I don't know where to put it all. Visa, Work permit, registration, immigration card... and I haven't even applied for residency....

RRM
20-05-2008, 08:27
I am going through the same scenario now. I am a permanent resident of the USA but an Indian National. I got all my visa's (Business) in Houston but now the employer would like me to have my Work visa (first time) in India rather. Hope this will go smooth.

mattse777
15-08-2008, 12:07
All,

this is the best and clearest thread on this awkward work visa process. WHen I first heard about this 90 day single entry work visa, I was puzzled, because my company did not know how long it would take to exchange it to a ME work visa - 4 weeks or 3 months. And I did not like the idea of being trapped in Russia without being able to leave. I then found the agency which will now help to speed things up: "Visa Delight", charge about 450 Euro. Quite hefty but they will do it within a week and my company is reimbursing. I guess there are other agencies out there which might do it cheaper, if anyone has names and contacts, that would probably be helpful for the ones of us who still have to go through this. So thanks in advance for posting them.

albina
16-08-2008, 06:43
Ukraine, She still has this in her Soviet Passport that we have. She was telling our daughter "We don't have enough money to live in Russia and must stay in the poor u.s.. I felt down hearing this. I was just looking over Canadian immigration, and they DO descriminate with a point system. It is down to 67. They can let in some bunch of Pakistanis or whomever, but DO put restrictions on up and up people with this system .. My wife feels Russia will be TOO strange for me and our dsughter, I want a place to "feel good about living in", not hundred year war McCain and cold war mentality. I will post for BELS on another forum.

mattse777
26-08-2008, 11:50
...just to give a small update: I just received my multiple entry work visa, done by migration service in moscow. It was not just a green paper added but actually a new visa was put into my passport and the old one canceled. So, no more danger of loosing the paper...

Swordfish90293
05-10-2008, 19:36
Thanks for a most clear and useful thread.

Sorry if thes reply is untimely, but I didn't see the following issues raised...

After speaking with the Russian Consulate in San Francisco, I think it's important to remember that the requirements for each nationality for any given visa or permit may vary. According to them, this may also vary with the particular Russian Consulate you visit.

Example, in my case as an American citizen, I may enter Russia with a business visa, but need to exit in order to apply for a "work visa". I may be allowed to process a work visa in a country other the U.S. provided the Russian consulate in that country (e.g. Ukraine) accepts my application. I was told to check directly with a particular embassy to ascertain if they will accept application for a work visa from an American, and specifically what docs are required as these may also differ.

I need an invitation generated by my company through the Ministry (of Foreign Affairs I understand) in order to apply for a work visa.

The work visa allows me to enter and work for my employer while they process a "work permit". The work permit then allows for multiple entries.

I may apply for a "work visa" from here in L.A., however my deal is not yet tied down and I may need to go to Moscow in order to do that...therefore the business visa.


He who has choice has trouble.
- Dutch proverb

Paul 5666
18-11-2009, 14:59
Hi good info, a question I have is did you need a diploma as I am an experienced person with over 15 years experience in my field of engineering but do not have a diploma and I am wondering if this may be a stumbling block for work visa applicaation

SV1973a
18-11-2009, 15:03
Hi good info, a question I have is did you need a diploma as I am an experienced person with over 15 years experience in my field of engineering but do not have a diploma and I am wondering if this may be a stumbling block for work visa applicaation

I do not know whether not having a diploma will block your work visa application.
However, it WILL block you from getting a work permit.
Since September 2009, FMS in Russia started requiring that expats present the original of their diploma, with apostille, and notarised translation.