Who is Permitted to Visit Russia without a Visa?
Julia Yakhina, LEVINE Bridge,
Director, Migration department
Foreigners are supposed to cross the Russian border with a valid visa. However, this rule is not applied to all foreign citizens. There are instances where a foreigner may enter Russia without a visa.
Citizens of countries within the CIS have the right to enter and remain on the territory of the Russian Federation for personal reasons for a period of up to 90 days. Prior to the expiration of the 90-day period they must exit the country. The number of times a person can enter Russia is not limited. If a foreigner works in Russia, the term of his/her stay in Russia can be extended equal to the period of the work permit up to three years.
Citizens from other countries who have concluded agreements with Russia on visa-free travel are free to enter Russia for a period of 1 to 3 months.
Similar agreements exist between Russia and the countries of Turkey, Serbia, Israel, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and other countries. As a rule, citizens of these countries are entitled to enter, transit through or from, as well as be on the territory of the Russian Federation without a visa. The terms of visa-free travel can be found in the existing agreement with a particular country. The period of stay in Russia without a visa may also vary:
- In certain cases a foreign citizen can remain in Russia without a visa continuously for 90 days out of every 180 days (for example, citizens of Israel and Argentina);
- There are instances where a foreign citizen stays in Russia without a visa continuously for up to 30 days without limitations on the number of times he/she may enter Russia and the total period of stay over the course of a year (for example, citizens of Thailand, Cuba and Macedonia);
- In rare instances, a foreign citizen stays in Russia continuously up to 30 days with limitations of the total period of stay up to 90 days out of 180 days (Turkey).
Generally, those foreigners entitled to travel to Russia via a visa-free regime may do so for personal, tourist or business reasons. However, if their intention is to work, then they must obtain a valid Russian work permit.
As a rule, most foreigners who have received Temporary Residency Status in Russia for a period up to three years must also obtain a visa of temporary residency for the same period.
However, according to international agreements on mutual visa-free regimes, foreign citizens having a temporary residency status in Russia can visit the country without a visa. This applies to citizens of Italy, Germany, Serbia,
Turkey, Poland, Macedonia and Montenegro. To cross the border they need only a valid passport. The same procedure applies to stateless persons who have received a temporary residency status in Russia.
Apart from the above-mentioned categories, foreign citizens who are exempt from obtaining a Russian visa are those having temporary residency status in the Russian Federation.