Russia is the largest country in the world. And many people decide to go there attracted by its economic opportunities or seduced by the charms of the Slavic soul.
Anyways, moving to Russia is not a decision to be taken lightly. The process is full of pitfalls, many administrative steps, and requires several months of preparation.
In this guide, you will find some tips to make it easier.
Visas for Expats in Russia
Pitfalls to Avoid When Moving to Russia
Getting a visa is a mandatory step for expats in Russia, and it is not easy to obtain. Plus the local authorities are very careful about respecting all the regulations.
You should make sure you meet all the conditions required. Both for entering and leaving the country, otherwise you risk expulsion and a residence ban.
And it’s not uncommon for expats to fall into certain administrative traps:
- The Working Holiday Visa: it’s available since 2011 for foreigners up to 30 years old. This solution is not feasible to expatriate to Russia, because unlike elsewhere, its validity is only 4 months.
- The electronic visa: it’s simpler and faster to obtain than a paper visa. But it is not suitable for expatriation in Russia because its validity is only 8 days!
How to Obtain a Visa to Russia?
To settle in the country, you will have to opt for a visa to Russia. Among the available ones, there are:
- Private visa
- Work visa
- Study visa
- Temporary residence visa.
To obtain one of these documents, you must meet certain conditions:
- Have a paid invitation issued by a company, hotel, territorial agency, federal service, travel agency, but not by a family member
- Have a passport with at least 2 blank pages and a validity of at least 6 months at the date of the requested visa
- Have a certificate of negative HIV test
- Have medical insurance from a company approved in Russia and respect the norms decreed by the authorities.
Upon arrival in Russia, it is mandatory to fill out an immigration card that will be returned upon exit from the country.
It is forbidden to enter Russia through the Belarusian border by any other way than by plane, and it will not be possible to obtain an immigration card by this way.
Working in Russia as a Foreigner
Getting a Work Permit Takes Time
Obtaining a visa to work in Russia requires a good dose of organization and patience. But also a promise of employment before departure.
Indeed, a work visa is only issued if you have previously obtained a work permit. To do so, you must obtain an invitation from a company, which will be sent to the authorities and costs about 1000 euros.
The application for a work permit must be submitted before May 1st of the year preceding the hiring. All the documents to be provided must be translated into Russian, and obtaining the permit can take up to 90 days. Be careful and plan everything in advance.
Once the invitation and the work permit are obtained, it is possible to apply for a work visa to expatriate in Russia. This visa is valid for one to three years, depending on the profile, and the level of qualification of the employee.
Qualified Profiles Have More Chances of Finding Expat Jobs in Russia
Quotas are applied for the recruitment of expatriates. But these do not concern IT experts or executive profiles. Working in Russia as a foreigner is way easier when you belong to one of these groups.
It is therefore sometimes necessary to be patient to find a job. And to master at least part of the Russian language. Unless you are looking for a position in finance or engineering and have a very good degree.
Qualified profiles are the most sought-after among expatriate candidates in Russia. The country also welcomes entrepreneurs, provided that they can deposit a minimum capital at the opening of their company.
Which City Does Offer More Opportunities: St Petersburg or Moscow?
Going to Moscow may seem the most logical choice when deciding to move to Russia. As the country’s capital, the city offers opportunities in the financial, IT, and commercial sectors. And it’s home to many large international groups.
However, Moscow is also the most expensive city in the country, and one of the most expensive capitals in the world. Therefore, it is better to have a good salary to be comfortable there.
Many foreigners prefer to try their luck in St. Petersburg, where the cost of living is a little lower. It is particularly dynamic for the communications and industrial sectors, as well as the aeronautics industry.
Many expat jobs in Russia are to cover positions here.
Medical Insurance in Russia for Foreigners
The Russian Health Care System
The Russian health care system is far from European standards. There is a compulsory insurance scheme offering free care for everybody in the public sector. But the services provided and their quality are insufficient.
In fact, it is extremely complicated to get proper care in the public sector, which lacks means, personnel, and equipment. This creates the need of seeking treatment in the private sector, which offers a good quality of care, but at much higher rates.
International Health Insurance in Russia Is the Best Option
Taking medical insurance in Russia for foreigners is not an option. It’s a legal requirement if you want to get a visa.
Since it’s something mandatory, you should look for the option that offers better coverage for your specific needs. The “First Euro” policies are the most popular international health insurance for Russia.
They offer very satisfactory coverage and reimbursements. And they guarantee an excellent level of care in private institutions.
They cover expenses that are essential for any expatriation (routine care, hospitalization, and repatriation) and generally offer additional services.
To compare offers and find the most suitable one according to your needs and budget in a very diversified market, the easiest solution is to use an online insurance comparator.
It will allow you to quickly receive free quotes and detailed offers selected to meet your situation.