New regulations in force since November 1, 2019, simplify the procedure for foreign citizens wishing to obtain a temporary residence permit or a residence permit in Russia. What are the amendments set to achieve and how will they make lives of foreigners easier?
New amendments to the Federal Law On Legal Status of Foreign Nationals in the Russian Federation relax the procedure of applying for a temporary residence permit or a residence permit. From now on, Russian residence permits will be indefinite for all eligible applicants except for skilled workers and their dependents whose status will be valid for the term of their work permits.
Until now, all expatriates without exception were granted five-year residence permits that could be extended unlimited number of times. A foreign citizen had to apply to a local branch of the Federal Migration Service. According to the new rules, residence permits will be issued indefinitely and foreigners will be spared the trouble of renewing their permits in time in order to remain in our country legally.
Most likely, the legislative changes were initiated by lawmakers in order to reduce the number of foreigners for whom obtaining a residence permit was the only way of staying in Russia indefinitely without applying for citizenship.
The revised Federal Law No. 115-FZ On Legal Status of Foreign Nationals in the Russian Federation specifies the cases when an indefinite residence permit must be renewed – for example, upon reaching a certain age (14, 20 and 45). Judging from these age limits (which are, by the way, the same as those for obtaining and renewing national passports), it may be assumed that a substantial number of foreigners will be able to remain in Russia in the same legal status without applying for citizenship. The current changes indicate the government’s intention not to increase the number of Russian citizens who do not plan to live in Russia in the long term.
Previously, the residence permit renewal fee was RUR 3.5K ($55). Now that there is no need to extend permits as often, the Russian budget will not receive this revenue. In order to minimize the losses, the lawmakers amended Article 333.28 of the Tax Code to increase the indefinite residence permit application fee to RUR 5K ($79). These changes were authorized by Federal Law No. 258-FZ On Amendments to Part 2 Article 333.28 of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation dated August 2, 2019, and take effect on November 1, 2019, concurrently with the amendments to the legal status law.
As before, residence permit holders will have to file a regular confirmation of their residency in Russia. The Federal Law No. 257-FZ of August 2, 2019, introduced an obligation for residents to file the confirmation once every five years of their permanent residency in Russia. Unlike previous notices that could be mailed, the newly regulated confirmations must be submitted only in person at a local migration department of the Russian Interior Ministry. This rule is supposed prevent fraud. The amendments also clearly specify the confirmation deadlines that were not regulated before.
The changes concerning indefinite residence permits for foreign citizens appear to be reasonable considering the current immigration policy as they are to change the structure and composition of new Russian citizens.
By Dmitry Mikhailov,Lawyer at the European Legal Service