How to Immigrate to Russia

Immigrating to Russia is becoming more popular not only from post-Soviet states, but also from the United States, Canada, Britain, the European Union, Australia and other countries and regions for a number of reasons.
Below we will outline different options of how to get Russian residency (a green card) and Russian citizenship.

Standard procedure

Immigrating to Russia is a three-step process: first an immigrant has to apply for temporary residency; in one year he/she is eligible for permanent residency; in five years an immigrant can apply for Russian citizenship.
Residency allows to live and work in Russia. To get a Russian temporary residence permit (a green card) an applicant needs:
  1. To pass a Russian language test. It is not really difficult, but requires some basic knowledge. Applicants below 18, over 60 (female) / 65 (male) and some other categories are exempt from the test.  
  2. To get a residency quota. The number of permits is limited, and the more connections with Russia an applicant has (job, business, property, relatives), the higher chances for the quota he/she has. Some applicants are eligible for applying without getting the quota. 
  3. To pass a medical examination and submit an application with the supporting paperwork to the local immigration departmen
Permanent residency and citizenship application procedures are similar, but unlike temporary residency applicants don't have to get the residency quota.

Simplified procedure

Some applicants are eligible for a simplified immigration procedure which allows to get Russian citizenship within 1-3 years (instead of 5-7 years under the standard procedure). Some simplified immigration routes allow to skip a language test, a residency quota and a temporary residency step.
The following applicants can count on the simplified immigration:
- applicants who are married to Russian citizens;
- applicants who were born in Russia or who are native Russian language speakers;
- highly qualified specialists;
- Russian universities graduates;
- refugees.
This list is not complete. Eligibility for simplified immigration should be determined in each particular case. Starting from 2021, simplified residency is going to be granted to investors (the bill is currently under review). 

What to start with? Action plan

1. Decide on your immigration strategy. Check if you are eligible for a simplified immigration procedure. Many quailified or well-paid specialists can get Russian citizenship within 1-3 years.
2. Establish a connection with Russia that will help you get the residency quota or prove your right for simplified immigration. Find a job or register a company in Russia, enter a Russian university, purchase a property, marry your Russian boyfriend / girlfriend (of course, if you are in love!).
3. If you are not exempt from a language test, prepare for it. The earlier you start preparations, the better results you will get. Not many people in Russia speak English, and fluent Russian may be required for comfortable living.
4. Prepare the paperwork and complete the immigration steps one-by-one: apply for the residency quota, temporary residency, permanent residency and finally citizenship. If you are eligible for a simplified procedure, you will be lucky to skip some of these steps.
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Persistence and a good strategy are key for successful immigration. Feel free to contact us to get a more detailed consultation on what options will work in your particular case. We will be glad to steer you through the immigration procedures and assist you with the transition process.