The Russian government has amended the original order restricting entry to Russia to permit highly-qualified specialists (HQS) and their family members unlimited entry since 6 February, and also to allow a limited entry period for citizens from the Eurasian Economic Union.
The Russian government has amended the original order restricting entry to Russia to allow certain groups of foreigners to visit Russia. Two recent orders permit highly-qualified specialists (“HQS”) and their family members unlimited entry since 6 February, and allow a limited entry period for citizens from the Eurasian Economic Union.
For prior coverage of the original order (№ 635-r as of 16 March 2020) suspending travel and ceasing work permits and visas, see GMS Flash Alert 2020-154 (6 April 2020).
The loosening of travel and visa restrictions, especially for HQS and their families, should be welcome news for employers with Russia-bound workers. Companies with affected employees can now apply to the Russian authorities to add them and their families to the list of those allowed to enter Russia.
Since 6 February 2021, HQS and their close family members have been allowed unlimited entry into Russia.1 In addition to HQS themselves, this right extends to their spouses, parents (adoptive parents) and children (adopted children).
The application process for accompanying family members remains the same as for the HQS. The employer of the HQS should submit an application form containing the personal details of the HQS and/or family members, including stating the border check-point they will use for entry and the date of entry, to the federal executive body responsible for the sphere in which the employer operates. This should result in such persons being added to the list of those allowed to enter Russia, which is shared with the Federal Security Service and Ministry of Internal Affairs. HQS and their accompanying family members are required to have a valid Russian visa, unless there is a visa-free agreement between their country of citizenship and Russia.
By a separate order dated 26 January 2021,2 citizens of the EAEU member states (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan) are allowed to enter Russia during the period 1 February – 1 March 2021, inclusive. Citizens of these countries may only arrive via one of the listed Russian airports, on a flight from Armenia or Belarus, to be eligible for entry. In addition, the visitor should provide a negative COVID-19 test using the mobile app, "Traveling without COVID-19."
The KPMG International member firm in Russia continues to monitor these matters closely. For advice on this changing situation, please contact your global mobility adviser or qualified immigration counsel, or a member of our team with KPMG in Russia.
1 Order of Russian Government № 258-r as of 6 February 2021.
2 Order of Russian Government № 140-r as of 26 January 2021.
* Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not provide any immigration services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Russia.
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