The short answer is yes, you can. You need to apply for a residence permit, but in November 2019, the Russian government eased policies making it much easier for non-citizen parents of a Russian child to apply for indefinite residence permits.

One of the main changes, which the new laws implement, is that foreign nationals with a Russian citizen child (regardless of age) can apply for a residence permit skipping the old temporary and permanent residence permit routes. As of November 1, 2019, residence permits are issued for an indefinite period instead of 5 years as it was before November 1, 2019.

The most welcome change to Russian immigration law is that parents of a Russian child are no longer required to pass tests on the Russian language, history, and law. Russian is a notoriously difficult language and this was a major barrier for many expats living in Russia with their families. In addition to the removal of the language requirements, the processing time for residence permits for parents of Russian citizens is now 4 months instead of 6 months.

In order to apply for a Russian residence permit on the basis of your Russian child, the following documents must be submitted to the immigration authorities. We have included practical recommendations where relevant.

  1. Notarized translation of every page in your passport
    Yes, every single page must be translated, not only the bio page. Translators that deal with immigration-related legal translations know how to translate everything required by the immigration authorities. It is very important to have the translation done correctly as this is the first document immigration authorities will check. Immigration authorities will deny your application if this requirement is not done correctly.
  2. Migration card
  3. Migration registration
    You must provide registration even if you have an HQS work permit and visa, which grants the right not to register for periods of less than 90 days. It is also important that the registration is properly entered into the immigration database, therefore, we advise registering at a Multifunction Center – MFC (Moi Dokumenty) instead of at the post office. It usually takes about 5 days from the date you register for the information to appear in the immigration authorities’ database.
  4. Criminal record background check from your home country with apostille
    The criminal record background check is valid for 3 months from the date of issue, not from the date of the apostille. The name on the criminal record background check must be written exactly as it is in your passport. There are certain peculiarities, which depend on the issuing country as well, for example, French citizens have commas between given names in their passport and it is essential that your criminal record background check also has commas between your given names. Very often, due to the automated issuance of criminal record background checks, commas are missing on the document. We advise obtaining a document from the French embassy confirming that both spellings are correct. Another example applicable to many Arabic countries – it is not clear from the passport which name is which, i.e., the first, middle, and last name of the foreign citizen. In this case, you need to obtain a document from your country’s embassy in Russia outlining which name is which, as the criminal record background check often doesn’t clearly indicate first name and last name. All logos, holograms, stamps, including almost invisible ones, must be translated.
  5. Documents Confirming Financial Stability
    The most common financial document submitted is a Russian tax form called a 2-NDFL certificate, which your employer would provide. A 2-NDFL certificate has information on your monthly salary. Alternatively, you could provide a bank statement. With the 2-NDFL certificate, again, it is important that your name is written exactly as it is in the translation of your passport. It is also important that the citizenship code (3 numbers that nobody pays attention to, but immigration authorities do) is correct. If you chose to submit a bank statement, it shouldn’t be just a balance from any account in the bank, it must be a full statement of a deposit account with a minimum balance of 140,000 rubles.
  6. Your child’s birth certificate
    A baby born in Russia where one of the parents is a foreign citizen does not automatically acquire Russian citizenship by birth. The Russian parent must submit a formal request for citizenship to the Russian authorities for the baby to be recognized as a Russian citizen. Russian citizenship, in this case, is confirmed by a stamp on the back of the birth certificate that can be obtained at a Multifunction Center – MFC (Moi Dokumenty).

    If the baby was born abroad, the birth certificate must have a stamp from the Russian Embassy on the back confirming that the baby has Russian citizenship. You will need to have an apostille with the birth certificate from the jurisdiction where the baby was born. Alternatively, if the baby has a Russian international travel passport, this can be used as proof of Russian citizenship instead of a birth certificate.
  7. Form 8 (If the child is younger than 14)
    Form 8 is a document that has information on the child’s permanent registration at their place of actual residency. Form 8 can be obtained at a Multifunction Center or MFC (Moi Dokumenty).
  8. Medical certificates from a Russian clinic
  9. State fee of 5000 rubles
  10. 4 photos sized 3.5×4.5 cm on matte paper
  11. Application form

The residence permit application process at the immigration office in Sakharovo can be quite challenging as officials will, unfortunately, try to reject your application for any formal grounds they can, and there are hundreds of grounds for denial of an application. 

The process starts with you making an appointment to formally submit your documents, which can be done in-person in Sakharovo. As of 2020, It is possible to make an appointment online, but the system is still being tested and it takes up to 10 days to receive a reply for your appointment date. If you are making an appointment in-person, you must provide all of the documents, which will be formally submitted in order to make an appointment in-person. Currently, due to Russian government COVID-19 response initiatives, you can only make an appointment online here.

You can only make an appointment for the next 3 days, for example, if you came on Monday you can make an appointment only for timeslots on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Fortunately, you can be up to two hours late for your appointment. Usually, there are 30-40 people that have a scheduled appointment for each timeslot.

The application process consists of 3 stages, all done in the same hall.

  1. Once your number is called, you will go up to the window to submit all of your documents to the MFC officials at the window. Their job is to check the documents and find any inconsistencies or mistakes. The check is very thorough. If there are mistakes on your application form and you have the application on a USB, you might be allowed to make corrections to the application form on the spot and print it out, provided there are no mistakes with the other supporting documents. If they find a mistake in the translations or any other documents apart from the application, your documents will be returned, and you will have to reapply to submit your documents again.
  2. If your documents are approved by the MFC officials, immigration officials will then inspect the documents. The immigration officials will either find a mistake and deny your application or confirm that everything is in order and request you to pass to the third stage, which is fingerprinting.
  3. Fingerprinting is done in the same area and takes around 15 minutes. Once you are finished,  you will receive a document confirming that your application has been accepted.

Usually, it takes from 2 to 5 hours to successfully submit all of your documents, but this depends on the number of people applying that day.

After you have submitted your application and it is approved, you can check when your residence permit is ready at the immigration center using the residence permit readiness tool on their website. Once it is ready, you can pick it up in person at the Sakharovo.  

It is entirely possible to apply for a residence permit on your own, but understand that it is not an easy process. Unfortunately, as we mentioned above, immigration officers are looking for every opportunity to deny your application. Therefore, if you are interested in speaking to a verified lawyer, feel free to reach out to Timur at Vista Immigration (his details are below) or write to contact@expatriant.com. We would be more than happy to provide you with a brief initial consultation and a price quote to get your residence permit.

For information on all of the legal means to stay in Russia, check out our Ultimate Guide to Legal Residence in Russia

Timur Beslangurov, Managing Partner, specializes in civil, corporate and migration law. Timur has extensive experience in establishing businesses in Russia, including corporate structuring for foreign companies entering the Russian market. He contributes to The American Chamber of Commerce Committees on these issues. Timur acts as a regular speaker at seminars and conferences. He graduated from Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO). He speaks Russian, English, Serbian and Croatian.

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