Russia: Changes to medical checkup requirements and rules of visa-free stay
Please be informed of the changes to the rules of obligatory medical checkups as well as changes to the rules of visa-free stay in Russia.
Which laws introduce the changes?
- Federal Law No. 357-FZ of 14.07.2022 "On Amendments to the Federal Law "On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation" and Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation"
What are the key changes?
1. Medical checkup requirements have been adjusted for those foreign nationals who have passed such checkup earlier:
▸ “Initial” medical checkup upon entry into Russia (with work purposes or for a period above 90 days) must be passed if more than 1 year have passed after the date of the previous checkup (previously – if there were no valid medical certificates), as of the date of such entry.
▸ Repeated medical checkup for foreign nationals who have arrived in Russia must be attended within 30 days after 1 year have passed from the date of the previous checkup (previously – after the medical certificates have expired)
Exception: HQS employees must pass a repeated checkup within 30 days from the date of the formal decision to renew their work permits instead.
Frequency of medical checkups basically remains the same for most categories of foreign nationals (1 checkup per year on average) but it is no longer tied to the validity period of medical certificates.
In our estimation, the requirement for HQS employees to pass repeated checkups only upon renewal of their work permits will not necessarily waive checkup requirements for 3 years for all HQS. The deadline for another checkup will depend on the requested period of their work permit validity. Besides, HQS who are frequent travellers will be required to pass the “initial” medical checkup as soon as they enter Russia after the expiry of the 1-year term from the date of their previous checkup.
2. Foreign nationals who have arrived in Russia before 29 December 2021 and have not passed their medical checkup and fingerprinting yet, must do so within 180 days from the date of the new law’s entry into force – that is, until 9 January 2023.
The requirement to pass repeated checkups now applies to them as well.
Previously, persons who have arrived in Russia before entry of the law No. 274-FZ (on obligatory medical checkups and fingerprinting) into force, were completely unaffected by its requirements.
3. Foreign nationals no longer need to present medical certificates when attending the fingerprinting procedure.
NB! Such requirement may persist in practice, therefore we recommend passing the procedures in the usual way (pass medical checkup first, then visit the migration office to submit the medical certificates and pass the fingerprinting procedure at one time).
4. Visa-exempt nationals who have arrived in Russia with non-working purposes may now change their purpose of entry to “work” without the need to exit the country.
The change of the purpose of entry is registered by the authorities “automatically” in the following cases:
✔ Upon issue of a work patent (for those who require such a patent to work in Russia)
✔ Upon submitting a notification of signing a labour or services contract (for those who are exempted from work permits and patents in Russia).
The law does not regulate the procedure of changing the purpose of entry in connection with obtaining HQS work permits, therefore visa-exempt applicants for HQS status may not be able to perform such change in practice. Also, the law does not provide for the possibility of amending the purpose of entry on the migration cards.
5. A foreign national who changes the purpose of entry as mentioned above must pass the medical checkup and fingerprinting procedures when applying for a patent (if one is required) or within 30 days from the date of signing a labour or services contract (but in either case within 90 days after arrival in Russia).
Those who have already passed fingerprinting or have passed medical checkup within 1 year prior to their entry into Russia do not need to pass these procedures accordingly.
6. Underage children of patent-holders may now extend the allowed period of their stay in Russia for the validity period of their parent’s work patent.
Who is affected by the changes?
Foreign nationals arriving in Russia for the purpose of work or for a period above 90 days.