Starting March 25, 2020, the following categories of foreign citizens and stateless persons can cross the Russian border despite the border block:
- Diplomats and consular workers, other officials;
- Persons with ordinary private visas, issued in connection with the death of their close relative. A death certificate will be required as well as a document confirming the family connection;
- Family members (spouses, parents, children, adoptive parents, adopted children), other caretakers of Russian citizens, entering the Russian Federation, provided they present an ID document, visa, or enter in visa-free mode, plus a document confirming the family connection; that is, foreign citizens will be able to cross the Russian border if they are traveling with their family members who are Russian citizens;
- Foreign citizens who have permanent residence permits in Russia; and
- Persons transit-traveling through air border checkpoints in Russia without crossing the Russian border.
The official letter, № 1/2964, “On additional measures for prevention of coronavirus infection (2019-nCoV),” was sent to the field on March 19, 2020. According to the letter, territorial divisions of the Internal Affairs Ministry are ordered to:
- On the application of foreign nationals who entered Russia based on visas, extend their existing visas for up to 90 days regardless of the purpose of visit and visa type. In cases where the visa has expired, the foreigner’s stay will be extended for up to 90 days based on the person’s written application. Subsequently, they will be issued transit visas to exit the country;
- On the application of foreign citizens who entered Russia without visas or based on international agreements on short-term visa-free travel, as well as in cases where the allowed period of stay has expired, extend the foreigner’s period of temporary stay in Russia for up to 90 days based on the person’s written application. Subsequently, they will be issued transit visas to exit the country;
- In cases where visa or non-visa foreigners lack migration cards, process duplicates along with their address registration applications (without an extended or even a valid visa);
- Allow those who wish to exit Russia to receive an exit visa;
- Not apply administrative punishments to these people related to deportation, administrative removal, or readmission for migration law violations.
Foreign citizens whose stay in Russia will be extended will be photographed and fingerprinted.
If Internal Affairs Ministry officials identify foreigners who are in Russia illegally, they will be told that they must legalize their status and will be given appropriate information on how to do it. Administrative sanctions will not be applied.
The official letter also orders territorial divisions of the Internal Affairs Ministry to:
- Continue accepting, processing, and issuing the following types of migration documents for foreigners who are staying in Russia at the moment:
- Corporate Work Permits;
- Work Permits;
- Patents (without the need to cross the Russian border in case a 2-year stay period is over, without any administrative sanctions);
- Temporary Residence Permit (TRP) and Permanent Residence Permit (PRP):
If these documents expire or are close to expiration, extend the applicant’s stay in Russia for up to 90 days based on the foreigner’s application. Issuance of PRPs (extended) will be done irrespective of the existing PRP expiration date as well as in cases where the PRP has already expired;
Work permits, TRP, PRP, and certificates of participants in state programs for the return of compatriots to Russia, will not be annulled even after the expiration of the 6-month term of a person’s stay abroad if the document holder cannot enter Russia.
Details of procedures described above, processing times, and lists of the required documents will be soon confirmed with the Internal Affairs Ministry Migration Department.