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Some “pleasant” points of legal life of a foreigner in Russia…

«The main thing is that foreigners do not leave the Russian border on time…» — K. Romodanovskiy (head of the Federal Migration Service Department (FMS) of Russia)

Migrants in RussiaThe Russian Federation is famous for its illegal migrant’s topic that consists approximately 11 million. According to the official version, this situation slowly grew into a crime-zone, based on the rising of high percentage of unemployed citizens cause by the cheap force labor of the illegal in the country (for more information about conflicts between illegal and legal population see about «Biryulyovo» conflict in Moscow).

Though the FMS administration in its attempt tries to cross to legal track, the system generate a lot of bureaucracy which leads to the illegal stat illegal rather than legal. For example, this is a true story of a foreign citizen that occurred in the international sector of Sheremetyevo Airport on her way back to her homeland.

An Israeli citizen, that moved to Russia in late October 2012. Living between two countries, knew that between Russia and Israel exists a visa-free regime agreement that allows one to stay in one country for 90 days without needing a visa. As stated one need to get out of the country every 90 days in order to stay in the country without a visa, one can leave the country by car, plain, train or ship. However, she decided to apply for a temporary residence permit (RVP). Prior to her arrival a lot of time was spent, in order to study the tangled bureaucracy of the FMS jury office. As a result it was necessary to hand over many different documents, certificates, certified translations, applications, apostille documents and so on. It took about a month and half, than she applied and after another two months she finally got the RVP. Regretfully, though she got all the papers done by the end of April 2013 that included VAT registration and the Pension Fund, something went wrong.

Though she bought two rounds tickets to Israel, travel insurance and other expenses, her vacation was cancelled. When she arrived to the border inspection in Sheremetyevo airport, it turned out that she cannot pass the Russian border, and go to her homeland. It was explained by the Russian border control authorities (leaded by  the head of department, Colonel Michael Babkin), that in addition to the RVP and address registration must also exist a special – exit (!) visa. She was also fines for attempting to illegally cross the Russian border. In other words, having RVP, an address registration in Moscow for three years is not considered legal yet in Russia.

These are some question that arose from this incident to the FMS:

1)     Why did none of the FMS’ staff notice the new holder of the RVP status which requires in traveling outside of Russia?

2)     Why do these issues is not resolved directly at the airport?

3)     Why does this exit visa acquire to take out 20 days, and only in one single place in Moscow (Pokrovka str., 42)?

Returning to the beginning of the article, I want to express my deepest doubt that the administration of the FMS is really interested in the legalization of illegals. Passing all the “charm” of legal life in Russia, I can say quite definitely that be illegal in Russian Federation is much more convenient than to be legal. I also did not understand the additional to RVP status — the residence permit status (i.e. Russian green card) for those who is married to a citizen of Russia. After all, according to the law on citizenship foreigner that married to a Russian citizen is entitled to apply for Russian citizenship after three years. It doesn’t make any sense, because at the same time RVP is given! It turns out that the status of the residence permit (green card) is clearly redundant (by the way, according to the list of required documents, it indeed duplicates the RVP status!). By elementary logic we should leave one or other, but not both!

In Halacha (Jewish law) we used to apply the principle of «Punish the false witnesses as they tried to punish the defendant». Why not, if respected gentlemen, heads of FMS and those who wrote such highly sophisticated and «wit» rules will all legally pass this path by themselves … as it was held by other citizens?

Arkady Baranovsky

Danielle Antebi