About issuing annual multi-entry private visas to foreign citizens who are close relatives of citizens of the Russian Federation
On September 1, 2021, there came into force Clause 3 of Article 1 of the Federal Law of July 1, 2021, No. 270-FZ On Introducing Changes to the Federal Law “On the procedure for the exit from the Russian Federation and the entry to the Russian Federation ”and Article 5 of the Federal Law“ On the legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation, ”which envisages the possibility of issuing multiple-entry visas to close relatives of citizens of the Russian Federation for a period of up to one year with the permitted term of stay in the Russian Federation equal to their entire period of validity and without the need to arrange invitations at the territorial bodies of the Interior Ministry of Russia in order to obtain these visas.
Previously, only single entry and double entry private visas for a period of up to three months could be issued regardless of the degree of relationship, whereas the possibility of issuing multiple-entry private visas for a period of up to one year to foreign citizens was contingent on the principle of reciprocity without any exceptions for the next of kin.
Moreover, according to the general rule, the allowed aggregate term of a foreign citizen’s stay in the Russian Federation under a multiple-entry visa cannot exceed 90 days during each 180-day period. As of September 1, 2021, this limitation is excluded with regard to foreign citizens who are close relatives of citizens of the Russian Federation, and they can stay in the Russian Federation, both in the aggregate and continually, throughout the entire period of validity of their multiple-entry visas.
Under the federal law, the close relatives of citizens of the Russian Federation entitled to receive this visa shall be husbands, wives, parents (adoptive parents), children (adopted children), children’s spouses, blood and half-blood brothers and sisters, grandfathers , grandmothers, and grandchildren.
The grounds for issuing a visa are decided by the head of a diplomatic mission or a consulate of the Russian Federation on issuing a visa to a foreign citizens, which decision is based on a written application by a citizen of the Russian Federation regarding the entry to the Russian Federation of his or her close relative, who is a foreign citizen.
The said application can be submitted by a citizen of the Russian Federation to the Russian Federation’s diplomatic mission or consulate either in person or via an official Russian visa center: no notarisation of the application is required in such cases. The original application notarised by a Russian notary can also be mailed by a Russian Federation citizen to his or her close relative, who is a foreign citizen, or sent by any other method and submitted by a foreign citizen to the Russian Federation’s diplomatic mission or consulate or an official Russian visa center while submitting documents for a visa. The originals or notarized copies of the documents confirming the degree of relationship (marriage or birth certificates, etc.), which shall be returned to the applicant after being copied, and copies of pages of the national or foreign-travel passport of a citizen of the Russian Federation containing his or her identification data should be submitted to the Russian Federation’s diplomatic mission or consulate simultaneously with the application.