Migration Regulations Surrounding the Olympic Games in 2014

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It is well known that migration regulation in Russia is strict and quite complex for foreigners coming to Russia and their inviting parties and employers. At the same time there are several exceptions for individuals organizing and participating in the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2014 in Sochi.

First of all, foreign citizens coming to the Russian Federation to participate in the Olympic and Paralympic Games or to assist with the organization and holding of the Olympic and Paralympic Games need to obtain a special type of visa -- a basic humanitarian visa, indicating sport relations as the goal of the travel. This type of visa is issued as a one or two-entry visa for three months or as a multiple-entry visa for 12 months. Foreigners coming to Russia under basic humanitarian visas may stay a maximum of 90 days for every 180-day period.

Different rules are established for foreigners who will be employed in Russia related to the organization of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2014 or related to participation in the Games, depending on whether a foreigner has an Olympic identification document (ID) and accreditation.

Foreigners with Olympic IDs and accreditation are able to work in Russia without obtaining work permits throughout the period of the organization and holding of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Foreigners who do not have Olympic IDs and accreditation and plan to conclude employment agreements or civil contracts with the Sochi 2014 Organizational Committee must obtain work permits to work in Russia. At the same time, the procedure for obtaining a work permit in this case is far easier than the regular work permit process, provided that two key criteria are met -- the employment agreement or civil contract is concluded directly between the foreigner and the Sochi-2014 Organizational Committee and the work is performed for the organization and holding of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The simplified procedure for obtaining a work permit assumes that the Organizational Committee will apply in its capacity as employer to the Federal Migration Service, submitting the basic set of documents required for this purpose. The Federal Migration Service must consider an application within five business days. Furthermore, work permits for the employees of the Organizational Committee are issued without regard to the established quota for the issue of work permits.

Please note that the Sochi-2014 Organizational Committee was exempted from the requirement to obtain a permit to employ foreign citizens and from the requirement to provide notices on the employment of foreign citizens to authorized bodies. This exception applies when foreigners are employed throughout the organization and holding of the Olympic and Paralympic Games only.

The migration registration of foreign citizens arriving in Russia is another key issue. According to general rules, all foreign citizens coming to the Russian Federation must inform the local department of the Federal Migration Service on their arrival (in other words, submit notification on arrival) within three days of arrival. At the same time, foreign citizens participating in the organization and holding of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, as well as participants in the Games, are not required to submit notices on their arrival in the Russian Federation if they hold Olympic IDs and accreditation.

As migration registration was introduced to gather information on all foreign citizens coming to Russia, in this case essential information such as ID and visa details, name, gender, and citizenship about visiting foreigners will be submitted to the migration service directly by the Sochi-2014 Organizational Committee five days prior to the arrival of a foreigner in the Russian Federation.