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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

No Need for Expats to Return Home for Visas

Foreigners are not required to obtain Russian visas in their native countries, despite a recent decree that toughened visa rules, the Federal Migration Service said Monday.

The decree, signed by Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov on Oct. 4, contains language suggesting that foreigners must obtain visas in their native country, ending the expat practice of going on a visa run to a neighboring country.

But foreigners will still be able to obtain visas at Russian consulates in third countries, Alexander Aksyonov, director of the agency's visa and registration department, said by e-mail.

The decree restricts the amount of time foreigners can spend in Russia on multiple-entry business visas. Previously, foreigners could use the visas to stay in Russia for a year. Now foreigners can only stay 180 days a year and no longer than 90 consecutive days. Those who wish to stay longer must get a work permit or residency.

Visas will now state the number of days a foreigner is allowed to stay in Russia, Aksyonov said, and authorities will check whether a foreigner exceeded the allotted time when he or she leaves the country. Those who overstay may be fined the first time, while a second violation could result in being denied entry into the country.