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Moving to Russia from the UK – Do I Need a Visa & Other FAQs

Simon Colwill - February 23, 2021 - 0 comments

Recently, we’ve been receiving many queries about notarising documents for people moving to Russia from the UK. Depending on your immigration status and whether you’re a UK citizen, you may need our help to make the move.

Here are some tips from our notary on what you need to move to Russia, and how to live and work there legally.

Immigration to Russia – what’s the deal?

With its unique architecture, up-and-coming businesses and rich culture, some people living in the UK plan on moving to Russia. Compared to the UK, the cost of living in Russia can be cheaper, and citizens have a free health service.

Russia has stricter visa requirements than other parts of Europe, so it’s best to prepare early if you want to move there.

However, Russian immigration policies are also some of the most liberal in the world. According to Wikipedia, “anyone who works in Russia for five years and develops fluency in the Russian language can become a citizen, provided he or she has not committed a crime.” So if you want to move to Russia from the UK, it could be easier than you think.

A common way to move to Russia is to get a job there after receiving a work permit from a company. To be granted a temporary residency permit, which is valid for 3 years, you will need to have worked in Russia for at least 3 months.

If you own a business and want to move it to Russia, read our blog on business relocation.

Do I need a visa for Russia from the UK?

To move to Russia from the UK, you will need a visa. A Russian visa is supplied by the Russian Federation. All applicants now need to visit a visa application centre in-person, to submit their biometric data (fingerprints).

Getting a Russian visa may take up to 20 business days to process, or 3 days for an urgent service.

Types of Russian visas include:

  • Work visa – for if you wish to be employed in the Russian Federation
  • Highly skilled migrant visa – for if you intend to work as a specialist
  • Student visa – for if you’re planning to study in a Russian university
  • Family of Russian citizens – for spouses and children of Russians

The documents needed for your application process will depend on the type of Russian visa you’re applying for. Documents need to be in English or Russian, and some may need to be notarised depending on your status.

Your passport must also be valid for at least six months after the expiry date of your Russian visa.

When applying for a UK to Russia visa, be prepared to provide personal information as well as documentation. This could include your marital status, work experience, your parents’ details, and nearest visa application centre.

You can apply for a Russian visa here

Please note that a Russian visa is only temporary – you may need to leave Russia and reapply for another visa.

How much does it cost to move to Russia?

Moving to Russia from the UK needs to take into account a variety of costs:

  • The cost of a passport, if you don’t already have one (usually £70)
  • The cost of a Russian visa, which will vary on type (£100-£150)
  • The cost of travel, usually by flight (one-way from less than £100)
  • The cost of renting an apartment or house, plus your utility bills
  • The cost of private healthcare, if you’re not a Russian citizen
  • The cost of car insurance – driving can be more dangerous

Find out more about documents needed for a new passport or renewal

Russia can have a lower cost of living than the UK, and you may be pleasantly surprised at the price of groceries, taxes and petrol. Many end up paying a fraction of what they’d pay in the UK for restaurants, entertainment and childcare.

Obviously, this will depend on where you’re living. Moscow and St Petersburg are still as expensive as any big city.

Is it easier to move to Russia if I’m a UK citizen?

If you’re living in the UK and are already a citizen, you may have an easier time applying for a Russian visa. One of our common requests at MSC Notaries is notarising settled and pre-settled status documentation, for people who are not British citizens and want to move from the UK to Russia. If you need a notary, we can help certify your documents.

Where’s the Russian consulate in London?

The Russian Embassy in London is in Kensington Palace Gardens, near Notting Hill Gate metro station. If you’re applying for a Russian visa from the UK, you may need to go to the Russian Embassy for consular services.

You will need to visit a visa application centre in London, Manchester or Edinburgh to submit your fingerprints.

Any more tips for moving to Russia from the UK?

When you enter Russia as a foreign national, you will need to carry a migration card, alongside other documents.

Russia is a large country, and you may experience some culture shock. For example, attitudes to LGBTQ+ people can be different compared to the UK. Same-sex marriage is not recognised, and gay pride parades are banned in Moscow.

Compared to the UK, driving is also more dangerous – some roads are of poor quality, and accidents are more common due to the colder weather conditions. Moscow weather is relatively mild, but some areas of Russia drop to -30 in winter. Russia spans 9 different time zones, and it has a sturdy transport system including air, train and metro services.

Despite differences, both the UK and Russia place huge value on culture. If you love architecture, theatre and literature, you will have a great time exploring Russia’s many museums and galleries. Do plenty of research before you go!

Russia’s ballet, classical music and writers are still world-beating, as your Russian friends may enjoy telling you.

Compared to some countries, moving to Russia from the UK isn’t as big a cultural jump as you might think. Many young Russian people know and speak English, and the country’s cities have great nightlife, entertainment and drinks.

Other alternative options could include buying property in South Africa, or buying a house in Germany.

How can MSC Notaries help with my move?

MSC Notaries offer a number of services that may be useful for UK residents wanting to move to Russia. These include:

Notary Services – We’re often asked to notarise settled and pre-settled status documents for Russian visas

Apostille & Consular Services – If you need an apostille stamp or legalisation by embassy, we can arrange this too

Document Translation – If your documents aren’t in English or Russian, we have a team of translators on hand

You can save time in your application by asking us to translate, notarise and legalise documents all-in-one.

Got any more questions about moving to Russia from the UK? Get in touch with us.

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