Excerpted from the Russia Career Guide
Traveling to Russia generally requires a visa; both the person’s nationality/citizenship and the passport held determine whether or not one must apply for a visa. The Russian government maintains a restrictive and complicated visa system for foreigners who visit, travel to or reside in the Russian Federation. Currently, citizens of the majority of countries, including the US, Canada, China, India, Japan and Korea, as well as all Latin American and European Union countries, are required to obtain visas to enter Russia.
Foreign nationals who want to travel to Russia must have a Russian-based sponsor, which could be a hotel operator, a tour company, a relative, an employer or a university. If a visa is obtained through a travel agency, there should be a Russian legal entity whose name is indicated on the visa and who is considered to be the legal sponsor.
Visas for students are valid for three months and allow only one entry. Once a student has arrived at his/her destination in Russia, the sponsoring school can assist in obtaining an extension for the visa to last the duration of the period of study. The extension process may also include the option of changing the visa to allow multiple entries rather than only a single entry/exit.
A foreign national applying for a visa should check with the diplomatic mission serving his/her country or region to determine the specific required documents, and to ascertain any restrictions on the visa application resulting from the applicant’s nationality and country of application. The applicant’s citizenship and the country in which he/she is applying for the visa may determine the applicable visa fees as well.
A work visa is generally issued for a period of one year. The procedures for obtaining a permit to hire, a work permit and a work visa invitation involve several consecutive steps, and take about four to five months to complete (if the quota for work permits has already been obtained). Additionally, as a precondition for obtaining a permit to hire and a work permit, a company is to annually file an application for a quota for work permits for the following year before May 1. Thus, employment of a foreign national in Russia requires advance planning to allow sufficient time for such procedures.
In order to work legally in Russia, a work visa and a work permit are required. The employer must first receive a permit to hire foreign employees from the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation.
Complying with Laws
In April 2014, the Moscow Center for Labor Exchange set new requirements for employers applying for foreign workers. Now, Russian companies must guarantee medical insurance and accommodations for foreign employees. In addition, quota allocations may be rejected based on various grounds. A quota position may be denied if the Russian employer failed to register; submitted false documents; is in bankruptcy proceedings; could hire local workers to fill the quota positions; does not pay the foreign worker a salary that meets the living standard of the region; or fails to provide medical insurance and accommodations to foreign workers.
This is just a sample of what you'll find in over 100 pages of information in the Russia Guide.