Russia To Offer Permanent Residence Visas To Foreigners For US$130,000

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Foreign nationals are being made more welcome to live and work in Russia with the Russian Economic Ministry planning to introduce a golden visa scheme, offering foreigners a permanent residency permit in exchange for investing in the Russian economy. Draft legislation drawn up by the Economic Ministry seeks to attract foreign investors by offering residency rights for investments.

Russian permanent residency permit holders have similar rights to Russian citizens, with the exception of full voting rights or being conscripted for military service. Permanent residents are taxed at the same level as Russian citizens — which can be significantly lower than for foreigners in their home country. Russia’s current individual income tax rate is 13%.

Individual Income Tax Rate Comparisons Between Russia, Its Neighbours and Major Trade Partners
Country Rate (%)
Russia 13
Estonia 20
Finland 0 – 31.25
Norway 22
Sweden 22.4
Germany 0-45
Poland 17-32
Latvia 23
Lithuania 20
China 3-45

Resident visa holders can also enter and leave Russia without a visa, use Russia’s visa-free schemes with other countries, work without the need for a work permit, access social services and start businesses and buy property with less bureaucracy.

There are several mechanisms available to acquire PR in Russia:

  • Open a business in Russia as an individual entrepreneur, investing 10 million rubles (U$130,000) business and hiring 10 Russians.
  • Establish a company in Russia by investing at least 15 million rubles (US$150,000) in its capital.
  • Establish a Foreign owned company in Russia by investing 50 million rubles. (US$659,000) These businesses must operate for at least three years.
  • Invest 15 million rubles (US$150,000) in a Russian business (not necessarily becoming its shareholder). The company, however, must also exist for at least three years, pay at least 6 million rubles in taxes and employ at least 25 people.
  • Own Russian government bonds or real estate worth 30 million rubles (US$390,000) for three years before applying for a residence permit.
  • Applicants also need to pass a Russian language test.

Russia is being increasingly active in offering incentives. These include investments in the Russian Arctic, which reduce taxes still lower, allow duty free imports and even free land use rights. Our article Why Investors Should Be Looking To The Russian Arctic For Opportunities explains this. A combination of Russian residency coupled with developing business in Russia’s border areas near Norway, and Finland in the Arctic and with Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland in the EU, or with China and Mongolia in Asia may well prove attractive.

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