Blog by Olga Gulina


Russia Adopts New Policy toward Domestic and Foreign Migrants


In last decades Russian migration policy could be described with a sentence: “two steps forward, one step back”. Russia has proven to be a country with very strict, but on the same way, unclear immigration rules and its application. Incomparable to western nations, newcomers in Russia, especially from CIS-countries, never have been treated as “state institutions” clients; they have been and are “victims” of circumstances and of the holes of immigration law. This survey examines in detail two of the most important Russian Migration law measures adopted in December, 2013, namely changed the migration registration policy and condition for migrants working and living on the territory of Russian Federation.



  1. 90 / 180 Days Rule.

    The Federal Law Nr 376-FZ formalizes the rule “90 days out of 180” by amending the Art. 27 Law 114-FZ “On the Procedure for Exiting and Entering the Russian Federation” and Art. 5 of Law 115-FZ “On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation”.[1]

    According to those amendments, foreigners from visa-free countries without working permit, permit for temporary residence or working patent could technically stay only “90 days in and 90 days out” over the 180 days in Russia. There is no limitation for the number of times person may enter Russia if the total number of days person stayed on its territory does not exceed 90 days. Previous regulation states that person entering Russia from visa-free country stays 90 days and after 90 days should leave the territory of the Russian Federation. It was a quit common praxis when person leaves the country for a day after 90 days-residence in Russia and due to one day out of the Russian territory could extend the legal residence in the country. After January, 2014 the violation of the “90 out of 180 days rule” led to the legal consequences such as a fine with or without deportation or refusal of entry into Russia within three years (Art. 27.1.12 Law 114-FZ).

    The beginning of 2014 turns the new chapter of migration regulation, in particular toward the migrants from the CIS-countries. Many migrants get confused and many don´t even know about 90 out of 180 days rule. In fact passport holders of the CIS-countries, in particular Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan etc., enjoy visa free travel to Russia, but most importantly, since January 1, 2014 man should keep in mind that man is allowed to stay only 90 days out of 180 days on the territory of Russia.

    Additionally a foreign citizen or a stateless person shall be refused a permission to enter in the Russian Federation if a foreign national repeatedly (two or more times) within three years carried out the administrative responsibility in accordance Code on Administrative Offences (Art. 27.1.4 Law 114-FZ); if a foreign national or stateless person repeatedly (two or more times) within three years carried out the administrative responsibility (Art. 27.1.11 Law 114-FZ). It is important to note that a traffic rule´s violation, a violation of public order may be subjects for an administrative offense and following prohibition for entering in the Russian Federation.


    Rubber Apartments Law

    Federal Law 376-FZ of 2013 amends the Federal Law 109-FZ “On Migration Registration of Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons in the Russian Federation”, Criminal Code and Code on Administrative Offences defining a term “fictitious registration” and categorizing a penalty for it. According Law the “fictitious registration” is


  • an act by one who apply with false documents, false or misleading information

  • an act by one who does not proposal to stay or live at the apartment on which he/she applies for registration at

  • an act by one who is in charge for the apartment in which person registries at, in case when this registration of foreign person is a false  and not a real one.


    All restrictions by the registration on the territory of Russia were removed by adopting of Housing Code[2] in December 22, 2004. The «Rubber Apartments Law» came into force on January 1, 2014. After more than 20 years of passing USSR´ Constitutional Review Committee Decision[3] of 1991 that partly cancel in January 1, 1992 the rules on registration and adopting of Law «On the Right of Citizens of the Russian Federation on Free Movement and Choice of their Place of Residence and Stay»[4] in 1993, Russian lawmakers went on the Soviet way for struggling with fictitious registration.

    Honestly it was an issue to expect. At the end of 2010 President Putin makes the common practice of the “rubber apartments” for foreign migrants as a hard discussion´s point and calls to the authorities to struggle with. …”In the previous time we had the Art. 196 that forbid any violation of the passport regime.. We´ve cancelled it. It was a decision made by Constitutional Court…In this case, regional enforcements will create a liability… of those persons who will be relocated or expelled from one administrative center of the their living to the places they came from”.[5]

    The Law 376-FZ proposes the liability for fictitious registration of both foreign and Russian residents, but the Code of Administrative Offences differs the liabilities by legal status (foreign or Russian nationals, natural or juridical person, owner or tenant of the apartment); by territory of offences (Moscow, Moscow oblast, St. Petersburg, Leningrad oblast and other territories of Russian Federation). 

    Art. 19.15.1 (Residence of a citizen of the Russian Federation without registration) and by Art.19.15.2 (Violation on the registration´ rules made by a citizen of the Russian Federation at the place of stay or residence) propose that fictitious registration will be punishable by a fine


  • from 2000 Rub to 5000 Rub for tenants and apartments´ residents (from 3000 Rub. to 5000 Rub for offences take place in Moscow, Moscow oblast, St. Petersburg, Leningrad oblast);

  • from 2000 Rub to 5000 Rub for apartments´ owner (from 5000 Rub. to 7000 Rub for offences take place in Moscow, Moscow oblast, St. Petersburg, Leningrad oblast);

  • from 250.000 Rub to 750.000 Rub for juridical person (from 300000 Rub. to 800000 Rub for offences take place in Moscow, Moscow oblast, St. Petersburg, Leningrad oblast).


    Art 322.2 Criminal Code tells: Fictitious registration of the citizen of the Russian Federation at their place of stay or residence on the territory of the Russian Federation, as well as the fictitious registration of a foreign citizen or stateless person on the territory of the Russian Federation, is to be punished by a fine from 100.000 Rub to 500.000 Rub or in the amount of wages or other income of the convicted person for a period up to three years, or compulsory labour for a term up to three years with deprivation of the right to occupy certain positions or engage in certain activities for a term up to three years or without it, or incarceration for a term up to a 3 year with deprivation of the right to occupy certain positions or engage in certain activities for a term up to three years or without it.


    Federal Law Nr 376-FZ “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation”  signed by Russian President in December 2013 change the Migration and Tax Law, Administrative and Criminal Code. Such legal revision carried out a new effect on the issues related to the work and residency permits to the foreign migrant workers and to the registration regulation towards foreign and domestic migrants on the territory of Russian Federation.


    The Law 376-FZ turns to the awful law enforcement practices in contrary to the statement of the director of the Federal Migration Service Konstantin Romodanovskij who told that this Law is not aiming to hunt the “unregistered Russians”. The enforcements at the local offices of the FMS and Ministry of Internal Affairs are in charge to inspect both together and independently such cases of the registration´ violation. The neighbors’ claim on unlimited or unknown inhabitants at the apartment could be a signal for a criminal or administrative offences that should be investigate by law enforcement agencies. Doubtless, this proposition significantly increases the ability of law enforcement agencies. Mass media already reports about hundreds cases in the Russian regions when the uchastkovyi[6] goes from door to door, checks the registration of the apartment’s inhabitants and threaten fines.


[1] Federal'nyy zakon Rossiyskoy Federatsii ot 21 dekabrya 2013 goda N 376-FZ "O vnesenii izmeneniy v otdel'nyye zakonodatel'nyye akty Rossiyskoy Federatsii“, in:

[2] Zakon RF ot 29 dekabrya 2004 goda N 188-FZ Zhilishchnyy kodeks Rossiyskoy Federatsii, in: Rossisksya gazeta, 12 dekabrya 2005 goda,

[3] Zaklyucheniye Komiteta konstitutsionnogo nadzora SSSR ot 26 oktyabrya 1990 goda N 11 (2-1)"O zakonodatel'stve po voprosam propiski grazhdan", in:

[4] Zakon RF ot 25 iyunya 1993 goda N 5242-I "O prave grazhdan Rossiĭskoĭ Federatsii na svobodu peredvizheniya, vybor mesta prebyvaniya i zhitel’stva v predelakh Rossiĭskoĭ Federatsii", in:

[5] Official record of the joint session of the State Council and the Commission on the Implementation of Priority National Projects and Demographic Policy in Russian Federation, November 27, 2010 , in:

[6] The uchastkovyy is a domestic officer working at the front lines of Russian police field work.


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