Guidance

Living in Russia

Official information British people moving to and living in Russia need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.

Coronavirus

You should follow the advice of the Russian government and your local authority. You can also read our Russia travel advice for our latest guidance.

For information on vaccines abroad, see our COVID-19 travel guidance.

Visas and local registration

See entry requirements in Russia in our travel advice.

Russia has strict visa and migration regulations. When applying for a Russian visa you should make sure that your visa type is consistent with the purpose of your visit. It is the visa holder’s responsibility to check that information in the issued visa is correct. The visa terms must be complied with.

Foreign visitors should register their stay with a local migration department of the Ministry of Interior via their host within seven business days from the date of their arrival in Russia. A breach of migration regulations, including a failure to register, overstaying a visa, an attempt to enter/exit Russia without a valid visa or non-compliance with terms of a visa may result in a court hearing, a fine up to five thousand roubles, subsequent deportation and a possible ban from re-entry for five or ten years.

You should carry your passport, your migration card and your registration certificate with you at all times. Please see our Russia travel advice for more information.

In case of damage or loss of migration card, you may obtain a duplicate card at a local migration department of the Ministry of Interior. The duplicate card is issued free of charge.

British nationals visiting Russia on a private, humanitarian or business visa should leave Russia no later than the last day of their visa validity. British nationals on a work or study visa should leave Russia before their visa has expired or apply with the local authority for visa extension or a temporary residence permit in advance of their visa expiration. British nationals can have a temporary or permanent residence permit to reside in Russia.

Registering with us

If you live in Russia, you do not need to register your stay with the British Embassy Moscow or British Consulate General Ekaterinburg.

We encourage British nationals in Russia to sign up for our Travel Advice e-mail alerts and follow UK in Russia on social media including Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and VKontakte.

Passports and travel

See our Russia travel advice for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.

See moving or retiring abroad

If your UK passport is about to expire, has expired, been lost, stolen or damaged, see overseas British passports applications and get an emergency travel document (sometimes called an emergency passport).

Healthcare

Russia and the UK do not have reciprocal healthcare agreements. Russia has both state and private health care facilities.

You should buy comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you enter Russia.

The NHS has information for people moving abroad.

You should check your prescriptions are legal in Russia. Please see our Russia travel advice for information on bringing medication into Russia.

In Russia emergency medical services, including psychiatric services, from the state and municipal heath care providers are available to foreign nationals free of charge in case of an immediate threat to a patient’s life. Most state healthcare providers do not speak English.

If there is a medical emergency, you should call 112 (for all emergencies), or 103 for medical emergency services (Moscow). Your call can still be completed even if you have no credit on your phone, or your SIM-card is blocked or missing. Please note that the operators may not speak English and assistance from a Russian speaker may be required.

Clinics adhering to Western standards and staffed by English-speaking personnel are available in Moscow and St Petersburg. Please check our list of medical facilities in Russia for details. For routine appointments, check-ups and treatment, you need to have state or private health insurance or pay the service provider. If you are employed in Russia, your state or private health cover may be arranged by your employer.

British nationals, who have a temporary or permanent Russian residence permit, or acceded to Russian nationality, are entitled to state health insurance and state-funded healthcare services.

Residing and working in Russia

British nationals can work in Russia if they have work visa/permit, study visa (during school breaks only), temporary or permanent residence permit.

When applying for a resident or work permit, you may require a UK criminal records check (known as a DBS check).

British Embassy Moscow, or British Consulate General Ekaterinburg have no authority to conduct criminal record checks or issue respective certificates.

You may need to get your UK no criminal record certificate legalised before you present it to Russian authorities.

If you require a no criminal record certificate from the Russian authorities, you need to contact the Information Center of the Russian Ministry of Interior in your region. You can also request this service through the State Services portal or by visiting one of the State Services Centers in your region.

For information on legal procedures and requirements in regard to foreign specialists working in Russia please refer to the official website of the Russian Ministry of Interior

Studying in Russia

British nationals can study in Russia. Many prominent universities in Russia have foreigners as their students. Some universities offer classes in the English language. Normally, British nationals coming to Russia to study should pay for these services.

British nationals with permanent residence permit and those acceded to Russian nationality have a right to free primary, secondary and vocational education in Russia. They can access university education in Russia free of charge if they have passed the required tests.

Money and tax

See tax if you leave the UK to live abroad and tax on your UK income if you live abroad

A UK-Russia bilateral convention on avoidance of double taxation and tax evasion has been in place since 1998.

For information on taxes you may have to pay in Russia please visit the official site of the Russian State Tax Service. Your tax rate depends on your taxation status in Russia. If a British national resides in Russia for at least 183 days per year, they become a ‘tax resident’ in Russia. Tax residents enjoy lower tax rates (30% income tax for ‘non-residents’, and 13-15% - for ‘residents’) and entitled to taxation benefits for real estate purchase, medical treatment and education in Russia, but they are also liable to pay taxes on their income received outside of Russia. See the State Tax Inspection website for further details and applying for tax resident status.

British nationals can open a bank account in Russia. All banks in Russia, including branches and subsidiaries of international banks, are Russian legal entities governed by Russian domestic law.

We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax, opening a bank account and investing money in Russia.

National Insurance

You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

Pensions

If you retire in Russia, you can claim:

Life certificates for UK state pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service you need to respond as soon as possible – your payments may be suspended if you don’t.

Benefits

You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad

The UK has no social security agreements with Russia.

Check which benefits you can claim while abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as pension credit and housing benefit cannot be paid to you if you are abroad for more than 4 weeks.

British nationals with permanent residence permit are entitled to Russian state pension if they have lived in Russia for 15 years or more and reached the age of 70 years for men and 65 years for women. They can also claim disability or loss of subsistence provider and apply for the respective pension. Please contact your local department of the Russian State Pension Fund to apply.

Driving in Russia

See driving abroad

See taking a vehicle out of the UK

See our Travel Advice for general information on driving in Russia.

You can apply for a temporary international driving permit while in the UK or exchange your UK license. In Russia, please contact the State Road Safety Management Inspection in your region for exchanging your license or applying for Russian license.

Voting

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

Births, deaths and getting married in Russia

British Embassy Moscow and British Consulate General Ekaterinburg do not register birth or death of British nationals. This should be done by a local marriage, birth and death registrar (ZAGS) in your region. The contact details for ZAGS are normally available on a regional government’s website.

See register a birth abroad

If someone dies in Russia, you can:

Find out how you can get married in Russia

Birth, death and marriage certificates are issued in Russia in the Russian language. Please make sure to obtain an Apostille certificate for a birth, death or marriage certificate issued in Russia from the issuing Russian authority to make the document valid outside of Russia.

Find out about notarial and documentary services for British nationals in Russia

Pets

See travelling with pets.

Emergencies

If you need urgent help, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate. For all emergencies, please call 112. The number is available from all mobile operators, even if your phone is out of credit or has no SIM-card.

Accommodation and buying property

Accommodation in Russia is available from licensed hotels and hostels as well as from private real estate owners. Major international accommodation booking services including Booking.com and Airbnb.com operate in Russia. Accommodation can also be booked directly from the service providers online or over the phone.

See buying a property abroad. We recommend you seek professional advice from a qualified lawyer in Russia and engage with a licensed real estate agency or a developer company before buying a property in Russia.

Other useful information

Returning to the UK

Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, tax, access to services and bringing family members.

The UK and Russia have no bilateral agreements on pensions or social benefits.

You should tell Russian authorities if you are leaving Russia permanently.

If you have been paying taxes in Russia, you should notify your local tax authority that you are relocating and the date you will leave.

If you have been receiving pension, disability or loss of subsistence provider benefits in Russia, you should tell your local pension office that you are moving abroad. This can be done through your local State Services Center or through the State Services online portal.

Your pensions/benefits will continue to be paid in Russia to your Russian account, or to the account of a designated individual. You will need to submit your life certificate to the respective Russian authorities once a year.

Disclaimer

This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCDO and the British Embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.

Published 7 March 2014
Last updated 2 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated with information about coronavirus and vaccines for UK nationals

  2. First published.