Once you get here to Russia and decide that you want to stay, you will have to get all your documents translated into Russian and notarized by a Russian notary. There are many translation businesses here, that is their only business, to translate and notarize documents. The costs vary, depend on how soon you need it to be done and where the translation office is located (the closer to the center of the city the more expensive it is). I know because I work for a couple of them on the side sometimes myself.
Coming here to Russia to live and work is not easy. You have to be willing to work hard, and deal with various governmental rules and laws. But believe me, if you hang in there and do not get discouraged and give up, you will have a wonderful one of a kind adventure here in Russia awaiting you, not to mention a good job also if you choose. I have met and worked with some wonderful and interesting people here in Russia, Russians, even worked with an African American and Native American teacher, a teacher from Greece, not to mention my students whom I have learned as much from if not more than what they learned from me. I think that most Americans are the same as I am, grew up during the cold war period and was taught that Russians were evil atheists that wanted to take over the world. But coming here, I have seen nothing like that. You will find churches every where, both new churches and old churches, some as old as 800 years. The Russians are no different that people in the US.
This is the process in brief is as follows depending on whether or not you come on a business invitation that a school issues or on a personal invitation. It is mainly the process that I myself went through, but since you will most likely come by invitation of a school, the process maybe different, but it will give you an idea of what to expect.
1. The school will send you an invitation to visit Russia, plus round trip plane tickets, and paperwork for your visa. You will have to send your passport, copies of plane tickets and insurance policy and paper work the school sent you to the Russian Embassy, the school should advise you on what to send make sure you know and follow their instructions exactly. If you are doing this on your own, send the invitation you received from an acquaintance or business in Russia, copies of your round trip tickets, proof of medical insurance, your passport and a money order for the required fee. When I did it, the fee was $85.00 for a three-month visa last year when I applied.
2. Once you arrive in Russia a school representative should meet you at the airport, and take care of the registration process. If you are coming on your own, either your hotel will register you with the police, or whoever invites you will have to do it. You have to keep your passport and papers in order just in case the police stop you, I never been stopped myself, but I have seen others stopped and their papers checked. The school or business you are working for should handle this, or if you are on your own, you have to handle this process yourself. MAKE SURE YOU OBEY THE LAW!
3. If you are doing this on your own, you will have to go to the local police station in your district and get the forms and find out what tests you will need, what forms you will need if you apply for temporary residence. Be prepared to wait in a long line of other people doing the exact same thing. One of the reasons why it is best to let the school you are working for to handle all of this.
4. I am not sure if you will be required to have medical tests done for accepting work with a school, I am sure you will have to, so the school should arrange all medical appointments and pay for the tests. If you’re on your own and want to apply for temporary residence, then you will have to go to three or four different clinics and have, TB, VD, AIDS/HIV, and a drug test done.
5. Once you get all the medical tests done, you have to take the results back to the local police station and let the officer handling your application review them. If you are lucky, every thing will be in order and they will carry them to the main police station. If your application is approved, you will be sent a letter telling you when you should come and be finger printed. They say it takes six months for an application for temporary residence to be either approved or denied, but from my experience and from talking with others in line at the police, it is rare that it is done in six months. This is the main reason why I say it is better to let the school or company you are working for to handle all this. In my opinion most people are better off just accepting work for a year, then reapplying for a business visa each year, or having the school renew your contract or letting another school you might wish to work with handle it. That way, you get a free trip back home and another free trip back to Russia, if the school renews your contract or hires you.
Excerpted from “How To Prepare For Living And Working In Russia” in Escape From America Magazine, Issue 62.