Schengen Area Creates an Information System of new Generation

Second Generation Information System (SISII) was officially launched in the countries of Schengen Agreement. Its main goal is to strengthen the security and facilitate moving within the Schengen Area.

Using the new system authorities are hoping to facilitate the information exchange between national border, customs and police services in regards of individuals "capable of serious actions of criminal nature."

Along with the system, the updating involved the database, which now includes descriptions of the missing people, as well as information on a number of valuables, personal property, weapons, documents that could be stolen or lost.

Reference information:
The Schengen Agreement was established on March 26, 1995. Currently, the total length of the land border of Schengen Area is 7,721 km; the length of the maritime border is 42.673 km. For the March 2013 agreement is signed by 30 states and actually acts (with the abolition of border controls) in 26 countries:
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Hungary
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Denmark (excluding Greenland and the Faroe Islands)
  • Iceland
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Czech Republic
  • Switzerland
  • Sweden
  • Estonia
Countries automatically included in the Schengen Area (although the agreement is not signed)
  • Andorra (together with Spain)
  • Monaco (along with France)
  • San Marino (along with Italy)

Countries signed the Schengen Agreement, but retained the passport control - and therefore are outside the Schengen Area - United Kingdom and Ireland. In order to travel to these countries one has get a separate visa.

Some of the new members of European Union - Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus - are still not included into the Schengen Area. Trips to these countries also require a separate visa.

In 2013 the entry into the Schengen Area of Croatia is anticipated. The official entry is scheduled for July 1, 2013.


Priority Visa Service is available now in all UK Visa Centers in Russia

Priority Visa Service has become available for all applicants for visas to the UK, who submit documents in Russia.
According to the information which can be found at the Britain visa center website, this service is available for the applicants complying with the following requirements:

-  applying for 6 months or 1 year visit visa categories such as Business, Sports, Child / Family, General, Student visit;
- have visited the United Kingdom for the last 2 years.

Application for Priority Visas has to be made online by appointment at the website As before, each applicant has to fill in an application form and appoint the date of a visit to the Visa Center at the mentioned website. Priority Visa service fee is 7560 rubles and should be paid in addition to the standard visa fees. Unlike standard visa fees, Priority Visa service fee must be paid in cash at the Visa Center in person while the applicant submit the documents and give biometrics.
Due to the Priority Visa Service implementation, the other express “premium service” in Saint-Petersburg is cancelled.

Visa-free transit in China aiports

Beginning from January 1, 2013 citizens of 45 countries, including the USA, Great Britain, France, Canada and Russia travelling to Shanghai or Beijing will be able to take an advantage of 72-hour visa-free transit corridor. The transit entry into the country can be formalized upon arrival at the Beijing Capital International Airport or at the Shanghai Pudong and Hongqiao International Airports. Those who are willing to get a permission for a three night stay in these cities will be required to provide  border service of the airport with a ticket confirming a planned flight to a third country.

It is also expected that a similar innovation will be applied to Shanghai ports and railway stations soon.

At the moment, Russian citizens are required to have a transit visa to China if they are going to stay in the airport of China for more than 24 hours or if they are willing to leave the transit hall of the airport. The exception is Beijing, where the entry to the city is visa-free for Russian citizens if they are going to stay less than 24 hours on the territory of China while having a transit.

The changes will affect citizens of following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic , Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, Great Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, USA, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar.

German Visa Application Center is opening in Moscow

A new visa center that is going to receive applications for Schengen visas for the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany is opening in Moscow on January, 14 2013. Several changes will be made accordingly.

All information about the process of making a visa, in particular, regarding the documents required, will be available on the web-site of the visa center. Alternatively, one can receive all necessary information by making a phone call or writing an email to a visa center representative. The registration for applications will be opened on January, 4 2013. The applicants will be able to register via telephone call or an email. The document submission will be opened on January 14 2013; the documents can be submitted personally or by the power of attorney. The notary certification is not required. Upon the submission of the application one has to pay a visa fee, which is then sent to the Embassy, along with a service fee of the visa center.

The tracking information regarding the progress of visa processing will be available on the web site of the visa center. Applicants will be notified about the availability of the passport by an SMS message.

One should be aware that the decision to issue a visa still remains a jurisdiction of the Embassy. Applications for working, business, student and family reunification visas can be submitted exclusively to the Visa Department of the Embassy. In this case one has to register using the visa center. Any other applications, if desired, still can be submitted directly to the Visa Department of the Embassy.



The Agreement between the Russian Federation and the USA on Simplification of Visa Procedures entries into force

Due to the announcement at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow official website, starting from September 9, Russian and American travelers for business or tourism will be eligible to receive visas valid for multiple entries during a period of 36 months. This is the day when U.S.-Russia visa agreement will enter into effect. The agreement will facilitate travel and establish stronger ties between Russia and the United States, as it will benefit the largest segment of travelers in both our countries: business travelers and tourists. The agreement also outlines other simplifications in the bilateral visa regime and eases visa processing time for travelers from both countries.

Thanks to the agreement, three-year, multiple-entry visas will become the standard “default” terms for U.S. citizens visiting Russia and Russian citizens visiting the United States. Both sides have also committed to keep standard visa processing times under 15 days, although the circumstances of individual cases may require additional processing.

As a rule, successful visa applicants will receive the full-validity three-year visa. The $160 application fee will still apply, however, the $100 issuance – or reciprocity – fee for Russians issued U.S. visas for business or tourism (visa types B1/B2) will fall to $20. Validity and fees for other visa types (for example for students, workers, and journalists) will not change.

For Americans in Russia, the agreement lifts the previous restriction limiting stays in Russia to 90 days within any given 180-day period—just like Russian travelers, they will now be permitted stays of up to six months. In addition, “exit visas” will no longer be necessary in the case of U.S. citizens who lose their passports while in Russia. (Russian citizens may already exit the United States without an exit visa). U.S. citizens with current Russian visas are reminded that they are still subject to the terms and dates of the visas already in their possession.



The Russian government has signed an agreement with the government of Chinese Administrative Region of Macau on the mutual abolition of visas.

This agreement gives Russian citizens and residents of the Macau district an opportunity to make mutual visits without a visa for thirty days.

One should note that this document has just been signed and now is to go through the process of ratification according to the laws of both countries.

Nowadays, Russian citizens along with citizens of former Soviet Republics are issued a visa directly at the place of arrival, whether it is an airport, port or railway station, with the only requirement to present a return ticket and a passport. At the same time a state fee of $12 is to be paid upon arrival. Alternatively, one can obtain a visa in advance, by contacting a consulate of the People's Republic of China, providing a proof for the purpose of the trip. A new procedure of a visa-free entry to Macau will not only save the money of travelers, but also eliminate the unnecessary paperwork.

Macau Special Administrative Region (Região Administrativa Especial de Macau, Portuguese) was established in 1999 (December, 20) as a result of elimination of the Portuguese colony of Macau; it became one of the two special administrative regions of China with Hong Kong being the second. Assuming the formal sovereignty over Macau, China endowed it a status of a Special Administrative Region. As part of the People's Republic of China, Macau has a significant autonomy, possessing its own laws, monetary, customs and immigration systems, as well as a right to participate in international organizations.


Fifteen Norwegian visa centers will be opened in Russia

During the next two months Russia will create fifteen centers to receive applications for visas, work permits and residence in Norway.

Norwegian Embassy in Moscow signed a contract with the company VFS Services LLC Russia (VFS) to share the functions of receiving applications for visitor visas and residence/work permits. Applicants no longer have to come personally to the Embassy in Moscow in order to apply: all the formalities can be carried out in one of the 15 VFS visa centers in Russia (see the list below).

“Missions of Norway in other countries, as well as embassies of other Schengen countries in Russia have a very good experience using such a procedure,” – is underlined in the information report of the Embassy.

Over the last few years, the Embassy in Moscow is experiencing a record growth in the number of visa applications to Norway. In 2011, the Embassy issued 30,236 visas, having become the largest Norwegian foreign service mission for the number of applications accepted and visas issued.

The Contract is expected to reduce the time for consideration of applications and improve the quality of service.

“The Contract will lead to a significant expansion of the service area of the Embassy in Russia; the travel time for those who are applying for a visitor visa or for a residence or work permit will be also reduced. The quality of the service will be improved by the extension of the working day at the centers receiving applications, and by the establishment of a VFS phone line”, – is also noted in information report of the Embassy.

In 2011 the Embassy reviewed 31,570 visa and migration applications. 60-65% of all applications are for tourist visas.

List of visa centers along with the dates of opening:

05/03/12: Moscow. Address of the center to receive the applications in Moscow: 31/1, Suschevsky Val, Moscow, 127018.

05/10/12: Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Samara and Krasnodar

05/16/12: Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan and Krasnoyarsk

05/25/12: Sochi, Kaliningrad, Irkutsk and Ufa

06/08/12: Khabarovsk

06/15/12: Vladivostok

Detailed information about how to apply for a visa is available here

See the contacts of the vis

a centers in the official web-page.




The list of non-quota foreign workers positions for 2012 was approved

The Order of the Russian Ministry of Public Health called "On approving the list of professions (specializations, positions) of foreign nationals - qualified professionals employed by their existing profession (specialty), which are not subject to quota for 2012" entered into force. The Order was registered with the Ministry of Justice on 03 February 2012.  


The new list includes 41 positions. It has been significantly developed on account of engineer and technical professions, comparing to the document for 2011.  Meanwhile, the list of top management positions has been left unchanged. 

Once the Order came into force, it is possible to submit documents for work permits to the local branches of the Federal Migratory Service, which accept applications for non-quota positions on the basis of this Order.

Read more: The list of non-quota foreign workers positions for 2012 was approved


The agreement on simplification of visa regime between Russia and the U.S.


The agreement on simplification of visa regime between Russia and the U.S.

As we reported earlier, in March this year, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during his meeting with U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden offered to do a historic step and introduce a visa-free regime between Russia and the United States.

November 19, 2011 at the island of Bali in the sixth East Asia Summit, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov meets with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. During the meeting the sides exchanged notes in connection with the Russian-American agreement on simplifying visa requirements for mutual travel of citizens of Russia and the United States. This agreement is subject to ratification by the Federal Assembly of Russian Federation.

Hopefully, after the Russian State Duma ratifies the agreement, Russian businessmen and tourists will be able to receive multiple U.S. visas valid for three years, and officials - annual multiple-entry visas.

As explained by the Russian Foreign Ministry representative Alexander Lukashevich, the agreement is subject to ratification by the Federal Assembly, as the three-year multiple-entry visas, which will give tourists and businessmen of both countries, are not provided by Russian law. After the ratification of the agreement tourists of both countries will be able to obtain multiple-entry visas for three years, and officials of two countries - multiple-entry visas valid for one year.

Also note, that earlier, Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov underlined that the ultimate goal of Russia is entering the U.S. on a visa-free regime with the right of residence in 90 days.


The quota for 2012 has been approved

The quota for 2012 has been approved

The decision of the Government of the Russian Federation  November 3, 2011 N 892 Moscow "On the determination of the need for involvement in the Russian Federation of foreign employees and the approval of the quotas for 2012" entered into force on the 11th of  November 2011
The official publication took place on the 11th of  November 2011- in "Rossiyskaya Gazeta" - Federal Issue № 5630
This resolution has been fixed the number of quotation for  the foreign specialists hiring in Russia, which amounted to 1745584 people, as well as the number of invitations for the foreign citizens entering the territory of the Russian Federation, which counts  460510 people.
The total quota for the foreign employees was divided into groups depending on their qualifications.
The largest number of foreigners would be involved in the following areas and for the following positions: construction, agriculture, drivers, and unskilled employees.
According to this resolution the fifth-largest quota position was taken by the heads of agencies, organizations and businesses. Thus, in 2012, Russian companies will be able to attract to positions 86 799 people, which in turn significantly lower than last year, which amounted to 109 590 people.
At this moment we are waiting for the decree according the approval of the quotas for 2012 in Moscow and Moscow region.
We remind you that the companies will be able to start the process of applying for the work permits for quota positions in 2012 only when this decree will enter into force.


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