According to the Law On Citizenship of the Russian Federation, application documents for Russian Citizenship by foreign citizens must be completed in a two-step process.
The first step is to obtain a Temporary Residency Permit (TRP), which can be obtained for a 3-year period, followed by the Residency Permit (RP) which is issued for a five-year period.
The application process for a TRP for citizens of CIS countries takes 3 months. The application process for for TRP for foreign citizens of other countries takes six months.
According to Para 2 of Article 8 of the Law on Citizenship of the Russian Federation, the minimum stay period for a foreign citizen to obtain TRP is no less than one calendar year. However, once six months have elapsed from the moment of the issue of TRP, a foreign citizen may commence an application for a Residency Permit. The application process for a Residency Permit takes no less than 6 months – and in this manner, the requirements of legislation are observed.
Uninterrupted residence with an RP of no less than five years gives the foreign applicant the right to apply for Citzenship of the Russian Federation. The period of residence in the Russian Federation is considered to be uninterrupted if the foreign applicant spends no more than six months per year outside Russia.
A foreign national has the right to submit an application for Russian citizenship earlier than five years, if they comply with one of the following stipulations:
- the foreign national was born within the borders of the RSFSR and formerly held citizenship of the USSR.
- the foreign national has been married to a citizen of the Russian Federation for a minimum of three years
- the foreign applicant is disabled, and has a son or daughter who has reached the age of 18 and is a citizen of the Russian Federation.
- the foreign applicant has made substantial achievements in the fields of science, technology, or culture. they hold professional qualifications, and represent the interests of the Russian Federation.
- the foreign applicant has demonstrably sought political refuge within the boundaries of the Russian Federation
- the foreign applicant has claimed refuge in a manner according with international law
Similarly a Residency Permit may be issued following simplified procedures for Highly Qualified Specialists (HQS) and the accompanying members of their family. In such circumstances a Residency Permit is issued for the period for which their Work Permit has been granted. The processing time for applications is 3 months.
It is worth additional mention that there is a simplified procedure for obtaining a Residency Permit for citizens of Belarus. Such applicants may submit documents for a Residency Permit without first having to obtain a TRP. The processing time for Residency Permits in such cases is 3 months.