From December 29, 2021 all foreigners in Russia must undergo extensive medical monitoring under a law* to improve health safety in the country. The law requires the following:
- Submission of biometric data, both fingerprints and photographic images to identify individuals;
- Medical tests for a wide range of diseases: HIV, syphilis, gonorrhoea, tuberculosis, leprosy, and Covid-19, but are also to trace any use of narcotics.
The law applies to all foreign labour migrants and to foreigners staying in Russia for longer than 3 months, as well as their family members, even children over 6 years of age. It will therefore constitute an additional requirement for highly qualified specialists, to keep or be re-issued a HQS visa.
An exemption exists only for diplomats and citizens of Belarus. Foreigners visiting Russia on the basis of a visa for ninety days or less, will not be subject to the new requirements. Foreigners with a temporary residence permit do need to take the medical tests, but only once, in order to be granted their temporary residence permit.
An appointment can be made for testing, via blood samples and X-ray (for tuberculosis) in the area – for Moscow residents this can be done at the Moscow Migration Centre in Sakharovo – where they will be issued a certificate, when tests are passed successfully.
This certificate must be submitted to the authorities within 30 days for foreign labour migrants, or within 90 calendar days from the moment of entry into the Russian Federation for others than labour migrants.
Certificates are valid for a 90-day period and must be repeated every quarter [see update 22 February 2022 below: one year]. So all medical tests need to be done again in order to get a new certificate no later than one month after the original medical certificate expired.
Refusal to undergo examinations and submit biometric data could lead to revocation of permits or expulsion from Russia.
The law may be an instrument for Russian authorities to monitor the large foreign workforce from Turk-Asian republics, and any possible infectious diseases they might have.
The Western businesses community however is very upset about the law and many business people have said this will affect their decisions on living and working in Russia, especially with families.
Not all details of the law and its implementation are clear yet, but we will update you when there is more information.
Update 30 December: We have received information that long talks between Russian government authorities and international business associations have had a positive result. Medical examinations for foreigners under the new law from 29 December 2021 would not be required every quarter but only once a year.
Update 22 February 2022: The Ministry of Health has confirmed that the validity of medical certificates for foreigners has been extended to one year.
*The new law Law No. 274-FZ was enacted on 1 July 2021, but is effective only from 29 December 2021. It amended two Federal Laws – ” On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation ” (dated 25.07.2002 No. 115-FZ) and ” On State Fingerprint Registration in the Russian Federation ” (dated 25.07.1998 No. 128-FZ).