Personal accreditation: right or duty?

Elena Mikheeva,

To work in a Branch/Representative Office of a foreign company a foreign employee should follow the procedure of personal accreditation, which is provided by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation (hereinafter — «CCI»). The rules of personal accreditation are fixed in the Appendix 1 to the Order of the CCI No. 44 of June 8, 2015. Certificate of a personal accreditation is the document that confirms the successful procedure.

Before applying for accreditation to the Federal Tax Service No. 47, a foreign company must apply to the CCI in order to certify the number of foreign employees. To do this, the necessary forms of documents are filled out, considering the number of employees that are planned for attraction. Based on the received data, the CCI maintains its own Register.

In accordance with paragraph 3 of Art. 13.5 of the Law «On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation», the number of foreign employees of the Representative Office should not exceed 5 people; the number of foreign employees of the Branch Office is unlimited.

Article 15.1 of the Law «On the CCI of Russian Federation» stipulates that «foreign citizens may be invited to work in a Branch/Representative Office and on that matter they must undergo the procedure of personal accreditation within the limits of the number of employees, information on which is contained in the Register of Accredited Branches/Representative Offices».

Paragraph d) of Article 25 of the Federal Law «On the Procedure for Departure from the Russian Federation and Entry into the Russian Federation» as a person whose application requires an invitation to enter the Russian Federation provides the accredited Branches/Representative offices, in case of inviting foreign citizens to work in Russia.

In accordance with the above Laws, it may seem that personal accreditation is an obligatory and necessary stage for obtaining a working visa for a foreign citizen to enter the Russian Federation, but the Administrative Regulations approved by Order No. 430 of the Federal Migration Service of Russia establish an exhaustive list of documents necessary for the provision of a public service for registration, renewal or restoration of a visa. This list includes: a completed application form, passport, document on education, photographs, etc. This Regulations does not contain a certificate of personal accreditation as a necessary and obligatory document.

Despite the fact that on the basis of The Presidential Decree No. 156 of 05.04.2016, the Federal Migration Service of Russia has been dismissed, and its functions and powers have been transferred to the Main Directorate for Migration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, all Orders of the Migration Service of Russia are still in force.

Starting from December 21, 2016, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia is the main body responsible for processing and issuing documents to foreign citizens and stateless persons for entry into the Russian Federation and making residential documents.

The CCI provides assistance in obtaining visas and invitations to enter the Russian Federation, which means that if the Branch/Representative Office decides to issue a visa with the support of the CCI, they are obliged to go under the procedure of personal accreditation in the following cases:

  • When issuing invitations to the Russian Federation for employees of the Branches/Representative Offices and members of their families for work visas;
  • When applying multiple business visas for employees of the Branches/Representative Offices and members of their families.

If the Branch/Representative Office goes on the way of issuing visas and invitations through the Main Directorate for Migration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, a certificate of personal accreditation is not required.

Despite the fact that during the procedure of accreditation of Branches/Representative Offices CCI certifies the number of foreign employees who «must» receive certificates of personal accreditation, there are no sanctions and fines if they decline to do so.