Russia’s Interior Ministry is reportedly drafting reforms to foreign citizens’ legal status that would require all visitors who remain in the country for more than 30 days to surrender fingerprints, submit to a medical examination, and have their photograph taken. After this process, foreigners would receive special ID cards. According to the newspaper Kommersant, a senior migration official in the Interior Ministry explained in a hearing at Russia’s Civic Chamber that the proposed ID cards would contain foreigners’ “complete background data,” including information about issued work permits.
The reforms would grant some additional flexibility to foreigners on extended stays, allowing visitors to change the purpose of their entry into Russia “on the go,” without leaving the country as currently required. The Interior Ministry says the new measures would help foreigners who arrive in Russia and then find themselves unable to leave, due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.
Russia’s Interior Ministry also plans to replace all paper migration documents with electronic cards and abandon its temporary residence permit system. Foreigners who want to stay in Russia for extended periods will be able to apply for the necessary permits through the government’s online system.
It remains unclear how soon Russian lawmakers could approve these proposed reforms.