How to get married with a foreign citizen in Russia?

Personal experience of a Russian man marrying a Mongolian woman
Two years ago I married a citizen of Mongolia. Now we are applying for a residence permit, the next step is Russian citizenship. I will tell you what it is like to be married to a foreign woman in Russia.


Married to a foreign woman

My wife and I are often confronted with the stereotype of Mongolia as a country of the former Soviet Union, but this is not true: Mongolia was never part of the Soviet Union. The official language of the country is Mongolian, and Russian is taught as a second foreign language along with English. In 2014, Russia and Mongolia abolished the visa regime, and now a Mongolian man or woman only needs to obtain a visa for Russia if he or she wishes to stay longer than three months.

My wife's short name is Mugi. In 7 years in Russia, Mugi has never had her passport checked. She only takes Mongolian documents with translation when she goes to the hospital or to an official.

We live in a rented apartment and have moved several times. Many landlords are intimidated by the need to register Mugi in the apartment, so it has been more difficult for us to rent an apartment than for an ordinary family.

On the street, in crowds, in shopping malls, we attract attention: people stare at us - but we have never encountered open malice, on the contrary, everyone supports us. People are very surprised by our unexpected union. Those who are older like to remember that our people were friends in Soviet times. Many had relatives working in Mongolia.

We are often asked: "Are there airplanes in Mongolia? (yes), "Do you have apples?" (no), "Do you live in yurts?" (no), "Do you have cities?" (yes). Talk about Mongolia as best you can.

Russian citizenship

Marriage does not change the nationality of the spouses. I remain a Russian citizen, and Mugi remains a Mongolian citizen. To get Russian citizenship, she has to get a temporary residence permit, then a residence permit - and only after that can she get a Russian passport. If you do everything quickly, it will take 3 years from the first visa to citizenship.

Marriage visa

There is no special visa for the bride or groom in Russia - and it's a pity. Such a document would make life easier for the lovers.

A foreigner can enter Russia to get married only by following the normal procedure: entry without or with visa, depending on diplomatic agreements between countries.

Russia has a visa-free regime with Mongolia for 30 days, but not more than 90 days in a half year. This means that you must leave the country every 30 days. You can enter the country again immediately, but you can only do it three times. After that, you must take a 3-month break.

Marriage does not give a foreigner the right to stay in Russia

Marriage does not give a foreigner the right to stay in Russia. If the period of stay in Russia expires, you must leave. To return, you must apply for another visa.

I arranged an invitation for a visa, so that Mugi could stay at once for 90 days. When they were finished, Mugi left Russia and came back without a visa for 30 days. We left Russia and came back two more times authorized. This time was almost enough to get a temporary residence permit. Thanks to this document, Mugi was able to stay.

What documents are required for a marriage with a foreigner?

Marriage and other family relationships are governed by the domestic law of the country in which the marriage takes place. You cannot get married in one country, divorced in another, and ask for alimony in a third. A Russian citizen may marry on the territory of Russia, according to Russian laws, with a citizen of any country or with a stateless person. To be recognized in another country, the marriage must be registered in accordance with all the requirements of that country.

Marriage with a foreigner can be registered in any registry office, provided that the necessary documents are presented. If they refuse to accept the application, write a complaint, go to the court or to the central registry office in your city.

You can get married to a foreigner in any registration office of the Russian Federation.

In Moscow, the Palace of Wedding Ceremonies specializes in international marriages ? 4. In addition to the registry office, it is possible to get married at the consulate of the state from which the foreigner comes. Such a marriage will be concluded in accordance with the laws of his country. If there are special international acts, this marriage will be recognized in Russia, but it must be specified separately for each country. For example, you can marry a Japanese citizen: both Japan and Russia will recognize this marriage and regulate it according to their laws.

The registration procedure at the registry office does not differ from the usual procedure. The only difference is the documents required for the application. In addition to passports and a receipt for the payment of the state tax (350 R), Mugi needed:

- a passport and its notarized translation;
- a certificate stating that she is not married in Mongolia and a notarized translation of this document.
The translation of Mongolian documents must be certified by a notary. It is best to do this in translation agencies that cooperate with the notary, otherwise you will have to bring a certified translator for notarization.

For some countries, the documents must be apostilled - a special mark affixed by the highest judicial authorities of the foreign country. It confirms that the papers are valid and have legal value. An apostille is placed only in the country of origin. In Russia, a foreigner cannot obtain an apostille.

We did not clarify in advance which documents with an apostille were necessary. We had to ask our relatives in Mongolia to put the apostille and deliver the documents through an acquaintance who flew to Russia.

Only the Russian consul and the Migration Service gave complete answers to all our questions.

It is not necessary to know the language in order to get married, but a professional certified interpreter must be present at the ceremony. If this condition is not met, the marriage may be declared illegal in the future.

Mugi speaks Russian perfectly well, and we did not need an interpreter. 

Temporary residence permit

After the registration of our marriage, we applied for a temporary residence permit. This is a stamp on a passport that allows the holder to stay in Russia for three years. It takes six months to get a permit. When the visa and visa waiver period expired, Mugi left the country for just over a month. When she came back, the residence permit was ready and we were finally able to be together. If Mugi had been pregnant, the document would have been issued in one or two days.

Foreigners who are not married to a Russian citizen receive a temporary residence permit on the basis of annual quotas. If documents are not submitted at the beginning of the year, the number of permits may be exhausted.

A temporary residence permit entitles its holder to:

- Live and work in Russia for 3 years;
- Work without a patent or permit in the subject of the Russian Federation where the permit was issued;
- to take out medical insurance in a clinic in the place of residence
- registering an individual entrepreneur or a limited liability company.
With a residence permit you cannot

- leave Russia for more than six months, otherwise it can be revoked ;
- To hold positions related to the military or national security;
- To vote and be elected.

To obtain a temporary residence permit, I had to gather medical certificates, present a certificate of no criminal record and translations of all Mongolian documents. I also had to prove that my wife speaks Russian. For this I had to get a special certificate or a certificate of Russian secondary education. We presented a diploma from a Russian university, from which Mugi had graduated.

For six months we had to wait for a temporary residence permit in Russia.

A separate point - the queues. You can file your application two days a week at the migration center in your city, and the documents are accepted only for half a day. People come at 5 a.m. and get in a line. Many people do not have time to submit documents during the day. In practice, you can ask for a week and a half or two weeks.

Mugi underwent fingerprint registration - he was fingerprinted at the migration center. After receiving a temporary residence permit, it is necessary to register the place of residence: in one's own apartment, with relatives or in a rented apartment. The address is stamped in the passport. Without this registration, it is not possible to use free medical services and attend a polyclinic.

Most foreigners who already have a temporary residence permit must obtain a multiple-entry visa to leave Russia. Without it, one cannot cross the Russian border. We are lucky: residents of Mongolia do not need such a visa.

Another condition: the residence permit must be confirmed every year. To do this, you need to bring a notice and a certificate of income to the Migration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Failure to do so will result in the revocation of the permit.

A temporary residence permit must be approved every year

After this temporary residence permit, Mugi obtained a SNILS and a TIN (taxpayer identification number) card.

With a temporary residence permit, she cannot stay in Russia forever. The temporary residence permit is a temporary measure, until the foreigner obtains a residence permit.


Residence permit

A residence permit is a document by which a foreigner can live and work in Russia for five years. The residence permit gives most of the rights of a Russian citizen. The blue booklet is similar to the Russian passport. It takes six months to issue a residence permit.

To obtain a residence permit you must live in Russia for at least one year without interruption with a temporary permit.

The residence permit is issued for 5 years. It can be renewed an unlimited number of times. Once she receives the permit, Mugi will not face any problems regarding her foreign nationality.

For 5 years
a foreigner with a residence permit can live and work in Russia. After that they will also have to renew it.

A residence permit gives a person the right

- to live in Russia;
- To leave the country without special documents;
- to work in any part of the Russian Federation
- To receive medical care within the framework of the obligatory medical insurance;
- To elect and be elected to local government bodies and participate in local referendums
- Receive a pension and free education;
- Apply for an invitation to enter the country for their relatives;
- take credits.

With a residence permit, one cannot:

- Serve in the military;
- Work in the civil service and security services of the Russian Federation;
- To be a civil aviation pilot;
- To vote and be elected at the regional and federal levels;
- To leave Russia for more than six months, otherwise you will lose your residence permit.
Once a year, Mugi will have to submit a notification of proof of residence under a residence permit in Russia. If you do not comply with this condition, your residence permit may be revoked.


To obtain Russian citizenship, an ordinary foreigner must live in Russia for 5 years without interruption. Mugi as a wife of a Russian is sufficient to be married to me for 3 years. There is a restriction here too. If you leave Russia for more than 3 months in a year, that year will not count towards the length of residence required for citizenship.

Officials can review a citizenship application for up to six months.

With citizenship, Mugi would get all the rights of a Russian: full suffrage and the ability to serve in the military and power structures. And what is most important for us - full guarantees of medical care and the possibility to leave when and how much we want.

We have not yet decided whether Mugi should get Russian citizenship. The problem is that according to Mongolian and Russian laws, in order to get another citizenship, Mugi has to give up his Mongolian citizenship. We do not want to do this because Mugi does not want to lose the possibility to enter his native country freely.

In order to obtain Russian citizenship, he will have to give up his current citizenship.
Maybe in time the laws will change and allow two citizenships. Then Mugi will have a Russian passport and we will become an ordinary Russian family.

Work and taxes

Mugi has a Russian degree in philology. In Mongolia, she worked as a translator in a bank with Russian clients. She has a professional interpreter's license, but in Russia, a Mongolian interpreter is rarely needed. She translated in court a few times and did the rest for business. Now she translates as a freelancer and sews clothes on order.

183 days: A foreigner must live in Russia for one year to be considered a tax resident.

A temporary residence permit gives you the right to work, but ordinary employers do not want to hire a foreigner. Mugi could not find a vacant office in Voronezh. When an employer hears the name Munkhtuyaa, he doesn't need an employee as much as before. The exotic name scares off even employers with less interesting jobs like salesmen or bartenders. The only place that accepted Mugi's Asian appearance was a Japanese restaurant, but she didn't want to work there.

When Mugi gets her residence permit, we want to move to Moscow. The capital is obviously more accustomed to foreigners: Mugi received responses to her CV, and they agreed to meet with her to discuss the job.

In Russia, employers are afraid of exotic names.
It seems that Mugi's citizenship does not scare employers in Moscow as much as in the provinces. Perhaps she will work at the Mongolian consulate.

At work, Mugi will have the same social package as Russians. The only difference is that the employer has to inform the AIMM within three days about the conclusion or termination of the employment contract with a foreigner.

If a foreigner lives in Russia for more than 183 days in 12 consecutive months, he/she is considered a tax resident of Russia and pays 13% income tax.


Mugi and I do not have children. But our acquaintances Sasha and Khulan do.

Sasha, Khulan and Emily.
Sasha, Khulan and Emily
If a foreign woman has a child by a Russian man, it does not automatically give her citizenship, does not shorten the time to get it and does not even extend her visa.

Like Russian pregnant women, Khulan chose the services of the maternity hospital and the children's polyclinic on the birth certificate. But she is not entitled to maternity allowance and early pregnancy allowance. The child's father is not entitled to these either.

Family allowances in 2021

The flat-rate birth allowance - 16,350 rubles in 2017, childcare allowance - 3,000 rubles in 2017 and monthly allowance for a child under 16 years - 257 rubles in 2017 are also not entitled to a foreign mother, but they can be applied for by the father.

If the mother does not have Russian citizenship, she will not receive maternity capital.

If the child was born in Russia and at least one of the parents is a Russian citizen, the child receives Russian citizenship at birth. Emily obtained Russian citizenship, but Hulan did not, so now she and her daughter are citizens of different countries.

The subtleties of international marriage in Russia

1. There is no marriage visa in Russia. The bride or groom arrives in the country in the usual way.
2. The marriage in Russia is concluded in accordance with the Russian laws.
3. Each country has its own requirements for marriage. It is preferable to conclude the marriage according to the laws of both countries at the same time.
4. The translation of documents must be certified by a notary. In many cases, it must have an apostille or consular legalization.
5. Marriage does not change the nationality of the spouses. The scheme for obtaining a Russian passport: temporary residence permit - residence permit - citizenship of the Russian Federation.
6. A temporary residence permit is granted for three years. It allows to live and work in Russia, and to use the medical insurance policy. It cannot be extended, but it can be renewed.
7. To receive a residence permit, a person must live in Russia for one year with a temporary permit.
8. A residence permit is issued for a period of 5 years. It can be extended for as long as one wants.
9. After three years of marriage it is possible to acquire Russian citizenship.
10. If a foreign wife has a temporary residence permit or a residence permit, she will be entitled to the same social package, the same contributions and the same taxes at work as a Russian.
11. Children do not simplify the legal complexities. A foreign mother will receive a maternity certificate, a Russian father will be able to receive family allowances, and maternity capital is issued only to Russian citizens.