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WE DID IT: An American Family, Now Legal Residents of Russia

I have no Russian ancestors. I have no Russian spouse. We are not wealthy. We are not famous. And now, we are not tourists. We are legal residents of the Russian Federation. People said it wasn't possible. This is how we did it.

For the past year and a half, my family and I have been living in Russia on tourist visas. But now, we are tourists no longer. I went to the immigration office in Yaroslavl, and picked up our new documents.

We are now legal residents of the Russian Federation.

And that is a big deal. It means I can now legally work in Russia, and earn wages. Through an employer, I can receive healthcare for my family. We are no longer required to leave the country every 6 months. It also starts the clock ticking . . . five years from now, we should be eligible to apply for Russian citizenship.

Both before and after moving to Russia, we encountered many questions and challenges. Some people told us that Russia wouldn't accept us. They told us that we couldn't do it.

They were wrong.

I have no Russian ancestors. I have no Russian spouse. We are not wealthy. We are not famous. And now, we are not tourists. We are legal residents of the Russian Federation.

This is how we did it:

  1. We started studying the Russian language.
  2. We got passports.
  3. We got multi-entry Russian tourist VISAs.
  4. We collected our birth certificates, marriage license, and federal background checks.
  5. We got these documents apostilled.
  6. We took basic immigration tests in the Russian language, Russian history, and Russian laws.
  7. We took medical tests, verifying that we do not have infectious diseases.
  8. We purchased a very inexpensive house, so that we could register an address for legal residency.
  9. We filled out Russian residency applications, and paid the application fees.
  10. After submitting the paperwork, we waited six months to receive a response.
  11. I received a phone call, telling us our applications have been approved.

When my family and I went to their office, they replaced our tourist VISAs with new VISAs, stating that we are now legal residents of the Russian Federation:

Wondering why my family and I moved from America to Russia? Read this interview to find out.

Want to read about other families who moved to Russia? Curious about the cost of living in Russia? Check out the Moving To Russia section of this website.


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