Asylum application process

Your asylum application and application for temporary asylum (TA) must be accepted regardless of your legal status in the Russian Federation or your ability to present identity documents. When applying, you must submit all available documents, as well as two 3.5×4.5cm photos for each family member. If you do not have identity documents, you must go through a procedure for establishing your identity. If at the time of your application you cannot demonstrate a legal basis for staying in the  RF  (visa/migration record/other), you may  be  subjected to administrative penalty in accordance with Russian law.

If you do not speak Russian, you have the right to a free of charge professional interpreter.

Refugee status (RS)

Once you submit your application, the territorial branch of the MOI is supposed to issue you an asylum-seeker certificate. Then your fingerprints will be taken and you will be interviewed.

The MOI Migration Directorate is supposed to review your asylum application within 5 days and decide whether to further consider your claim – this stage is called “consideration on the merits.” Following this review, you will be either issues an “Asylum-Seeker Certificate of Consideration on the Merits” or a rejection decision stating that your claim will not be considered further.

Consideration on the merits involves additional interviews to understand the reasons why you left your country and why you are afraid to return, as well as all other circumstances of your case, including any documentary evidence and information about the situation in your country of origin.

“Asylum-Seeker Certificate of Consideration on the Merits” is valid for three months, and within this time period, a decision should be reached on your case. Exceptionally, the processing time may be extended for another 3 months, in which case the asylum-seeker’s certificate will be extended. This certificate also serves as an identity document and proof of your legal stay in Russia.

While your asylum application is being assessed, you are protected against forced return to your country of origin. Any attempt to expel or deport you during this time would be a serious violation of the Russian legislation and the 1951 Convention.

After your claim is reviewed, a decision will be made to either recognize you as a refugee or to reject your application. If you are recognized as a refugee, you will be issued a Refugee Certificate. Refugee status is not time-limited, but you must approach the MOI Migration Department territorial branch every year to re-register.

Temporary Asylum (TA)

You may submit an application for temporary asylum either before or after applying for refugee status. The temporary asylum (TA) process also involves finger prints and an interview. When your TA application is accepted, you are issued a Temporary Asylum-seeker Certificate, valid for three months, or your Asylum-seeker Certificate of Consideration on the Merits is extended, if you had previously applied for refugee status. Both documents serve as evidence of your lawful stay in Russia.

Once your case is reviewed, a decision will be taken to either grant you TA or to reject your application. If you are granted temporary asylum, you will be issued a Temporary Asylum Certificate, which will be your identity document.

Appealing refugee status rejection

If you were denied consideration on the merits, or your application for refugee status or TA was rejected, you will be notified about the decision. You also have the right to receive a detailed written explanation of the reasons for rejection, which you can use to appeal to the higher administrative body – the Main Directorate for Migration Affairs of the MOI (GUVM MOI of Russia) – or to the court. The appeal must be submitted within one month of the receipt of the rejection notice.

Asylum-Seeker Certificate of Consideration on the Merits and Temporary Asylum-seeker Certificate may be extended during the period of appeal. To extend these documents, you must present proof that your appeal was submitted. If you miss the deadline for appeal, your presence in Russia will be considered illegal, and you may be fined, detained or deported/expelled.

If at any stage of the appeal process a decision is made in your favour, your case will be returned to the territorial Migration Department of the MOI for reconsideration.

Procedure diagram – refugee status

Procedure diagram – temporary asylum