Expat guide to living in Russia, find expat meet ups, best places to live...



Russia is a land of extremes; its severely cold climate nearly all year long, while summers can sizzle when the opportunity arises. The massive landmass that makes up the country is undeniable, yet culture and urban developments are mainly found only the major cities. While there’s a lot of misconception about Russia, thanks to its history, the country today has taken strides to make it known that Russia is still a major player in global affairs. Expats travelling here, mostly with high-paying, upper-hierarchy jobs, will find that their salaries match the steep cost of living. That doesn’t mean the ones on the lower rungs of the ladder cannot enjoy the understated, vast country. The culture and the heritage that is still part of everyday living is very evident, and expats will do well to get over the vodka stereotype and open their eyes to the richness of Russia’s geography, landscape and peoples. Just before you zip up for a long, snowy hike, read through some valuable information you ought to know before you move to Russia

Russia Red Square Moscow

Expat Clubs

British Women's Club

Social club for British passport holders and spouses/partners of British passport holders. Those who do not meet these membership criteria will be made welcome at the informal Tuesday morning coffees. Regular events held throughout the year in addition to the monthly Embassy meetings. The BWC Family Network runs regular weekly activities, including Toddler Swimming, and events, such as the Christmas Party, for those with children of all ages.

Email: [email protected], [email protected]

Website: www.bwcmoscow.com


Damas Latinas

Association of Latin American Women in Russia. El Club de Damas Latinas de Moscú es una organización que promueve y facilita la amistad entre mujeres que tienen en común el idioma castellano; asimismo, desarrolla actividades sociales, culturales, de mutuo apoyo y benéficas que permiten la integración de sus socias en Moscú.

Website: www.damaslatinas.ru


International Womens Club Moscow

The IWC was established in 1977/8 by women for women to help them feel comfortable in Moscow. Back in those times it was quite difficult for foreigners to live in Moscow and Russians unfortunately could be met only at official occasions. Since then Russia and Moscow have seen many changes, and life in Moscow has changed dramatically since the Club was founded. However, the two objectives of the IWC of Moscow - to foster friendship among women of all nationalities and to do charitable work in our host country - have never been changed and are as valid and important today as ever.

Email: [email protected].

FB: www.facebook.com/IWCMoscow

Website: www.iwcmoscow.ru


International Women's Club, St Petersburg

The International Women’s Club (IWC) of St Petersburg is a club for expatriate women and men living in St Petersburg. It was founded in 1986 and is comprised primarily of foreigners, with a small Russian membership.

Website: www.iwcstpete.com


Moscow Expats

Moscow Expats is an FB page for expatriates wanting to meet other MOMS and DADS in Moscow, Russia. Find out whats going on locally and surrounding areas and share anything about anything.

FB: www.facebook.com/moscowexpats


American Women’s Organization of Moscow

AWO Moscow provides social, educational and cultural programs for women living in Moscow. The annual membership fee of 2000 rubles gives you free or subsidized access to activities including twice monthly meetings , a Newcomer Coffee morning, charitable events, seasonal parties, tours, special interest groups, and more.

Email: [email protected]

Website: awomoscow.org

International Schools 

Anglo-American School of Moscow

The Anglo-American School of Moscow, founded in 1949, is an independent, coeducational day school in northwest Moscow that offers an international educational program from Pre-Kindergarten (4-year-olds) through Grade 12.

Curriculum: American, Canadian, British

Address: Beregovaya Street, 1

Moscow 125367, Russia

Tel: +7 (495) 231-44-86

Fax: +7 (495) 231-44-76

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.aas.ru


English International School, Moscow West

In 2012 Orbital Education established its second school in Moscow, the English International School, Moscow West. The new campus, for children 3 – 12 years of age, is located in the West of Moscow at Molodogvardeyskaya, near Kutuzovskiy Prospect. Curriculum: British

Address: 121467, Russia, Moscow, Molodogvardeyskaya ulitsa, 9

Tel: +7 499 140 10 25 and +7 499 140 12 65

Fax:+7 499 140 10 25

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.englishedmoscow.com/West-Home


English International School, Moscow South

Moscow South West in the prestigious residential and diplomatic area near the Leninsky Prospekt. It is a school for children aged 3 to 11 and will provide the same high quality British style education as our campuses, EIS Moscow West and EIS Moscow East.

Address: ulitsa Lobachevskogo, 14,

Moscow, Russia


Tel: +7 495 726 31 46 or +7 495 984 59 92 / 93

Website: www.englishedmoscow.com/South-West-Home


English International School, Moscow East

Orbital Education established the English International School, Moscow East in Novogireevo, a pleasant and quiet suburb, 17 minutes from the centre of Moscow, by Metro, in September 2006. It quickly gained respect and popularity within the expatriate and Russian communities for the quality of education it provides to pupils aged 3 – 18. It is now a well-established market leader in the provision of British style education.

Curriculum: British

Address: 111396,  Russia, Moscow, Zeleny Prospect 66-a

Tel: +7 495 301 2104 and  +7 495 301 9116

Fax: +7 495 301 7587

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.englishedmoscow.com/East-Home

Local News in English

The Moscow Times

Daily news site in English.

Website: www.themoscowtimes.com


Country Information 

Location: Europe

Capital City: Moscow

Currency: Ruble (RUB)

Language: Russian

Calling Code: 7

Internet TLD: .ru

Electricity: Russia runs on 230V 50Hz. The largest transmission company in Russia is FGC UES.

Website: www.fsk-ees.ru


Emergency Numbers:   

Ambulance: 103

Fire: 101

Police: 102


Country Information


Embassy Information


Residents Visa and Work Permit information

Citizens of many countries may enter and stay in Russia from 14 to 90 days for tourism purposes. This includes: Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, Columbia, Croatia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kirghiz Republic, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Peru, Serbia, South Africa, Thailand, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

Other nationals, including the US and the EU, will have to obtain a visa prior to travel from a Russian embassy or consulate. Foreigners normally apply through the online visa appointment system that facilitates the submission and scheduling of applications:  washington.kdmid.ru/queue-en

There are different types of visas available for foreigners: Business visa, valid up to 12 months; Tourist visas, 14 to 30 days; Private visas, applied for by Russian family members or friends residing in the country; Student visa, applied for by school or university; and Transit visa; valid for up 72 hours.

Recommended Documents for tourist visas:
  • Visa application form
  • Passport valid minimum 6 months
  • Invitation letter
  • Completed migration card (usually distributed while in the aircraft flying to Russia)
  • Confirmation of hotel reservations
  • Contract for provision of tourist services
  • Confirmation of reception of the tourist
  • Register number from the Uniform Federal Register of the Tour Operators of the Federal Tourism Agency.
  • Other additional documents (that may be required):

           ·         Bank statement from applicant

           ·         Salary certificate from applicant’s employer

           ·         Medical insurance

           ·         Applicant’s property ownership documents

           ·         Certificate of family status (if applicant is married with children)

Expats wishing to work in Russia must apply prior for a temporary residence (consequently a work permit) or a permanent residence (no work permit needed). They may either arrange this along with their Russian employers while they reside outside of Russia. Alternatively, expats may enter the country, look for work, and then leave the country to process the visa.

A temporary residence permit is valid for 3 years, and renewable; while permanent residence permit is for 5 years and renewable. The Federal Migration Service of Russia issues these permits. Work permits are usually applied for by the local employer.


The US Government has issued a travel warning:

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens in Russia to the ongoing tensions along the border with Ukraine and the potential for increased clashes between pro-Russian groups and Ukrainian forces.  This supersedes the Travel Alert dated June 12 to provide updated information on the security situation along Russia’s border with Ukraine and will expire on October 21, 2014. 

The U.S. government currently has no information concerning active armed clashes inside Russia or that there are any threats specific to U.S. citizens.  However, all U.S. citizens located in or considering travel to the border region of the Russian Federation, specifically the districts immediately bordering Ukraine in parts of Bryansk, Kursk, Belgorod, Voronezh, and Rostov Oblasts and Krasnodar Krai, should be aware that the tensions described in the State Department’s Travel Warning for Ukraine have the potential to jeopardize the safety and security of U.S. citizens traveling or living in those regions.

For the complete advisory, please visit:  travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/russia-travel-alert-events-in-ukraine.html


Foreigners looking to reside in Russia will have to brace themselves for a lengthy apartment-hunting. Expats are advised to seek out real estate agencies; although individual search is also possible, but it will be time-consuming and inefficient as the language barrier poses a challenge. Online property listings are also tough to wade through. It is more recommended to just avail of real estate services, who will change a month’s rent for services. They are also plentiful so foreigners will not be lacking of professionals.

Leases are pretty much standard with advanced rent and deposits and lasts between one to three years. It is important to insist on a contract translated in English before signing, although most contracts are bilingual. Cash payments are the more popular form of transaction between tenants and landlords; a few will be equipped and able to proceed with wire transfers.

Rentals come either furnished, usually for short-term, and unfurnished. Unfurnished rentals are not that deficient; most will come with cooking stoves, refrigerator and / or washing machines.

Expats on the budget are likely to rent apartment accommodations, as these are the prominent especially in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Outside the major cities, developments for other types of housing have risen to provide more options like townhouses, cottages and compounds, which are great for expats with families yet mostly affordable only to well-paid employees. Rental prices vary depending on the property’s proximity to conveniences and amenities including public transport, schools, hospitals and government buildings. Expats will often choose housings moderately close to their work offices and their children’s schools.

Moscow is the main city for expat communities; a significant portion of foreign population is employed in international industries situated in the city. The high cost of living can be a deterrent for first-time expats, especially those who need to make accommodation arrangements for themselves. Rent for a single bedroom apartment normally starts at $900 per month, to $1,500, depending on location. But the good part about living in Moscow is that it’s a big city, so cheaper options will lie just much farther from the center; meaning commuting or travelling to work will be extensive. The public transport system is efficient and cheap in the city; residents in Moscow prefer using these facilities rather than negotiating the crowded busy roads of the metropolis.

Tverskaya is central to expats living in Moscow. This is a residential area, which is convenient for its convenient distance to most attractions and landmarks in the city. Christye Prudy is another desirable area for expats, especially the French. Patriarshy Ponds and Arbat are expensive residential areas; there are many attractions, landmarks and amenities in these areas including parks, metro lines, and commercial complexes. 

Driving License

Expats may use their domestic license, if they meet the 1968 Conventions on Road Traffic Act, or an international licese, for up to 6 months. Legal residents who will stay beyond this period will have to get a Russian license or have it exchanged. It is essential that the domestic license should be in English or at least officially translated to Russian and notarized.

Documents required:
  • Completed application form
  • Passport, with Russian visa and registration stamp
  • Medical certificate from any recognized health clinic
  • 1 colour passport size photo
  • Receipt of appropriate fees
  • Domestic license plus a notarized copy of the same and a certified translation

Alternatively expats may also apply for a Russian license through the State Road Safety Inspectorate GIBDD. However examinations are administered exclusively in Russian, translators are not allowed.


Address: ul 6th Radialnaya 2, Moscow

Tel: (495) 327 9947

Website (Russian): www.gibdd.ru


The medical services in Russia suffer from poor funding, which renders most hopsitals limited and below western standards. The facilities in major cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg with high standard of care are expensive; cash or credit card payments are to be expected before treatments. Language barrier is also a problem. Expats are urged to obtain comprehensive insurance cover to reimburse costs of treatments.


The American Medical Clinic and Hospital

Since 1993 American Medical Clinic and Hospital (AMC) has been providing qualified medical care to you and your family. Today AMC is a large complex consisting of in-patient and out-patient department, providing medical services in 39 clinical specialities.

Address: 78 Moika embankment, Saint Petersburg, 190000, Russia

Tel: (812) 740 2090

Fax: (812) 310 4664

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.amclinic.com


International Clinic MEDSI

Today, the name of International Clinic MEDSI is associated with advanced technology, modern equipment, the team of highly experienced specialists and wide range of medical services provided for both adults and children that are available 24/7. The clinic is conveniently located in the center of Moscow near Prospect Mira metro station.

Address: 129090 Moscow 26, build. 6, Prospekt Mira (entrance from Grokholsky Pereulok)                         

Tel: +7 (495) 933-77-00

Fax: +7 (495) 933-77-01

Email: [email protected]

European Medical Center

The EMC consists of several divisions: a new multifunctional hospital on Schepkina street, multifunctional medical centers in Spiridonievsky Pereulok and Orlovsky Pereulok, EMC Children's Clinic on Trifonovskaya street, the European Dental Center (EDC), a clinical diagnostic and histology laboratory, and EMC Assistance (expert support in the treatment abroad). EMC in-patient department numbers more than 150 beds.

Address: Spiridonievsky per. 5 (near the Patriarshy Ponds in downtown Moscow)

Metro Pushkinskaya, Tverskaya, Mayakovskaya

Tel: (495) 933 6655

Emergency: (495) 933 6645

Website: www.emcmos.ru/en


Bud' Zdorov, Meditsinskiy Tsentr, OOO (Be Healthy Clinic)

This a network of modern multidisciplinary clinics at the federal level with a wide range of outpatient and dental services, highly qualified specialists, the latest diagnostic and laboratory equipment.

Address: Комсомольский просп., 28

Moscow, Russia

Tel: +7 495 782-88-82

Website (Russian): klinikabudzdorov.ru/moscow



Medincentre is a high-end medical institution with a polyclinic and a 100-bed hospital. Our modern facilities also house a 24/7 emergency service. As of 01.03.2014, Medincentre has 190 highly qualified doctors representing a variety of medical specialties, as well as offering a wide scope of outpatient and in-patient services. Our staff speaks foreign languages and applies latest technologies for delivering quality medical care.

Address: 4-th Dobrininsky Lane, House 4, Moscow, 117049, Russia

Tel: +7 952 36 3116

Fax: +7 95 237 8475

Website: medin.ru/eng


JSC Medicina

This is an interdisciplinary medical center: it has a polyclinic, an inpatient facility, a trauma section, oncology center and 24 hour ambulance. Medicina Clinic has one of the best diagnostic facilities in Moscow. Its interdisciplinary inpatient facility has 4 "smart" operating theaters, including a hybrid operating room.

Address: 10, 2-nd Tverskoy-Yamskoy per., Moscow, 125047, Russia

Tel: +7 495 995 0033

Fax: +7 495 250 9180

Website: en.medicina.ru


American Clinic Intermedicenter

The clinic offers an array of services including Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Gynecology, Cardiology, Neurology, Dentistry and Traumatology.

Address: 1/6 building 3, 4th Monetchikovskiy side-street, Moscow, 115054, Russia

Tel: +7 495 937 57 57

Fax: +7 495 937 57 74

Website: www.intac.ru/en


German Dental Care

The clinic is equipped with the latest technology from SIEMENS and SIRONA, uses special facilities for root canal treatment, and has proven very successful in implantology and other complex procedures.

Address: Yuliusa Fuchika street 11/13, Metro Mayakovskaya, Belorusskaya, Moscow, Russia

Tel: +7 495 926 1520

Website: http://www.en.gdcare.ru/


Us Dental Care

Address: 7/5 Bolshaya Dmitrovka ul, bldg 2, Moscow, 125 009, Russia

Tel: +7 495 933 8686

Fax: +7 495 933 8687

Website (Russian): usdentalcare.com