Moving to USNewsApr 10, 2024

How to Move to the USA from Russia?

Over the past couple of years, almost one million Russians have left their motherland due to political and other circumstances. Many of those 1 million chose to relocate to the US, despite the fact that the relations between these two countries have declined.

In this article, we’ll provide you with crucial information on how to move to the USA from Russia. We’ll tell you all about different types of US visa for Russian citizens, and we’ll discuss some of the most important steps you should consider before you start your journey to the States. 

Let’s start!

Can Russians Travel to USA?

Yes, although the process is more complicated than it was a couple of years ago due to recent geopolitical developments. The US consulates and the embassy in Russia have stopped issuing non-immigrant type visas (tourist, travel, or student visas, etc.) since 2021. This means that the only type of US visa that Russians can obtain in Russia (i.e. US diplomatic institutions located in Russia) are migrant-type visas, reserved for those looking to make a permanent move to the US

However, if you’re from Russia, there is a way to get a tourist US visa, and it involves setting up an interview at the US consulate or embassy in a foreign country. Most Russians looking to get a US visa will fly to Serbia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Poland, or even the United Arab Emirates and try to set up an interview with the US authorities there. 

Before you can get an appointment with the US embassy or consulate, you may need to obtain permanent or temporary residence in the country where those diplomatic institutions are located. 

This is the main hurdle Russians looking to move to the US will have to deal with. Apart from that, everything else about the process, including the required documents and the types of visas that Russian nationals can apply for, is the same.

can Russians travel to usa and how

Can Russians Travel to USA? Sole Exception

We should mention that there is one exception to the problems associated with making a move from Russia to USA — dual citizenship

Russian citizens who also hold a passport from another country might have an easier time getting a US visa if they use their non-Russian citizenship to apply for it. In fact, they are the biggest winners of this whole ordeal and can serve as a shining example of why it’s important to always have a plan B, especially in times of crisis. And, if you have the right passport, you might be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program, which will allow you to travel to the US without the need to get a visa. 

But, if you’re not one of those lucky dual-passport holders, keep reading to learn more about how can Russians travel to USA

Move From Russia to USA: Is It Worth It?

The main reason for moving from Russia to America boils down to the financial and economic situations of these two respective countries. 

Economy Size

The US has the largest economy in the world, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of around 25 trillion dollars. In contrast, the Russian economy is much smaller and is about 2,4 trillion dollars. The size of the economy, along with the country’s GDP, is one of the most accurate predictors of job opportunities in a specific country. And in the US, there’s just more work, which is why a lot of Russian nationals choose to move to the States. 

Average Salary

Apart from more opportunities to find employment, another thing that greatly favours the US over Russia is the average yearly salary. In Russia, on average, people are making just under $15,000 per year. On the other hand, in the US, the average yearly salary is around $63,795, which is more than 4 times higher than in Russia.

Cost of Living

The only thing where Russia beats the US, in terms of economy, is the cost of living. In Russia, average monthly expenses are just around $1,800 per month. On the other hand, the cost of living in the US can range between $2,500 and $4,000 per month, depending on the exact state, county, or even neighborhood. 

In short, the average salary is 4 times higher in the US. At the same time, the average cost of living is between 1,4 and 2,3 times higher in the US than it is in Russia.

russians can travel to usa

How To  Move From Russia to America: 3 Main Steps to Consider 

Because of the Russian government’s new policies, there are more restrictions on who can leave the country and for what reason. For example, people in the army reserves or those who work for the government are not permitted to leave Russia without obtaining a “special permit”. So, before taking any steps to move from Russia to America, make sure you can actually leave Russia first. 

With that short disclaimer out of the way, here are the most important steps to consider before you move from Russia to America:

1. Learn About Different Visa Categories

There are many different types of US visas that you, as a Russian citizen, can apply for. Most popular are, of course, immigrant work visas:

US Work Visas for Russian Citizens

  • H-1B Visa — Russian nationals can work in the US for a designated period of time. This type of visa lasts one year and can be extended two times or for two additional years and to a maximum of three.
  • L-1 Visa — Russian nationals can move to the US as part of an intracompany transfer to a US-based branch of their company of employment.

US Travel Visas for Russian Citizens

Apart from immigrant work visas, there are also two types of non-immigrant travel visas that Russians can get for the purposes of visiting the US. They are:

  • B-1 Visa — Also known as a business visa, this visa gives Russian citizens temporary permission to enter the US to conduct business. 
  • B-2 Visa — Also known as a tourist visa, this visa gives Russian citizens temporary permission to enter the US for recreational purposes. 

US Student Visas for Russian Citizens

  • F-1 Visa — Also known as the Academic Student Visa, this type of visa is available to Russians who wish to study in the US. The first step to qualifying for an F-1 visa is to get accepted at a US-located college, university, or other accredited academic institution. 
  • J-1 Visa — Or Exchange Visitor Visa, is for Russians participating in an academic exchange program with the US. Sadly, no such program is active at the moment due to the international relations between these two countries.

2. Prepare Documentation

At the time of writing this article (April 2024), the only way for a Russian citizen to get a non-immigrant US visa is to go to another country and apply for it there. The most common countries where this is done are Serbia, Poland, and Kazakhstan. 

Once you get to a foreign country, you’ll need to visit a US embassy or a consulate and apply for a visa there. But before you do so, you should ensure you have all the documents ready. For the most part, and depending on the exact type of visa you’re looking to get, you’ll need to have the following documentation:

  • Make sure you have a valid passport. 
  • In some cases, you’ll need medical exam documents (some types of visas will require you to undergo a medical exam).  
  • You need to prepare at least two passport-sized photos ( 2 x 2 inches or 51 x 51 mm in size). The photos should not be older than six months.
  • Based on the type of visa you’re applying for, you might need to show evidence of your financial situation (i.e., stability). To do that, you should prepare documents, such as bank statements, tax documents, and similar.
  • You need a police clearance certificate that shows you have no active warrants or a criminal record. 

3. Choose a Place in the US

While you’re learning about different visa types that will allow you to move from Russia to America and are preparing the necessary documents, you also need to think about where in the US you want to move. 

To help you pick out the right place in the States for you, you should at least take into account the following couple of things:

  • Cost of housing in the US (rent per month or value of homes);
  • Crime rates of the particular place you’re interested in moving to;
  • The quality of school districts (if you’re moving with children);
  • Job opportunities.

A flag of united states of america and russian federation

How Many Russians Live in USA?

According to the latest statistics, around 3.1 million people from Russia or with Russian ancestry live in the US. The first big wave of Russian migrants moving to the US started in the late 1800s and consisted of people fleeing religious persecution. Since then, the number of Russians living in the US on a permanent basis has continually gone up. 

What Are the Most Popular Places for Russians Moving to US?

There are a lot of Russian communities in the US. They are spread across the entirety of the country. Places in the US with the highest percentage of people with Russian ancestors include:

  • Fox River in Alaska (around 80% of people claim Russian origin)
  • Aleneve in Alaska (around 72% of people claim Russian origin)
  • Pikesville in Maryland (around 19% of people claim Russian origin)
  • Hewlett Harbor in New York (around 18,4% of people claim Russian origin)
  • Wishek in North Dakota (around 17,5% of people claim Russian origin)
  • Eureka in South Dakota (around 17,3% of people claim Russian origin)

The most popular communities for people born in Russia and who immigrated to the US are located in:

  • Millville in Delaware (8,5% of all residents are Russain born)
  • South Windham in Maine (7,8% of all residents are Russian-born)
  • South Gull Lake in Michigan (7,6% of all residents are Russian-born)
  • Loveland Park in Ohio (6,8% of all residents are Russian-born)
  • Terramuggus in Connecticut (4,7% of all residents are Russian-born)
  • Harwich Port in Massachusetts (4,6% of all residents are Russian-born)

And, lastly, the most popular big cities for Russian-Americans are:

  • New York 
  • Los Angeles 
  • San Francisco
  • Portland
  • Chicago

Meet NRI, an Agency That Helps Foreigners Enter US Real Estate Market

NRI is a full-cycle agency that helps all foreign nationals, including Russians moving to America, gain access to the US real estate market and purchase properties there. We help our clients during every step of the buying process, from introducing them to real estate agents with international experience to helping them obtain US mortgage loans. 

If you’re moving from Russia to the US and need help finding your new home, NRI is the perfect place to start! Book a free call or contact us to learn more about everything we can do for you. If you are Ukrainian and moving to the US, we’ve got you covered, too!

Founder & CEO
Luka Malkovich is a serial entrepreneur with years of experience in international real estate investing. As the CEO of Nonresident Investor, Luka’s mission is to educate foreign nationals about the US real estate market and help them secure funding and buy property in America. That’s why he’s using his expertise to turn the NRI blog into a knowledge hub for anyone interested in learning about US real estate. This article was written by a professional content writer in conjunction with Luka Malkovich. Luka has thoroughly reviewed this article and has given his final approval before publishing.

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