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    NEARLY 25,000 DEPORTED FROM MOSCOW IN 2003

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    MOSCOW, February 25 (RIA Novosti) - Over 24,000 foreigners were deported from Moscow last year, Alexander Barabanshchikov, the head of the passport-visa board of the Moscow Main Interior Department, told a RIA Novosti press conference on Wednesday.

    He noted that foreign nationals are deported for violating the rules of stay in Russia. "The deportation is funded by the deported person, his relatives or the organization that invited him if the organization violated its registration and accommodation obligations. The deportation is also done at the expense of the Russian budget," Mr. Barabanshchikov said.

    He recalled that until January 1, 2006, citizens of the former Soviet Union can obtain Russian Federation citizenship if they were registered in the Russian Federation by July 1, 2002 or have permission to permanently stay in Russia.

    He also explained that a foreigner who has resided in Russia for over 3 months has to receive permission for temporary residence of up to 3 years. "In a year he may apply for permanent residence to receive a residence permit. We issue approximately 5,000 residence permits annually," Mr. Barabanshchikov said.

    He recalled that people who want to have Russian citizenship have to file an application to the visas and permissions division of the Interior Board of the Moscow administrative districts in their places of residence. "Citizenship applications from minors (under 18 years old) are received by the passport-visa board of the Moscow Main Interior Department," he said.

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