Former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden's lawyer confirmed Thursday that his client gets permanent residency in Russia.
Snowden, a former contractor with the U.S. National Security Agency, was living in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in the U.S. after he leaked classified documents containing detailed information on government surveillance programs.
His Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told a news agency, "Today, Snowden was handed a residency permit for an unlimited period."
Kucherena told media that his application for permanent residency was submitted in April, but immigration authorities took more time to consider it because of the ongoing pandemic. Russia's immigration laws introduced some changes in 2019 that helped Snowden to get permanent residency rights.
Snowden is not looking for Russian citizenship at this moment, added his lawyer.
Snowden, who has kept a low profile in Russia and occasionally criticized Russian government policies on social media, said last year that he was willing to return to the U.S. if he is guaranteed a fair trial.