Jews in the Russian Empire could live only in the Pale of Settlement and in the Congress Kingdom of Poland.
At the end of Russian Empire (1917) there were 14 groups of Jews who could live outside the Pale of Settlement after having permission granted:
- merchants belonging to the 1st guild longer than 5 years, their family, home servants and employees in their business;
- commercial or industrial counsellors with their family;
- Jews with MA and PhD degrees and University assistants with their family and two home servants;
- graduates of institution of higher education;
- pharmacy assistants, dentists, obstetrician;
- students of pharmacy, feldshery, and obstetrics;
- wives of Jews mentioned in 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 have right to stay outside the Pale after husband’s death provided that they don’t marry again. Their sons have right to stay till adulthood or gaining higher education (but not later that 25 years); daughters till marriage;
- retired soldiers and their children;
- soldiers who participated in wars in the far east;
- students in institutions of higher educations (universities, academies);
- students of Technical Institute of Petersburg may live only in Petersburg;
- active master craftsmen, submaster craftsmen with their family (wife, children and minor siblings);
- tailors working for army and military schools;
- ennobled Jews.
Of course there were additional conditions for members of each of these groups.
Temporary stay outside the Pale of Settlement, up to two months could be granted to Jews coming:
- to receive inheritance
- to claim the property
- in commercial matters and to participate in auctions of work and goods to be delivered in the Pale.
Following governorates belonged to the Russian Empire (right before the Revolution):
- Vilnius (rus. Vilna),
- Vitsyebsk (rus. Vitebsk),
- Hrodna (rus. Grodno),
- Kaunas (rus. Kovno),
- Mahilyow (rus. Mogilev),
- Kyiv (without the city of Kyiv)
Ten most west governorates (Congress Poland) did not belong to the Pale of Settlement.
These rules was regulated by the Law on Social Estates and the Law on Passports printed in vol. 9 and 14 of Свод законов Российской империи.