How to Get Your Russia Student Visa

study in russia

How to Get Your Russia Student Visa

Citizens from most foreign countries will need a Russian student visa to study in Russia. Russia is not a member state of the EU/EFTA, so there is no visa-free entry to Russia for EU/EFTA citizens. Citizens from Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries do not need a visa to enter and study in Russia. These countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan plus the autonomous regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In 2015, citizens from these countries reportedly made up more than half of the 283,000 international students studying in Russia. If you are a citizen of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan or Ukraine you don’t need a visa but you do need a valid passport. If you’re a citizen of Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Southern Ossetia, Tajikistan or Uzbekistan you can come to Russia to study without a passport or visa.

Several other countries have limited visa-free arrangements with Russia for short stays of between 14–90 days. Citizens of these countries can enter Russia without a visa but will need to sort out a Russian student visa from the Russian General Directorate of Migratory Affairs (GUVM) once inside the country. These agreements are more designed for tourists and, with restrictions of up to three months, for longer courses you should consider a Russian student visa instead. For more information on which countries can enter Russia without a visa, see our guide to Russian visas and residence permits.

For citizens of countries that need a visa to enter Russia (which includes most EU/EFTA states), a Russian student visa will need to be obtained before travelling to Russia. A Russian student visa is valid for 90 days but can be extended to a year and then renewed after that for the duration of the study. This visa is valid for study in any Russian college or university or for any short-term courses.

If you are travelling to Russia to engage in post-doctoral research or to attend academic seminars and require a visa to enter Russia, you can apply for a Russian Humanitarian Visa. It is valid for up to a year for purposes including those related to science or culture. See our article on Russian visas and permits for more information.

Russian student visas are initially issued for three months. You then have to apply to the local division of the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation (FMS of Russia) to extend your visa. The FMS will issue you with a multi-visa which will allow you to enter and leave Russia for a period of one year. Before the visa expires at the end of the year, you have to apply to extend the visa for a further year. You then continue in this way throughout your academic course.

Russian study visa requirements

You can start applying for a student visa up to 45 days before you plan to travel to Russia. You must apply through the Russian Embassy or consulate in your home country. There are also authorised visa centres in some countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. You may be denied entry into Russia on a student visa if you are HIV-positive. The complete Russian student visa processing time can be lengthy, taking from two to five weeks to process the visa, besides the time required prior to that to secure a study placement and receive the necessary invitation to apply for a visa. The requirements and application processes can be broken down into the following stages.

  1. Step 1: Invitation letter to study in Russia Before you can apply for a student visa, you first need to be accepted onto a course at a university so you can get an official invitation to come to Russia to study. A list of Russian universities, colleges and places of academic learning can be found

  2. Step 2: Financing your Russian studies and scholarships You will need to make sure you can cover your course and study costs in Russia. If you are looking to study at a state university in Russia or a university with state-funded places, you may be eligible to apply for a government scholarship. There is also state funding available to students from CIS countries.

  3. Step 3: Applying to study in Russia You can apply to up to six Russian educational institutions (typically no more than two in each federal region). You may need to pass an exam, attend an interview or undergo a competitive selection process, depending on where you are applying to and where you are from. If you are successful and accepted onto a course, you will then receive an invitation with which you can apply for a Russian student visa.

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