Studying in Russia is a huge opportunity to visit historical places and interact with people with different cultures. Russia has popular universities that grant students various benefits.

On this webpage we intend to walk you through the process to apply for a Russia student visa, highlighting the eligibility criteria, requirements, and processing time.

Russia student visa eligibility

Most foreign citizens need a Russia student visa to study in Russia. In addition, Russia is not a member of the European Union or European Free Trade Association, so European Union or European Free Trade Association citizens cannot enter Russia without a visa.

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) citizens do not require a visa for study in Russia, which include the following countries:

  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Moldova
  • Tajikistan
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan

Citizens of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, or Ukraine do not require a visa, but a valid passport is required. However, suppose you are from Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, South Ossetia, Tajikistan, or Uzbekistan. In that case, you can come to Russia to study without a passport or visa. Simple as that!

Several other countries have signed visa-free agreements with Russia for short-term stays of 14 to 90 days. Therefore, citizens of these mentioned nations do not need a visa to enter Russia. Still, once they enter Russia, they must apply for a Russia student visa to the Russian General Directorate of Migratory Affairs (GUVM).

These agreements usually apply to visitors or tourists with a limit of up to three months. For longer courses, please consider using a Russia student visa. More importantly, the information is in our guide to Russia visas and residence permits.

Suppose you are doing postdoctoral exploration or participating in courses and need a visa to enter Russia. In this very case, you should apply for a humanitarian visa. For scientific or cultural purposes, its validity period is up to one year.

Processing Time Russia student visa

The visa is generally issued within two to five weeks. Visa centers typically provide fast-track services for an additional fee. The cost will vary depending on your residence, so contact the Consulate of the Russian Embassy or Visa Center for confirmation.

Visa costs Russia student visa

Russia student visa fees are different from country to country. However, you can ensure the exact fee by calling the Russia embassy in your country.

Russia student visa validity

The Russia student visa is issued during the first three months. Then, you need to apply to the local department of the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation (FMS) to extend your visa.

FMS issues a multi-visa, allowing you to enter Russia for one year. Then, before the expiration of your visa, you must apply for an extension for another year. You will then continue in this way throughout your academic curriculum.

Russia student visa application process

We divide the Russia visa application process into ten simple steps. If you follow the following steps, you will gain the most excellent chance of success in your application.

Acceptance of the University of your Choice quota

Receive confirmation of your successful application to the University and pay the registration fees.

Receive an invitation to travel to Russia

Your University will contact the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation on your behalf. The ministry will send you a travel invitation letter, also called a visa support document.

Fill in the visa application form online

Visit the official website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and fill in the electronic visa application form.

Save and print the online form

Enure to save changes during the process and confirm that your particulars are correct before printing. You must paste your passport size photo in the box on the form label.

Gather supporting documents

You need to submit several documents along with the visa application form, so it would be great to organize these documents. You can find the complete list of what you need in the next section.

Submit your application and documentation in person

Visit the nearest Russian consulate or visa processing center and send a hard copy of your documents.

Pay the application fee

You need to pay the fee before they process your application. The fee will depend on your citizenship.

Wait for a decision

The decision time is usually ten days, but it might take more than 30 days in complex situations. If you need to receive the decision faster, you can pay an extra express fee.

Travel to Russia and receive an immigration card

At the border, you will be asked to fill out the so-called immigration card. The authorities will keep part of the card, and you will take the other part.

Register your student visa within seven days of your arrival

Your accommodation provider must do this registration, and will require a copy of your passport, visa, and immigration card.

Russia student visa requirements

Presenting accurate and valid documents is an essential part of the visa application process. The following is a list usually required by the Russian authorities:

  • Supporting document, a Russian travel invitation, or visa
  • Filled and printed visa application form
  • A valid passport for the next six months after the expiry of the valid visa application that you want to request
  • Passport-sized photo (attached on the printed form of visa application)
  • Accommodation proof
  • Proof that you are financially able to pay for your expenses
  • Issued HIV/AIDS certificate in the last three months
  • Medical insurance document

Can your family members come along to Russia?

According to the Russian family reunion rules, your spouse and family members (children under 18, and sometimes elderly parents or grandparents) can obtain accompanying family visas.

A different application on behalf of each member of the family should be submitted. If your relatives get a visa, they will not be allowed to work or study in Russia. Their visa period will not exceed yours.

Can you work while studying in Russia?

Based on the new law that took effect on August 4, 2020, international students in Russia are able to work up to twenty hours a week without applying for additional work permits.

Before, the law only allowed international students to work at their universities during their free time or holidays. Now, as long as their contract ends while studying, students have the right to find part-time jobs outside the institution.

What if your application is denied?

If you strictly follow the application procedures, it is unlikely that your student visa will be rejected. In other words, the possibility that you will receive a rejection is always less.

The Russian authorities are not required to provide the reasons for the rejection, but this may be because the documents you submitted are incomplete or your application contains inaccuracies.

If so, don’t panic. As long as you correct the error and attach the required documents, you can reapply at the consulate closest to you. After that, you need to pay the visa application fee again.

Russia student visa extension

If you want to continue studying in Russia, you must extend your visa. If you stay in Russia with an expired visa, you may face a fine of 5,000 to 7,000 rubles, and you may be barred from entering Russia for five years in the future. In addition, you must contact your University’s international office at least 30 to 40 days before the expiration of your visa.

Let’s recap!

Being aware of all the angles of a Russia student visa, now you are able to apply for it. It is as easy as we have explained. However, in case of any ambiguity, feel free to contact our consultants through the online chat section or the comments.

To know more about other types of visas worldwide, visit our website’s menu. In case you have any experience with a Russia student visa, share it here so that others can take advantage.

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