Last Updated: December 25, 2023
Russian Student Visa
Russia with its internationally recognized educational system provides a multitude of opportunities to international students, covering a diverse field of study. Russiaās leading universities with top world rankings, good educational resources, and excellent facilities combined with a rich and prestigious culture make it one of the top attractive destinations for students to pursue their higher education. Every year Russia draws thousands of students from different parts of the world, presenting them with numerous opportunities to shape their career paths. Whether a student is considering applying for higher studies in Russia or is already in the process of applying, the most significant step to take into account is acquiring a comprehensive knowledge of the visa application process.
Choosing a Course
Russia offers a wide range of courses for undergraduates, graduates, masters, and research students. Before initiating the application process, make sure to explore the plethora of educational programs offered by the State Universities and Private Institutions, and once the course is selected, the student can move on to preparing a list of universities offering these courses and the eligibility criteria. The top courses in Russia are:
- Computer science
Types of Student Visas for International Students and their Validity
There are two distinct types of educational visas offered by Russia depending upon the duration of stay:
- Short-term stay visa which is valid for up to 3 months and is eligible for students looking to apply for internships, language courses, and short-term diploma courses for a maximum duration of 3 months.
- Long stay student visa that holds the validity for 1 year is applicable if the student wants to pursue full-time courses in the University. Initially, the visa is granted for a short-term stay of 3 months only, however, the student can apply for an extension at the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Interior Ministry of Russia. After that, a student is granted a 1-year multi-entry visa which can be renewed and further extended for one year at a time, as per the requirements. The same process can be repeated till the completion of the course takes place.
- Humanitarian visa is a special type of visa that is granted to post-doctoral researchers or students attending seminars related to the field of science or culture and is valid for 1 year.
Who Needs to Apply for the Russian Student Visa?
Citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are exempted from applying for a visa as they are permitted to enter Russia carrying their national passports only. Some countries also have visa-free arrangements with Russia which allows for their citizens to enjoy a short-term stay extending up to 3 months. However, it is advisable to go for a proper visa application process in case the student is planning for a long-term stay in the country.
Students from countries such as Azerbaijan, Abkhazia, Southern Ossetia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Armenia and Uzbekistan do not need a visa.
Cost of Russian Student Visa
The total cost involved in the visa application process can vary from country to country as different aspects are taken into consideration to determine the overall cost. The final amount usually covers the Processing fee, VFS service charge, and optional Value Added Services (which the student may or may not pay).
Please note that all the payments made in this case are non-refundable.
Steps to Applying for a Russian Student Visa
A foreign student must first ascertain whether they need a visa in order to study in Russia. If so, they should start the process of applying for a German entry visa. The following steps must be taken by interested candidates:
Getting an Invitation Letter
The first step in applying for a student visa in Russia is choosing a university or other type of educational facility. Foreign nationals are able to enroll in Russian universities on a private or government-funded basis. The majority of the time, applicants to universities must submit official, translated copies of their identification documents and academic transcripts. It may occasionally be necessary for candidates to pass the Uniform State Examination (EGE).
Once admitted to the university, students can proceed with obtaining a visa. To submit their visa application, candidates must have an original invitation. There are two kinds of situations for applicants:
- Candidates who were selected for admission to a Russian university based on a competitive process (quotas) receive invitations from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They receive the six-digit invitation number at a Rossotrudnichestvo office, which they provide when submitting the visa application.
- The invitation would come from the university if the applicant paid for their education or was accepted via a regular admissions process.
Gathering the Documents and Beginning the Application Process
As soon as candidates receive their invitation letter (also known as Visa Support), they can start the process of applying for a student visa. The documents required may differ depending on the country, but the following are common documents required by all candidates.
Documents Required While Applying for Russian Student Visa:
- International passport (original) with at least two blank pages and a copy of the front page
- One completed and signed copy of the Russian student visa application form.
- Two passport-sized pictures with the backs signed.
- Original invitation letter from the university or other educational institution where the candidate is enrolled in the course, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or one of its regional offices.
- Certificates attesting to their current level of education, degree, or diploma.
- Evidence of payment of the tuition at the university, college, or institute where they intend to study.
- Original Certificate of HIV (AIDS) Test with a negative result no more than three months old
The candidate must indicate that they intend to depart Russia at the conclusion of their permitted stay.
- Parental consent if the student is below 18 years of age.
Candidates can apply for the visa at a Russian Embassy or Consulate in their nation after obtaining the necessary paperwork. They will need to make an appointment at the Consulate or Embassy of Russia. Students should confirm if their embassies accept walk-in submissions during office hours. Students will then need to pay the fees required for the visa application process.
Waiting for Decision on Visa and Reaching Russia
Students must now wait for the outcome of their visa application. After being accepted, students can arrange their trip to Russia. A migration card will be given to students upon their arrival in the nation.
Students entering Russia must register with the migration authorities within 90 days of their arrival, failing which they risk facing severe fines. Foreign nationals living in the Russian Federation are required to submitĀ official photos, fingerprinting, and medical exams.
Steps to be Taken to Extend the Stay in Russia
The students are granted a short-term visa of 3 months initially and it can be extended depending upon the duration of the course. A request for a visa extension should be made 30-40 days before the date of expiration at the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Interior Ministry of Russia.
After this, the student will be issued a 1-year multi-entry visa which can be used to travel in and out of Russia for a specified duration. The student needs to reapply for the extension before the expiry of their 1-year visa depending upon the duration of the course.
Please note that every time a visa extension is requested, the student also needs to register at the Migration Office. The students can contact the International Office of their respective Universities to extract further information. Hereās a step-by-step guide to applying for the visa extension process:
- Fill in the online visa extension application form with the correct details.
- The student needs to pay a state duty of 1600 rubles after signing the visa services agreement at the Migration and Visa Support Office.
- After that, the student will be asked to visit the Migration and Visa Support Office along with the following list of documents:
- Migration card,
- Registration slip,
- two passport size photographs,
- state duty payment receipt.
- The passport is usually returned the very next day. However, it takes at least 30 days for a new visa to be issued.
- The student needs to appear at the office again on the day of the appointment with his/her passport, migration card, and registration slip. The 1-year visa can be renewed annually, following the same procedure, until the completion of the course.
Working While Studying in Russia
To work while studying in Russia, international students must obtain the necessary permit from the regional office of the Interior Ministry's General Administration for Migration Issues. These permits are typically valid for a year. Only enrolled full-time students at universities with state accreditation are eligible to receive permits. Students are limited to working in the area (city) where their university is located and in accordance with the profession listed in their work permit. Students typically need to wait around 10 days for their regional Federal Migration Service to issue them a work permit. In order to apply for the permit, the following paperwork is needed:
- Migration card for passport holders
- Payment of the feeĀ received (RUB 3,500)
- Contract of employment
- A document attesting to the absence of HIV, infectious diseases, and drug addiction
- A declaration from the university attesting to the student's enrollment in a foundational full-time course
- Students don't need a permit if:
- they work on holidays.
- they are working toward completing a traineeship or internship.
- outside of class hours, they work during their leisure time at the university or its affiliated organizations.
- they are a student from a Eurasian Economic Union member state.
Steps to Extend the Stay in Russia After Completion of the Course
The students can apply to work with the foreign students at the University Department 20-40 days before their visa expiration date. Hereās a list of all the documents needed to ensure the visa extension:
- Application form with a colored passport-size photograph
- International passport
- Contract/Assignment for study issued by the Ministry of Education and Science of RF
- Intercession from the University explaining the reason for visa extension
- A receipt confirming the payment of state duty
- The detachable section of the notification form, issued by the respective University.
- Admission form
Some Things to Remember
- All documents are required to be translated into the Russian language, duly certified by the Consulate Office.
- A valid visa is required for exiting the country, and those who overstay their visa-even by a single day-will not be allowed to leave the country until their sponsor applies for an extension on their behalf. The approval of an exit visa by Russian authorities could take up to 20 calendar days.
- If they work without a permit, students could be subject to severe fines.
- Students who want to work must be older than 18 years.
- The international student should at least start with the application 40-45 days before the actual travel date to ensure the smooth working of the entire process.
- The student should carry a valid passport with at least two blank pages. The student may be asked to produce some additional documents by the Russian Embassy.
- Do thorough research and acquire knowledge about the grants and scholarships offered by the Universities of the Russian Government. There are plenty of funding options provided by the government to help International students meet their financial objectives.