After completing the secondary or university degree, some students wish to pursue studies in a certain country. Russia is one of those countries that see an increasing flow of students every year. The phases of study in Russia start first by choosing a suitable university. Russia includes the best high-ranked universities. After this step, the enrollment phase comes. You have to get a student visa in Russia to be able to study in the country.
To complete this step, you have to guarantee a place first in a Russian university.
Check our article about the top Russian universities.
Stages of Getting a Student Visa in Russia
To get a study visa, you have to go through three important stages, which are the following:
The first step to get a student visa in Russia is getting an invitation letter. After you got accepted to one of the higher education institutions in Russia, you will receive an invitation letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or its regional office.
In case there is no regional office in the location you will pursue your studies in, your university will issue the invitation letter.
The invitation must be accompanied by the acceptance letter by the university, institute, or college you will study in. It has to be signed by the university’s president.
Moreover, it shall be accredited by the Office of the International Affairs in the local administration or the local office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Apply for the Visa
The second step is the process of applying for the visa in Russia through the Russian embassy or consulate in your country. Before applying for the visa, you have to learn about all the requirements and costs of the application.
The last step is getting the visa registration once you arrive to Russia. After your arrival, you shall register for the visa in a week from the arrival date. Normally, the university handles this step.
Requirements of a Student Visa in Russia
- Valid passport with at least two empty pages
- Filled and signed application form
- Original invitation letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Earned certificates
- Receipt of tuition fees payment
- Medical certificate proves that the student is free of diseases, along with a HIV-negative status certificate
- Statement indicating that you are willing to leave the country after completing your studies
- Personal photos
- Applicants who are under 18 years old need a certified parental consent to travel
Steps to Get the Student Visa
- Receive the invitation letter
- Fill the application form: download the application form and fill all the required information. After that, print it.
- Collect the required documents: attach the required documents to the application form
- Personal photos: they have to be recent and meet all the required criteria.
- Validate your request: you have to validate your request and submit all the required documents. This is in addition to paying the registration costs and fees. The student shall submit the documents in person by showing up at the Russian embassy or consulate of the home country.
- Wait for the Visa Decision: after submitting all the documents and validate your request, the embassy or consulate will set an appointment for you to review the visa decision.
- Get the migration card: you will need a migration card upon entering the country. That will be issued in the migration registration. Half of the migration form will be kept at the migration registration and the other half will be returned to you. You have to keep your half to be able to leave the country.
- Register your visa
Russian student visa processing time
Students are advised to begin their visa application process once they have been accepted in a Russian university, up to 45 days before their arrival in Russia. Processing time for a study visa in Russia can take between 7 and 20 working days. In some cases, this period can extend for up to 30 days.
Moreover, for students who are in a hurry can apply for an expedited processing of 3 working days. But to benefit from an express processing, they will need to pay a higher cost to the Russian embassy or visa center of their country.
Cost of a student visa in Russia
The fees for a student visa vary from a country to another. Also, this cost depends on whether the visa is single entry, double entry or multiple entry. It depends also on the service you choose for the processing time (express or standard). Last but not least, the student visa fee depends on the length of your study stay in Russia.
Validity of a Study Visa in Russia
Initially, the student visa is valid for a period of 3 months. Past this period, you need to apply for a visa extension to the local division of the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Russia.
There, they will grant you a one-year extension that you can renew for a further 1-year and carry on this way for the duration of your academic program.
To download the application, visit the website of the Consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
Check also our article on the cost of Studying and living in Russia to know what to expect.