About Visa in Russia
The majority of international applicants who want to study in Russia will need a passport and a visa. International applicants from Azerbaijan, Abkhazia, Southern Ossetia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Armenia and Uzbekistan do not need a visa. Applicants from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine need their national passport to visit Russia. Prospective students from other countries, including the CIS countries not mentioned above need an international passport to come to Russia. Even though Russia has visa-free arrangements with many countries, the duration of a visa-free stay is limited to 1 or 3 months, as such arrangements are designed for tourists, not long-term visitors. In theory, a student from a country which has visa-free arrangements with Russia can enter using only their passport, but after the permitted stay is over they will have to leave the country and re-enter it with a valid student visa. Therefore, it is simply better to get a student visa in the first place. Visiting Russian compatriots also have to provide relevant ID.
Where to Apply for Student Visa
Student visas are obtained through the Russian Embassy (Consular Department) or Russian Consulate in a country of your residence. In certain countries there are authorised visa centres which provide such services.
Duration of Stay under Student Visa
Initially, a student visa is issued for three months. After this period you should apply to the local division of the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Interior Ministry of Russia for a visa extension. The FMS issues a one-year multi-visa which allows you to travel to and from Russia within the validity period of the visa. When your visa is about to expire, you should apply for a further 1-year extension, and carry on in this manner for the duration of your academic programme.
Starting from December 2017, international students who completed pre-university training and passed entrance examinations to enrol in a basic education programme can have their student visa extended in Russia, they needn’t to travel back to their home country for visa processing.
Documents Required for Student Visa Obtainment
-International passport (original) and a copy of the front page.
-Official invitation for entry to Russia (original). Please refer to the section on Obtaining an Invitation for more details.
-Application form (you can fill in the e-form here).
-Photograph 3.5 x 4.5 cm (1.18 x1.57 inches).
-HIV-negative status certificate.
-For applicants under 18 years – parental consent to travel certified by a notary.