A foreign student who wants to study in Russia requires a Russian student visa to fulfil this purpose. In order to apply for a Russian student visa, a student must first secure a place at a Russian educational institute. It is granted to those international students who are enrolled on academic or language courses in Russia.
The Russia student visa is issued as a single entry visa that is initially granted for a period of 3 months to 1 year. It is an extendable visa that can be extended depending on the duration of the course of study. It may be converted into a multiple-entry visa after three months of the student’s arrival in Russia.
3 stages of Russian student visa application process
A Russian student visa process has three stages-invitation letter, visa application and visa registration.
Stage 1 – Invitation letter
The first stage to obtain a student visa to Russia is to acquire an invitation letter. It is also referred to as ‘visa support.’ After you secure admission in an educational institute in Russia, a letter of Invitation will be issued to you from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or its Regional Office.
In case Regional Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not situated in the region where you plan to study in, an invitation letter must be issued by the University, Institute or College where you have enrolled for your course of study.
The invitation must be issued on the official letter head of the University or Institute or College and must be signed by the rector. The invitation must be certified either by the Office for International Affairs of the local administration or by the local office of the Ministry of Interior.
Stage 2 – Visa Application
The second stage to obtain a student visa to Russia is to apply for the visa at a Russian embassy or consulate. Before applying for a student visa to Russia a student must check the rules of application and the required visa fees from the Russian embassy in his or her home country.
Stage 3 – Visa Registration
The third and final stage to obtain a student visa to Russia is to register the visa upon arrival in Russia. After a student arrives in Russia he or she must register the student visa within seven days of arrival. Normally it is done by the University or the educational institute where the student enrolled for the course of study.
Eligibility criteria for Russian student visa
To be eligible for Russian student visa you must fulfil the following conditions:
- You must have a valid and signed passport that has at least two blank pages
- Your passport must have a validity that extends the duration of the visa you are applying for by at least 6 months
- You must have a copy of your Russian visa application form, completed and signed by you
- You must have the original letter of invitation issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or its Regional Office or the University or educational institute where you have enrolled for your course
- You must provide certificates of your current diploma or degree or educational qualification
- You must provide proof of tuition fee payment to the University or College or Institute where you plan to study
- You must provide an original HIV (AIDS) Test Certificate showing a negative result. The test must be a recent one and must not have been conducted more than three months ago
- You must display your intention to leave Russia at the end of your authorized stay
Steps to follow to apply for a Russian student visa
Before you apply for Russian student visa, check the time needed for the visa application process to be completed. Once you are sure of that, you can go ahead with the application procedure mentioned below.
Step 1: Obtain Invitation Letter or Visa Support
As mentioned earlier, the first step towards obtaining a Russian student visa is to get an invitation letter after being enrolled in a University or College or Educational Institute. It will be provided to you by the inviting college or institute or University.
Step 2: Fill out the Visa Application Form
Fill the Russian student visa application form online and print the completed visa application form. You can also download the application form and then fill it up. Remember to sign the completed visa application form.
Step 3: Gather the required documents
Make a check list of the documents that you need to submit along with your application form. Gather all the documents and keep them ready for submission.
Step 4: Get the visa photograph taken
Provide your recent colour photograph for the visa application. Make sure that your photograph matches or corresponds to all the specifications required for visa photographs. In most cases you will need to submit at least two passport photographs along with your visa application form. You will also need to sign the photographs on the reverse side.
Step 5: Keep the visa application fee ready
Keep ready the visa application fee that you will need to submit along with your application form. Check with the Russian embassy or consulate in your home country to find out the fees and the mode of payment accepted by them.
Step 6: Submit the visa application form
Submit your visa application at your local Russian Embassy for a single entry student visa. You will have to submit the visa application and the required documents along with the required application fee in person.
Generally Russian embassies do not accept visa applications and documents from authorized persons, representatives or agents under any circumstance. You will be provided a receipt after you submit the visa application and the required fee.
Step 7: Wait for the visa decision
After submission, wait for a decision to be taken regarding your visa application. You will be provided a date on which you can get in touch with the embassy regarding the visa. Contact the embassy on that date to know if you have been granted the visa.
Step 8: Collect the student visa
Collect the visa on the specified date. To collect your visa you must carry the receipt given to you after the submission of your application form and visa fee.
Step 9: Obtain a Migration Card
You will need to obtain a migration card at the point of entry into Russia. It is a form that you must complete and submit at passport control. Half of the form will be kept at the passport control and half will be returned to you after being stamped. You must retain your half till you exit Russia.
Step 10: Register the student visa
You must get your visa registered within seven days of your entry in Russia. In case of student visas, it is normally the inviting party (University or College or Language School or Institute) that arranges for the visa registration of the students.
You will have to provide your passport with the Russian student visa and the migration card to the University’s or educational institute’s foreign department. After your registration is done, you will be provided with a proof of your visa registration, which you must retain carefully till you exit the country.
Extension of Russian student visa
In case your course is longer than three months, your student visa will be extended after you arrive in Russia. The visa will be valid for the entire duration of your course. You may convert your single entry visa to multiple-entry visa depending on the length and type of your course.
Note that once your visa is converted or extended, you will be issued a new visa in your passport.
Fees for Russian Student Visa
The fees required for Russian student visa varies according to the country that issued the passport to the student. However, note that your application fee will not be refunded if your application for a student visa is refused or rejected for any reason.
Dos and don’ts of Russian student visa
You need to remember the following dos and don’ts while applying for Russian student visa.
- Apply for a student visa at least three months in advance of your planned travel date to allow enough time for the application procedure to be completed on time
- Fill up your application form carefully with all accurate details
- Provide photos that are of matt finish and not glossy finish
- Bring original copies and photocopies of all supporting documents when you come to submit your visa application form at the application centre
- Consult the Russian embassy or consulate in your country to check whether any additional document is required
- Do not present false documents for your student visa
- Do not hide or misrepresent facts in your application