Student Visa

Getting a Student Russian Visa

This type of visa is issued only for students, who come to Russia for study programs or enrolling on a course to a Russian university / school.
This is the best kind of visa in terms of flexibility, but you can only get it if you applied to a Russian university, school or an institution and will study there.

Studying in a university: If you are thinking about doing an exchange with one of the Russian universities (also known as "visiting scholars" or "stazhirovka" in Russian), you will need to submit your data to the university and the "foreign department" of the university will take care of all the formalities. They will submit all your data to the immigration officials and have your student invitation ready in about 2 to 6 weeks (may take longer at MGU - Moscow State University). After that, the "foreign department" of the university where you will be studying will either send you the invitation by post, by fax, or send the invitation by telex directly to the consulate where you will apply for your visa and you'll just need to know the telex number when you apply.
Usually, the student visa doesn't have a limited validity, it is extended all the time, depending on how long you study.

Studying in a language school: If your language school is attached to some Russian educational body you will get a student visa and the process will be about the same as the one described for universities above.
However, if it is a private school, they will most likely make a normal tourist (up to 1 month), or so-called "business" (which is a name for a long-term visas) invitation, which you will need to submit to a Russian consulate to get a Russian visa. Read more about tourist and business visas in our Russian Visa Types guide.

Seminars, internships: Most likely, if your seminar lasts just a few days, the best way will be to get a tourist or business visa. Actually, officially business visas are created for people who visit Russia for seminars, so it is a very appropriate type of visa for you to get. Your inviting organisation should assist you in getting this type of visa, or you can apply for it online.

When you apply to the consulate for a student visa, you'll need to pay a normal fee, which will be about the same as for a tourist visa ($50-$150, depending on processing time).

Russian Visa Registration

Once you arrive to Russia, you will need to register your visa within the first 72 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) after your arrival. It is very important to get the registration done right, so we recommend you to read our Russian Visa Registration page as well as the Status of Foreign Citizens in Russia page for comprehensive information.
It is always the obligation of your inviting party (university, language school, business organisation) to arrange your visa registration, because if they don't do it, you will have to pay fines and may be deported from Russia, and they may lose their education license. So, check beforehand that the place where you're going to study can provide your visa registration without a problem.
It is very easy for universitites to get your visa registered: you will just need to bring them your passport with Russian visa and migration cards (that you get at the border) and the university's "foreign department" will submit your documents to OVIR (immigration officials) to register your visa. It will take about 1 week and you will have a registration stamp on your visa. Normally, the registration can be done for the period of your visa, however, if it is not, it will be relatively easy to prolong it if you're still studying in the university. Just don't forget to submit your documents again when the time comes.

Other Travel Arrangements

If you want to find the cheapest flight: check out STA travel agencies in your country — they usually have the best fares for people up to 25 years old. You will need to purchase ISIC card, which makes you eligible for their fares as well as gives access to various discounts throughout the world.

Arrange your accommodation beforehand: it's not very easy to find cheap accommodation in Russia, especially in big cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, so read our Student Accommodation guide and try to find something reliable before you board your plane.

Make sure your visa registration will be fine: before arranging anything about your studies in Russia ask about your visa registration and what documents you will need. If your university requires some letter from the person you will be living with in Russia (or renting an apartment from), make sure this person can provide you with this letter, otherwise, search for a different accommodation option.

You're not only going to be studying, are you? Russia is quite an interesting country in terms of entertainment you can get, so pack your best clothes (and warm, too, if going in winter).

Visa Information

Who requires a student visa?
In all cases, a student visa will be required to study in the Russian Federation.
What documents will be required?
A passport valid for 3 months beyond intended stay
Complete visa application form
Standard passport-size pictures of the applicant
Official invitation from an authorized organization in Russia (I.e. Language school, tourist agency)
Time required to issue visa:
Generally, up to 14 days. Faster processing time is sometimes possible, at additional cost.
What is the cost of a visa?
Varies, depending on nationality. Approx. USD$30 for student visa.
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How long is the visa valid for?
Student visas are valid for the duration of the study program, and are single-entry.
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Other information:
Your Russian visa must be registered within 72 hours of arrival in Russia. Registration can be completed at a hotel, at the inviting organization/travel agency, or at the UVIR.
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Embassy contact information:
Please contact the nearest Russian embassy for information on what documentation you may require to enter Russia.
Embassy of Russia (US)

All information on this page has been carefully investigated. However the information is provided without any warranty.

Types of Visa

   Most foreign tourists need to obtain a Russian travel visa before visiting Russia. Depending on the puprose and length of visit one can apply for different types of visa. This section of our website covers the following types:

  • Tourist Visa
  • Business Visa
  • Visitor's Visa
  • Student Visa
  • Transit Visa
  • Cruise Passengers

    Tourist Visa

       A Russia tourist visa is issued for those travelers who visit Russia for tourism purposes. This type of visa is the most popular one, as it's the least expensive and the easiest to get. A Tourist visas are valid for up to 1 month and allow either a single or double entry and exit. Tourist visa cannot be extended.
       To obtain a Russian tourist visa visitors should confirm accommodation and invitation from a travel agency or another organization authorized by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Business Visa

       Businesspeople can apply for a Russia business visa that can be valid for a period up to 1 year. A Business visa can be single-entry, double-entry and multiple-entry. Single-entry and double-entry visas are valid for 1 or 3 months. Multiple-entry visas are valid for 3, 6 or 12 months.
       To obtain a Russian business visa a business invitation issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry, by its regional representatives or special local offices of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is required.
       Business visas can be also used for non-business purposes. This kind of visa is recommended in case you are going to visit Russia more than once within a certain period of time.
       Please note that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not process applications for business visas earlier than 45 days before the first stated date of entry.

    Visitor's Visa

       Russia visitor's visa (it is also called a homestay or a private visa) is issued for visitors who have relatives or friends in Russia. This type of visa can be valid for a period from one day to three months. Visitor's visa can be only used for one entry.
       To obtain a visitor's visa to Russia it's necessary to receive a private visa invitation from your Russian friends or relatives, issued by the local department of Passport and Visa Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The invitation should be mailed to you in original.
       Please note that an invitation letter from your friends or relatives cannot be considered as an official invitation valid for obtaining a visa to Russia.

    Student Visa

       A Student visa is required to study in the Russian Federation. A Student visas are valid for the whole period of your study program. This type of visa is single-entry.
       To obtain a Russian student visa, a letter of invitation from a university or school in Russia is required.

    Transit Visa

       Transit Visa is required for travelers who visit other countries via Russia. Transit visas are valid for not more than 72 hours and can be single-entry or double-entry.
       To obtain this type of visa, visitors don't need any invitations or visa support. The Consulate will issue a transit visa provided that you present a copy of your travel documents, including a copy of your visa to the country of destination.
       Transit visas are not required for lay-overs, which last less than 24 hours without leaving the international area at the airport.

    Visas for Cruise Passengers

       Cruise ship passengers can currently visit Russia on visa-waiver scheme provided that the stop in the port of call doesn't exceed 72 hours and tourists stay overnight on board of the cruise ship. This rule doesn't apply to passengers of Finnish and some other cruise companies. This rule doesn't apply either if there is only one port of call during a voyage.
       Cruise passengers may disembark from the ship without a tourist visa if they participate in tours organized by cruise companies. Passengers, who are not participating in tours and wishing to disembark will need to obtain a Russia tourist visa. Passengers won't be permitted ashore if they don't present a valid passpost, a Russian visa and a voucher issued by a Russian travel company or another athorized organization.
       Cruise passengers cannot obtain a visa in Russia. Visas are issued in the country of residence before departure.
       We recommend that you check information on organized cruise tours and visas with your cruise company in advance.