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Getting a student visa to Russia

I don't have my student visa yet, but I'm making progress. There were a few surprises along the way, and it's been harder than I initially thought.

The basic procedure is:

-contact the university/place of study to find out your options and start the invitation process
-while waiting for your invitation, find out from the consulate what else is required
-send the invitation with everything else to the travel agent or consulate
-upon arrival in Russia, register within 3 days
-check in with the university to determine your class schedule/settle fees
-if you want to stay longer than 90 days, apparently, you arrive on a 90-day visa and extend it once you're already in Russia (haven't done this yet)

Here are a few things I was not expecting: +/-

1) Invitation processing time=at least 4-5 weeks. They told me 1 month and it has been over 5 weeks. Make sure you factor that in. Invitations are pretty hard to expedite, unless you use a travel agency, and even then it's limited to certain types of visas.

2) The Russian Consulate requires an HIV test for a student visa of any duration. At least, the one in NYC does, according to the website. For other types of visas this is usually not necessary for 90 days or less.

3) The visa application for U.S. citizens has changed slightly. It actually looks like all the information is the same, just in a slightly different format. It drove me crazy trying to fill it out online and print it out. If you can write small, you might want to just print it out and fill in everything by hand. Or get it into Word format and play around with fonts.


  1. В общем, как всегда российские бардак и неразбериха... :(

  2. Don't worry about it, it sounds more difficult than it really is. I've lived in Russia for five years and I've only had a student visa and I've never had any trouble. The main thing is to get a good contact person at ther university where you intend to study. This person should be a professor who understands your needs as a student, and - in the best of worlds - your situation as a foreigner in such a strange country as Russia. But once you've found such a person, things will become much easier. In Russia you always need to know people to get things done. Can seem distressing to start with, but it will work out. I'm sure it will!

  3. Да, к вам непросто попасть. :) А с видом на жительство будет еще веселее!

    Josefine, thanks so much, that is good to hear. Whenever I read the requirements, I think the same thing...they are making it more complicated than it is. I have gotten a Russian visa 15-20 times, but each time I still get nervous. And it's my first time for the student visa, but it doesn't seem much different than other types.

  4. Visa pour la Russie,voucher touristique, l’invitation affaires, assurance, appartements à louer.
    visa to russia/

  5. visa to russia - visa touristique, visa d'affaires, voucher touristique, l'invitation d'affaires, assurance, appartements à louer visa russe - Différents types de visa


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