Citizens of most countries need to apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of Russia located on the territory of their country in order to enter Russia. It is necessary to submit a package of documents when applying for visa. The list of documents may vary depending on the country where the visa is requested.

Regardless of the country, it is necessary to submit an invitation letter issued by the inviting party when applying for visa. If the foreign national intends to come to Russia for studying at higher education institutions, the designated officials of the institution are expected to take care of his/her visa documents (Vice-Rector for academic and scientific affairs, his/her deputies, Head of the Passport and Visa Department of the University or other employees).

Once a foreigner crosses the border of the Russian Federation, he/she must register with the migration authorities within the period of 3 working days (not necessary if the trip lasts less than 7 working days). Violation of migration registration procedure will result in a fine of up to 5 thousand rubles.

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Procedure of Execution of Visa Invitations for Foreign Citizens traveling to Russia

To receive an invitation to Russia, which is necessary for the student visa, a foreign citizen must first come to Russia with a tourist visa, visitor visa or business visa, and then pass an entrance examination or interview in the higher education institution. If the foreign student will be enrolled in the Russian higher education institution as a result of examination or interview, the competent officials of the respective faculty must submit the following documents to the Head of the passport and visa department of the institution:

  • rationale for admission of foreign citizens in 2 copies (rationale for admission of foreign citizen form; rationale for admission of a group of foreign citizens form)
  • Copy of the foreign student’s passport (single)
  • Request of the insitiute or faculty
  • Receipt of payment of the fee for issuance of invitation for the foreign citizen to come to the Russian Federation (in case the invitation was issued by the Federal Migration Service)

The Head of the Passport and Visa Department of the institution (or the responsible employee of the Department) should submit this package of documents to the FMS where it will be processed within 30 days. In case of a positive decision made at the FMS, an invitation will be given out to the foreign student within a month allowing him/her to apply for a student visa.

If the foreign person enrolling in a Russian higher education institution is a citizen of the EU and the duration of his/her education exceeds 90 days, the application for visa invitation must also be submitted at the FMS. Please note, that a facilitated procedure of applying for visa invitation may be applied to the citizens of the European Union. In order to benefit from it, it is necessary to submit a package of documents listed above except for the receipt for payment of the state duty. The facilitated procedure takes 5 working days from the date of registration at the Visa and Passport Department. Note, however, that such a visa is issued for up to 90 days and cannot be extended, which is not suitable for international students. 


  • Order on the procedure of issuing invitations for foreign citizens
  • Activation order on new forms of rationale of admission of foreign citizens
  • The Federal law from 21.04.2011 n 80-FZ "On amendments to article 13 of the Federal law "On legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation and article 25.6 of the Federal law "On procedure of exit from the Russian Federation and entry into the Russian Federation".

Migration Registration Procedure for Foreign Students

Registration of foreign students with the migration authorities should also be facilitated by the Passport and Visa Department of the insitution. For that, the foreign student must contact the Passport and Visa Department of the institution after arrival and provide:

  • application form signed by an authorized official of the faculty (Application Form for Students, Interns and Graduate Students, Application Form for Students who are citizens of the CIS);
  • notice of arrival (Notice of Arrival Form, Sample Form, Instructions for Completing the Form);
  • original passport with its copy
  • original visa with its copy
  • original migration card with its copy

Foreign students are obligated to contact the Passport and Visa Department of the institution within 7 working days of each entering Russia or after credential changes, as well as for extension of his/her visa or obtaining a multiple-entry visa.

Prolongation of the term of education or employment contract can be used as a reason for extension of visa for a foreign student, graduate student or intern who seeks to stay on the territory of the Russian Federation. To obtain a multiple-entry visa or extend his/her stay in the Russian Federation, a foreigner must submit the following documents to the Passport and Visa Department of the institution at least 20 days before the expiry of his/her visa:

  • application form
  • notice of arrival
  • completed visa application form;
  • original passport with two copies
  • all available Russian visas and their copies
  • original migration card with its copy
  • original notice of arrival with its copy
  • copy of the contract (for those foreigners who study under a contract), copy of the assignment from the Ministry (for students participating in government-funded educational programs) or copy of the employment contract (for foreign teachers)
  • medical insurance for the entire duration of the visa
  • certificate from the student dormitory (if the foreigner resides there)
  • 3x4 cm matte black & white or color photos (for CIS citizens - 1 piece, for other foreign nationals - 3 pieces)
  • receipt of payment of the state fee

Please note that different institutions may apply different rules for executing invitations for foreign students to Russia and the migration registration. This article describes an approximate order of activities.

List of web pages of Russian higher education institutions containing information on obtaining student visa to study at Russia

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