Most students and international visitors to Russia will need to apply for a visa in order to enter the country, however students from Azerbaijan, Abkhazia, Southern Ossetia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Armenia and Uzbekistan do not require one; although applicants from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine need their passport to visit Russia.
Russia doesn’t have a long-term visa programme, with the majority of visas lasting between 1-3 months with the necessity to apply for an extension to one year initially. Once this is granted then students will need to reapply for a year-long visa each year until completion of their studies.
If you apply to a Russian university and fulfill the application requirements then an invitation to Russia can be issued by the university which is needed to submit the visa application. In order to apply for a student visa you will need to provide relevant documents which include: passport, application form, HIV-negative status certificate and the original invitation.
The visas are issued by the Russian Consulate in your country of residence, although some countries provide authorised visa centres to help you with the visa application process.
Student accommodation options in Russia are limited for international students, with the options being a university dormitory which are usually located on or near the campus and are assigned by the university. These can cost between 500 and 5,000 roubles per month depending on the location of your university.
Dormitories are much cheaper than the other option which is a rented apartment, the cost of which will vary depending on where you are studying but there are better qualities to choose from. Your university will be able to assist with locating appropriate student housing.
Submissions to universities can be sent via the Study in Russia website which allows you to send your application to the university of your choice, making it easier to apply to several universities at once.
There is the option to apply for state-funded scholarships which will be competed with alongside Russian nationals, but if successful you will not have to pay any fees for your tuition.
If you are applying to a private university you may need to apply directly or communicate with the university initially to ensure you meet their entrance criteria.
Tuition fees in Russia for international students largely depend on where you are studying in the country and at what level you intent to study – undergraduate programmes are usually between 123,500 roubles and 715,000 roubles per year with a specialist degree much higher.
There is the option of financial support for students in the form of student loans, however these need to be taken out directly from banks and will have repayment terms and schedules that differ depending on your circumstances.