At present, most SRAS programs will require that you obtain a student visa. Here is a brief guide to visa requirements for study in SRAS locations. Note that this information is primarily aimed at citizens of the US, but generally is equally applicable to Canada and the European Union.
A student visa is needed.
If you are on a SRAS study abroad program, we will guide you through this entire process.
Student visa support is issued by Russian educational institutions to those arriving for paid studies, which can range anywhere from a week or two, to multiple years.
- Student visa support is typically issued as a single-entry, 90-day visa, although can be shorter if the study contract is much shorter, and at times can be a double-entry.
- Student visas are extended (beyond the 90 days) in-country based on overall study contract. At this point they automatically convert to multi-entry.
- For this type of visa, your passport must be valid for 18 months beyond the entry date of the visa.
- You must be studying to maintain this visa. While there is a check on this by virtue of the fact that your visa will be extended only with a paid contract, you also need to attend class. If attendance falls too low, you can be expelled and deported.
- If you switch universities, studying, for example, in Moscow one semester, and Irkutsk another, you must leave the country to obtain a new visa. There are only very limited situations in which a visa can be “transferred” to another university.
- An HIV test is required by the consulate to issue a student visa.
- Conducting research, including in archives and libraries, is allowed on a student visa.
- While it is not possible to work on a student visa, with the exception of a very limited range of on-campus jobs and some additional exceptions for full degree students, it is possible to intern as part of your academic program.
To read more about all types of Russian visas, the Visa Process, Visa Registration requirements, and issues that can come up if you were born in Russia/USSR, visit our Russian Visas 101 page.
If you are a Russian dual-citizen, or believe you may be a Russian dual-citizen, please see our page on Dual Citizens, Adoptees, and Heritage Speakers – Visa and Safety Issues for more information and to review your options.
Ukraine. If you will be in country 90 days or less, you do not need a visa. If your stay will exceed 90 days you do need a student visa and we will guide you through the process.
- For this type of visa (those staying longer than 90 days), your passport must be valid for 3 months after the intended date of departure from Ukraine. For those staying less than 90 days, the passport simply needs to be valid upon departure.
As a US citizen if your stay is less than 60 days, you do not need a visa. US citizens (and others on this list) staying longer than 60 days must enter Kyrgyzstan on a visa. We will provide guidance on how to do this later, but the process of applying for an “e-visa” prior to your departure is very simple: you fill out a form online, upload your passport copy, passport photo, and invitation from the host institution (we will provide this) and you will receive an “e-visa” in 5 business days.
At present, it is also possible to receive your visa at the Manas Airport upon entry, before going to passport control, but this involves more steps on your part so we highly recommend that you follow our guidance and get the e-visa ahead of time so you can simply proceed to passport control upon your arrival.
The cost for the Kyrgyz visa is currently ~$90 for US citizens (it varies slightly as it is tied to the exchange rate).
- Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the date of entry into Kyrgyzstan.
- Non-US citizens: some nationals may need to apply to the Kyrgyz consulate in their country of residence for the visa.
If you are on a SRAS study abroad program, we will guide you through this process.
For stays of up to 90 days a visa is not needed. For stays exceeding 90 days a visa is required. This visa must be obtained in advance of arrival.
An in-person interview is required for Polish visas. Polish consulates abide by jurisdiction, which means that if you are a resident of New York but study in California, you still need to travel to the consulate in New York.
See the Polish Embassy website for consulate and visa requirements.
The host institution for our programs, Collegium Civitas (Warsaw) will issue the visa support letter you will need for this process.
Note that it is not possible to apply for the Polish visa outside of your home country. If you are in a situation where you cannot logistically process the Polish visa (for example, because you are studying abroad elsewhere), there is an option to apply for residency after arrival. This should be discussed in advance.
The following are countries in which SRAS either has short programs (under 30 days) or included program travel.
- Armenia. No visa is needed for stays of up to 180 days per year. Read more.
- Cuba. A visa is necessary for US citizens and can be ordered online through several services. If you are on a SRAS program that includes Cuba, we will guide you through this process.
- Georgia. No visa is needed for visits up to one year for many citizenships. Read more.
- Kazakhstan. No visa is needed for stays up to 30 days. Read more.
- Tajikistan. A visa is required for all visits. Read more. If you are on a SRAS program based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan that includes travel to Tajikistan, your visa will be processed in Bishkek.
- Turkmenistan. A visa is required for all visits. Read more. If you are on a SRAS program based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan that includes travel to Turkmenistan, your visa will be processed in Bishkek.
- Uzbekistan. A visa is required for all visits. Read more. If you are on a SRAS program based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan that includes travel to Uzbekistan, your visa will be processed in Bishkek.
I’ve studied in Irkutsk and St. Petersburg with SRAS, but [Bishkek] is, by far, my favorite because of the intense focus on speaking skills. I spend about three hours, 4 times a week speaking one-on-one. It’s such a unique opportunity! The people are also especially friendly here. My homestay is fantastic, the coordinator is a never-ending wealth of help, and the food of Central Asia is delicious.
I wanted to find a program that combined my love of Russia and my passion for environmental studies. Because of my interest in environmental issues, Lake Baikal had always been a site of interest to me. Studying abroad in Siberia gives you the opportunity to see a completely different side of Russia and the Russian people. Just think, few people at home even know that Siberia is anything but a wintery tundra!
My semester back home so far has been incredibly influenced by my semester abroad with SRAS and I find myself talking about it almost daily. Since many of my classes touch on the region (Europe after Socialism, Central Asian Politics), I’m able to add comments and insights unavailable to me before. My contributions to our Russian club have also been greatly enriched. Thank you for everything you did to facilitate this experience and going out of your way to ensure our success.
At a time in my life when I was at a crossroads regarding where my career might take me, this course showed me a path that truly inspired me, and I haven’t looked back since.
I spent Fall and Spring with your program in St. Petersburg and it was truly the highlight and culmination of my University experience and just a banner year! I can’t thank you enough for or gush enough about your program. I recommend it to just about everyone I talk to, whether or not they’re interested in learning Russian.
The program here is wonderful. All of my teachers have been extremely helpful and I have made friends both here in the dorms and with others who live in the city and find that I often have many opportunities to practice Russian outside of the classroom. Already I feel that my Russian has improved immensely, especially my listening and speaking.