To enter Russia for any purpose, most non-Russian citizens must be holders of a valid passport and valid Russian entry visa issued by a local Russian Embassy or Consulate. A Russian Federation visa is a document that permits entry and exit within the dates fixed therein. It is impossible to obtain an entry visa upon arrival, so travellers must apply for their visas well in advance. Please note that the applicant’s passport should be valid for at least 18 months after the beginning of the planned study period! Otherwise such applicant will not obtain a Russian study visa. Please remember that you should plan to exit Russia before your visa expires.

Registration of foreign nationals coming to St Petersburg University is under the charge of the Passport and Visa Support Department which has a branch at both of the SPbU campuses:

  • 7-9 Universitetskaya nab., St Petersburg, Main Building, ground floor, tel.: +7 (812) 326 4944 (entrance from Mendeleevskaya liniya)
  • 66 Botanicheskaya ul., Stary Peterhof, Dormitory No 10, Room 103, tel.: +7 (812) 428 4758.

In order to come in person for taking admission tests at SPbU, international applicants need to have a Russian visa to cross the border and to stay here legally.

To get a Russian visa you need to complete the following steps:


  • Fill in an application form for a visa invitation
  • Submit the completed application form for a visa invitation, a copy of your identity document and your previous Russian visa (if any) with a request to issue a visa invitation. You can do it in person or by email. It takes 40 days to arrange a letter of invitation
  • Pick up the original invitation, either in person or by sending your authorised representative to the SPbU International Admissions Office
  • Get your Russian visa at the Russian Embassy of your country.


For applicants having successfully passed the competition for Russian government-funded scholarships the invitation is provided by the Russian Ministry of Education.

Upon arrival: Very Important

Upon arrival at the Russian border, all foreign nationals must fill out a migration card. It is a small sheet of paper perforated in the centre. Upon completion of this form, one part thereof is taken by the passport control officer while the student keeps the other part for registration and exit procedures. The migration card must be stamped by the border passport control officer. This stamp indicates the date of arrival and is required for registration with the University. These cards are available onboard international flights and at airports at the passport control.

Primary registration of foreign nationals

All foreign nationals must be registered within the next business day after their arrival. Every time you cross the border of the Russian Federation (as well as in every case of changing your personal information) you have to come to the Passport and Visa Support Department on the day of crossing the border or the next working day and submit the following documents:

  • Arrival Notification Form. You can get it in the Passport and Visa Support Department;
  • Passport + copy (of all marked pages);
  • Visa + copy;
  • Migration Card + copy.                                                                              


St. Petersburg State University endeavors to preserve the integrity of families of its international students. SPbU has a right to lodge applications for visa invitations to be issued to family members of international students and for subsequent visa extensions. Please, see SPbU Order made to that effect.