Yes, it is possible to obtain a residence permit as a student in Russia after graduation from a Russian university. As of November 2019, foreign students from visa-free countries (most of the former Soviet Republics) can obtain a temporary residence permit after graduation. Foreign students from any country, including ones that require a Russian visa, can apply for residence permits skipping a temporary residence permit if they graduate with an honors (red) diploma.

In order to qualify, a foreign citizen needs to provide the immigration authorities with the original and a copy of their diploma and a certified copy of the university’s accreditation and license, which both can be obtained from the administration office at the university.

In addition to the documents above, you will also need to provide the following documents to support your application for a residence permit as a student in Russia:

  • Application form
  • Notarized translation of every page in your passport 
  • Migration card
  • Migration registration slip 
  • Criminal record background check from your home country with apostille (except for foreign nationals from visa-free countries)
  • Medical certificates from a Russian clinic
  • Documents proving financial stability – a statement from your bank showing at least 140,000 rubles in a deposit account 
  • State fee of 5000 rubles
  • Passport-sized photos 

The recent changes to the citizenship law also provide some simplification for foreign students that have graduated from the Russian universities allowing them to apply for Russian citizenship provided they have a residency permit and have worked officially in Russia for 1 year. This is a significant change from the three years that you had to wait before the new law entered force. In addition, when applying for Russian citizenship they will no longer need to terminate their existing citizenship (except for countries that require termination of citizenship when acquiring citizenship of another country, for example, China, Netherlands, Kazakhstan). The new law on citizenship comes into force on July 24, 2020. 

When the law enters force, Russia will become one of the easiest countries in the world to gain citizenship. Getting a residence permit as a student in Russia will also be much easier.

If you are still a student, you can benefit from the new laws that will come into force as of August 5, 2020, and apply for a residence permit as a student in Russia without needing to wait for graduation.

Additionally, the new rules will allow employers to hire foreign students in their spare time without a work permit. As we mentioned in our article about getting a Russian residence permit by working in Russia, there is a list of qualified specialist professions, and students may try their luck at finding a job in one of the professions from the list. All the employer would need to do is sign an employment agreement with the student and pay an official salary with the required social and pension contributions.

Some of the more popular professions included in the list of qualified specialists who are able to apply for a residence permit in Russia after six months are doctors, nurses, pharmacists, engineers (including IT specialists), unqualified and highly qualified construction workers, teachers (including English teachers), and many others. If you would like to see the full list, you can find it here

If you are able to find a job in one of these professions, you could apply for a Russian residence permit as a student in Russia after only 6 months. This is a major shortcut towards obtaining a Russian residence permit and shouldn’t be overlooked by those looking for a way to settle long-term in Russia. 

It is entirely possible to apply for a residence permit and citizenship in Russia on your own, but understand that it is not an easy process. Unfortunately, the reality is that immigration officers are looking for every opportunity to deny your application. Therefore, if you are interested in speaking to a verified lawyer, feel free to reach out to Timur at Vista Immigration (his details are below) or write to Expatriant. We would be more than happy to provide you with a brief initial consultation and a price quote to get your residence permit and citizenship based on your studies in Russia.

For information on all of the legal means to stay in Russia, check out our Ultimate Guide to Legal Residence in Russia.

Timur Beslangurov, Managing Partner, specializes in civil, corporate and migration law. Timur has extensive experience in establishing businesses in Russia, including corporate structuring for foreign companies entering the Russian market. He contributes to The American Chamber of Commerce Committees on these issues. Timur acts as a regular speaker at seminars and conferences. He graduated from Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO). He speaks Russian, English, Serbian and Croatian.

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