Information on travel and study opportunities in the EU

Schengen visa

Visa application process

Russian citizens need to be in possession of a valid visa to enter the Schengen Area.

N.B: The possession of a Schengen visa does not guarantee the right to enter the Schengen area as the fulfilment of entry conditions and purpose of stay is checked during border control.

First-time visa applicants have to appear in person at a consulate or an authorised visa application centre when applying for a short-stay Schengen visa to have their biometric data (10-digit fingerprints and digital photographs) collected. This data is stored in the Visa Information System (VIS). The VIS is a means for Schengen countries to exchange data on visa applicants to facilitate the process and enhance security.

The procedure of collecting biometric data is simple and discreet, taking a few minutes. Frequent travellers to the Schengen Area do not have to have their fingerprints scanned for each visit, as the VIS stores scans for further visa applications over a 5-year period, irrespective of where the previous visa application was lodged.

This requirement is waived for children under the age of 12 and persons who cannot physically provide fingerprint scans.

Applications should be lodged at the consulate or visa application centre of the country of destination. Check the countries currently in the Schengen Area. For practical questions, applicants should first contact the Schengen consulate of their main country of destination or an official visa application centre in Russia.

Visa applicants are strongly advised to be vigilant when using the facilitation services of ‘visa agencies’ and other ‘visa intermediaries’ as they can be overcharged or issue forged supporting documents that will damage the visa history of the applicant.

For more details on:

  • the Schengen visa procedures, please check the FAQ (in English and in Russian). 
  • the categories allowed to travel to the EU during the COVID-19 restrictions check here.
  • the COVID-19 testing and quarantine procedures in each EU Member State check here.

Visa Facilitation

Travelling between the EU and Russia was made easier in 2007 when the EU-Russia Visa Facilitation Agreement entered into force. This agreement lowered the visa fee, made obtaining multiple-entry visas easier, simplified the list of supporting documents required, and waived visas for diplomats. The EU-Russia Joint Visa Facilitation Committee oversees on an annual basis the proper functioning of the agreement.

Russia has been for the last 10 years the top source country for Schengen visa applications, with more than 4,1 million applications in 2019. Of these visas, more than 82% were issued as multiple-entry visas in 2019, one of the highest shares in the world. Furthermore, the refusal rate was only 1,5% in 2019, one of the lowest in the world.

Study in EU

Study and training opportunities for Russian citizens in the EU

Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme for education, training, youth and sport for the period 2021-2027, offering EU-funded opportunities for higher education students, staff and institutions. 

The key aim of Erasmus+ is the learning mobility of individuals, which includes the following opportunities:

  • Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters scholarships: represent a prestigious, integrated, international study programme, jointly delivered by an international consortium of higher education institutions. EMJMs award EU-funded scholarships to the best student candidates applying under annual selection rounds. Studies must take place in at least two of the Programme Countries. Part of the studies can also take place in Partner countries if there is a partner-country institution involved.

How to apply: consult the online catalogue of Erasmus Mundus Masters programmes to choose the field of study, countries and universities, where you would like to study, visit programmes' websites to verify the entry requirements and deadlines, gather the documents (CV, Motivation Letter, Recommendation Letter, etc.) and submit your application.

  • Higher education mobility: Russian universities can send students, doctoral candidates, or staff for short-term mobility assignments (2-12 months) with institutions from Erasmus+ countries. Russian universities can also host similar short-term study periods. To take part in the programme, you must be registered in a higher education institution and enrolled in studies leading to a recognised degree or tertiary-level qualification. Your period of study abroad must be relevant for your degree-related learning and personal development needs, and be part of the study programme that you are following. Your home institution and the receiving institution must have an inter-institutional agreement between them for you to study there with Erasmus+.

How to apply: contact International relations office at your university, choose universities to which you would like to apply, find study programmes that correspond with your home university's curriculum, gather the documents (CV, Motivation Letter, Recommendation Letter, etc.) and submit your application.

  • As regards non-formal education, Erasmus+ offers opportunities to young people, not just those involved in education or training. With Erasmus+, you can volunteer in Europe or outside of Europe or participate in a youth exchange abroad. Erasmus+ supports the professional development of youth workers through training or networking periods abroad. Periods abroad can consist of training courses, study visits, job shadowing or observation periods at relevant organisations, and more.

In addition, Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) fund worldwide and cross-sector mobility for all stages of a researcher’s career, support research training and career development focused on innovation skills and form part of the EU's Horizon Europe programme. MSCA fellows include PhD candidates and those carrying out more advanced research in any field of studies.

  • MSCA Doctoral Networks help groups of researchers gain experience of different working environments while developing transferable skills. Candidates wishing to apply for PhD positions under Doctoral Networks should apply to funded Doctoral Network projects by consulting their open vacancies advertised internationally, including on the EURAXESS portal.
  • MSCA European Postdoctoral Fellowships is for researchers from across the world. It is a great option if you are completing your PhD or you are already an experienced researcher. Interested researchers develop and submit a proposal to an open Postdoctoral Fellowships call jointly with your host organisation, which can be a university, research institution, business, SME or other organisation based in an EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country. Open calls are published on the Funding and Tenders Opportunities Portal.

EU Study centers

Network of EU Study centers (EU-i) in Russian cities

EU Study centers in the Russian Federation are part of the global network of EU Information Centers (EU-i) founded back in the 1960s. The initial idea was to create within selected universities and research institutions in the EU MS and worldwide documentation centers focusing on the European integration studies. Today there are more than 500 such centers globally, including 13 EU-i centers in the Russian Federation. The role of the EU-i centers in Russia has evolved over the years from a source of documentation to a more dynamic and pro-active expert role (and their name was changed accordingly – they are now called ‘EU Study centers’). With the information being now available on the Internet, some of the centers have seen their attendance numbers decrease; at the same time the advisory and networking role of the EU-i’s has strengthened: they advise students on the education and career tracks, and are increasingly active in setting up EU discussion clubs, and expert groups, as well as consulting various stakeholders on EU-related matters, and promoting EU studies in Russia.