Oh Russia ... Its architecture, its impressive winter landscapes and culture is admired all over the world!

Many American people dream of traveling to Russia, some even to live and to work while learning the Russian language and exercising their Slavic oral expression. However, to go to Russia inevitably requires education and planning in order for you to be able to fend for yourself in any foreign country, particularly Russia, with their long administrative procedures.

To help you learn everything you need to know about Russia, uncover all our tips before you go east!

Learn to Speak Russian Before You Arrive

Take a Russian Course in School

Before leaving for the Motherland, you must of course master the Russian language!

In the United States, there are Russian language courses for all learners, from beginner to advanced level, for adults as well as children.


The Russian language may seem strange and complex, but there is ample opportunity to learn before you travel.

First of all, know that it is quite possible to learn the Slavic language within the American educational system, particularly at the university level.

Universities Offering Russian Courses and Programs:

  • Columbia University
  • Georgetown University
  • Harvard University
  • Indiana University
  • Ohio State University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California, Berkley
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Pittsburg
  • University of Texas, Austin
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin
  • University of North Carolina

Private institutions also offer Russian lessons, such as the Russian School of Boston in Boston, MA.

Perfect if you plan to live in Russia and want your child to have some basic Russian!

For some Americans, it is even possible to learn Russian in high school. Here is a partial list of high schools offering Russian classes in the U.S.:

  • Bartlett High School (Alaska)
  • Chugiak High School (Alaska)
  • Thunder Mountain High School (Alaska)
  • West High School (Alaska)
  • Columbia High School (Alabama)
  • Johnson High School (Alabama)
  • Cherry Creek High School (Colorado)
  • Pine Creek High School (Colorado)
  • Brookfield High School (Connecticut)
  • Glastonbury Hugh School (Connecticut)

Russian Life Magazine keeps track of learning institutions in the Unites States that offer Russian classes and programs including high schools and elementary school programs. Check their website to find a school offering Russian courses near you.

If you live in the UK, search for "russian courses london" to find a class in the British capital.

Take Private Lessons Before Traveling to Russia

Adults can choose to go to a language school to learn Russian easily in restricted classrooms with a qualified Russian teacher.

Nevertheless, these professional courses have a certain cost: about $500 per semester for some monthly courses.

More economical, private lessons via physical or digital classified ads allow a more regular and individualized follow-up. On Superprof, the average price of a Russian lesson is $ 25.

During private lessons, the prospective student can study:

  • Russian grammar,
  • Russian conjugation,
  • Russian pronunciation,
  • Russian greetings,
  • The Russian tonic accent,
  • Personal pronouns,
  • Prepositions,
  • Russian expressions,
  • The Russian Cyrillic alphabet ...

By taking lessons with a native of Russia, the student will certainly learn new Russian words, but also benefit from advice on Russian culture and facilitate their learning through conversation.

What more perfect way to prepare your expatriation to the country of the tsars!

Complete Your Knowledge with Russian Courses Online

The Russian alphabet, consonants, vowels or Russian vocabulary... it is quite possible to learn Russian for free through online courses!

The online Russian courses do not allow you to become bilingual, but are perfect to complete your linguistic knowledge and to review daily between professional lessons.

The online Russian exercises teach Slavic languages up to the advanced level and often have a Cyrillic keyboard to fully integrate the Russian alphabet.

To learn Russian online, students can go through:

  • Russian learning websites,
  • The applications of Russian,
  • Educational videos,
  • Russian exercises,
  • Russian educational CDs,
  • Films and series with subtitles ...

Taking a free Russian course can help you to prepare for a trip to Russia and train in a fun way. At an intensive pace, the learner will be able to get a head start on their professional education and thus space the lessons out (and save a few dollars by the way).

On your smartphone, computer or tablet, do not hesitate to learn the basic lexicon of the Slavic language before you leave! The Russian language is not so difficult!


Administrative Steps to Go to Russia

What Formalities Are There to Visit Russia?

Even if you only want to visit Dostoevsky's native country, you will have to be patient!

Russia can offer an unprecedented experience into the depths of History, Culture and Art.

Even today, getting a visa for Russia remains quite complex ...To enter Russia for any purpose, a U.S. citizen must possess a valid U.S. passport and a bona fide visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate. It is impossible to obtain an entry visa upon arrival, so travelers must apply for their visas well in advance.

Demand is in effect within Russian embassies or consulates, which can be easy for residents of major American cities, but more difficult for those who live in smaller municipalities.

To overcome this problem, there are online visa agencies that facilitate the process but come at a certain price.

To obtain a tourist visa, the American traveler must:

  • Fill out a visa form (some visa agencies will help you fill out the form),
  • Possess a valid passport,
  • Provide a photo ID 4.5 x 3.5.

Under Russian law, every foreign traveler must have a Russian-based sponsor, which could be a hotel, tour company, relative, employer, university, etc.  Even if a visa was obtained through a travel agency in the United States, there is always a Russian legal entity whose name is indicated on the visa and who is considered to be the legal sponsor.  Russian law requires that the sponsor must apply on the traveler’s behalf for replacement, extension, or changes to a Russian visa.  U.S. citizens are strongly advised to ensure that they have contact information for the visa sponsor prior to arrival in Russia, as the sponsor’s assistance will be essential to resolve any visa problems.

A Russian entry/exit visa has two dates written in the European style (day/month/year) as opposed to the American style (month/day/year).  The first date indicates the earliest day a traveler may enter Russia; the second date indicates the date by which a traveler must leave Russia.  A Russian visa is only valid for those exact dates and cannot be extended after the traveler has arrived in the country, except in the case of a medical emergency.

Russian tourist visas are often granted only for the specific dates mentioned in the invitation letter provided by the sponsor.  U.S. citizens sometimes receive visas valid for periods as short as four days.

It is helpful to have someone who reads Russian to check the visa before departing the United States.  Travelers should ensure that their visas reflect intended activities in Russia (e.g., tourism, study, business, etc.).


What Formalities Are There to Live in Russia?

To stay in Russia, Temporary Residence can be granted for a three-year term. The issuance of temporary residence permits (razreshenie na vremennoe prozhivanie) is subject to a quota established annually by the government for each separate region of Russia.

Once the date has passed, the American in Russia must complete another application for a new permit.


The expatriation process is complex, and there are a lot of rules to abide by, but if you check all the boxes, you'll make it to the land of Tsarinas!

Here are the formalities to follow to apply for a Russian residence permit:

The following documents are required to obtain a temporary residence permit:

  • an application form;
  • four photos;
  • passport;
  • police certificate;
  • applicant’s income papers;
  • HIV certificate;
  • and documentation that the foreign citizen is not a drug addict and does not have any infectious diseases.

The expatriate will have to prove his interest in Russian culture and for the Slavic language, hence the importance of making inquiries beforehand - even becoming a polyglot before leaving.

Permanent Residence: Foreign citizens intending to permanently reside in Russia can obtain a permanent residence permit (vid na zhitelstvo) valid for five years that may be extended an unlimited number of times. Foreigners may apply for it at the local FMS based on their at least one-year residence in Russia. The application has to be filed no later than six months prior to the expiration of the temporary residence permit.

The advantages of permanent resident status are ability to work in any part of Russia without a special permit; ability to choose a place of residence in Russia; ability to issue visa invitations to Russia for other foreign citizens in one’s own name.


What Formalities Are There to Work in Russia?

With many sectors looking for foreign workers, Russia is the country that pays the best expatriates in the world!

If, like a third of foreign employees in Russia, you want to earn more than 190,000 € (approx. $225,668) per year, you must apply for a work visa.

Work Visas: There are quotas on invitations to foreigners to enter Russia in order to work. These quotas are established by territorial agencies in the regions and are approved annually by the Russian Government. According to the law, quotas take into account the demographic situation in the relevant region of Russia and its ability to accommodate foreign nationals. This is theoretically based on the principle that priority should be given to the use of domestic labor. The prospective employer must initiate the application process for this type of visa at the FMS. Prospective employers who hire foreigners must also receive permission from the local branch of the FMS. The FMS office then issues the foreigner a document confirming his legal employment. Please note that Russian authorities may require tests for drugs and infectious diseases for holders of work visas.

There are a few categories of foreigners who can be employed without such a permit: those who have a Russian residency permit or permanent registration with police; church employees; technical experts who come for a short period to assemble imported equipment; and those who come for educational activities.

What Formalities Are There to Study in Russia?

Whether for a language course in Moscow or St. Petersburg, students will have to apply for a visa to study in the native country of Pushkin!

Why not study at a Russian University?

Before starting your language study, the student must first of all be accepted into a Russian university. To do this, the student will have to learn to speak Russian and read a Russian text without problem.

Student Visas: An invitation for a foreign national to enter Russia for the purpose of studying at an educational institution is issued by the FMS upon application from the educational institution. Student visas are unique in that they do not include an exit visa, but rather require a separate application for one to the proper Russian authorities. Often, student visas are valid only for three months, with a possible extension by the local FMS. Always stamped in passports, they allow foreigners to remain in Russia for the duration of the visa’s validity, but not to leave the country upon its expiration. It is the responsibility of your Russian school to ensure timely extensions and obtain permission to exit. If you want to leave Russia before the scheduled time implied by your contract with your school, you have to notify the school visa department long in advance to give them time to file necessary paperwork with the Russian authorities. Under law that time period can be as long as 30 days.

After accepting your request, all you have to do is apply for student accommodation.

Grab your luggage!


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As an Englishman in Paris, I enjoy growing my knowledge of other languages and cultures. I'm interested in History, Economics, and Sociology and believe in the importance of continuous learning.