How long did it take to get to Russia?
I truly don’t know. What I do know is that I flew on three planes, went through four timezones, and five airport to get here. Now I am in a timezone that is exactly twelve hours ahead of my home country.
But the airport wasn’t the beginning. The beginning sits in a cold office with a Russian Scholarship Application. I could skip this, but I think it’s important for those who exist on a plane of anxiety. I tried high and low to find the procedures from start to finish but I could only find the begin. I hope this helps.
Collect the Russian Scholarship Application from the relevant authority in your country (in Antigua/Barbuda that’s the Prime Minister’s Office in the Scholarship Department)
You may need to copy the three-page form if you did not receive three copies. In all that’s nine piece of paper, just so we are clear.
Fill out the form. Gather your birth certificate, educational certificates, and transcripts, as well as your high school diploma. Make three copies of your educational documents. Notarize ALL of the copies. Submit the addressed folder to the relevant authority in your country by the specified date (In Antigua/Barbuda that’s the PM’s office, and March 20, 2015.)
The transcripts must be the original. So there’s no need to have it notarized especially since it should be sealed in an envelope from your school. You can leave the slot for university choices blank. However, if you do fill it out, you can only list two universities per region, i.e three universities from one area is a no-no.
Go to your physician and request a medical certificate which gives you a clean bill of health when you are informed to do so. Included in your test should be an HIV/AIDS test. Take the doctor’s letter/certificate to the relevant authority. The HIV/AIDS test is mandatory.
If you included your email address, you may receive an email requesting confirmation of your email address. Upon confirmation of your email address you should receive another email with a code that allows you to see the status of your scholarship application.
This email may inform you of your acceptance sometime before the authority in your country receives the necessary documentation to begin the process of applying for your visa.
Take your passport and go to the office when you are informed to do so. You will be filling out the online Russian visa application, printing, signing, and handing it over to the authority along with your passport. There you should be given a copy of the invitation which will state which university you will be attending for your degree, and also where you’ll be studying the language. You should also receive another three-page document which includes the approximate period in which you should arrive in Russia, and what you’ll need to bring to Russia in terms of documentation (which is all of the documentation you gave to the authority, and also the certified translation of those documents which will be given to you by the same authority). In all that’s four pieces of paper, unless they are printed back and front. Keep the mentioned pages above. If a university official says they didn’t know that you were coming or that you don’t belong there, that is your proof and your pass.
You will now wait for your visa to be processed and for your passport to be returned to you. The time attached to this process varies.
After your passport returns adorned with its new Russian visa you’ll book a flight to Russia. Remember to collect all of your documentation from the authority you gave it to. These education related documents are for your second university i.e. where you’ll obtain your degree. (Yes, you’ll be attending two universities. The first will be referred to as a preparatory school, where you will study the language for one year. The second university is where you will earn your degree.)
In some countries students are given monthly/yearly stipends by their government in addition to having their tuition and accommodation paid by the Russian government. In other countries the student is left to pay for the ticket, food, and everything else. For this information you will have to communicate with someone within your territory.
The above is my experience. It may vary for others, but based on information gained through Russian-scholarship students from other territories the information above is the general procedure. You also may or may not receive a call/email from the Russian Embassy inquiring about your medical certificate if it is late.