Visits from Family and Friends
The most complicated part of arranging visits by family and friends is securing visa support and a Russian visa. All visitors to Russia, no matter the length of stay, are required to obtain a Russian visa before arriving in the country. To apply for a visa, they must first secure visa support from someone in Russia. Visa support can only be provided by registered Russian organizations or by private Russian citizens. Middlebury College, as a foreign organization in Russia, is not allowed to issue visa support and cannot offer assistance to students who wish to invite friends and family to visit. Foreign citizens in Russia are likewise not able to invite other foreigners.
The three viable options for obtaining visa support are:
- Booking a full tour, with visa support, through a travel agency.
- Purchasing visa support through a travel agency and arranging the rest of the trip yourself.
- Obtaining an invitation from a private Russian citizen and arranging your own trip otherwise.
Most find the second option to be the simplest. Obtaining visa support through a Russian friend, though less expensive, is a lengthy, complicated and labor intensive process. It generally takes six weeks and requires the friend to stand in a number of lines, pay various application fees, and fill out a variety of forms. For the sake of simplicity and time, working through a travel agency is generally easier. Several agencies in Moscow are able to issue visa support for short-term visitors. Applications for tourist visas may be made on-line.
We regret that the School in Russia staff is unable to help students obtain visas for their friends or families or make travel plans for friends or family of students. All travel arrangements must be handled by you and your visitors.
Visits by parents, relatives, or friends do not constitute a valid excuse for not attending classes. We do not encourage extended visits that will distract you from the language pledge and the academic purpose of your stay in Russia. Please also remember that visitors cannot be included on any official group excursions or trips.