Kyrgyz Student Visas
- The ins and outs of Kyrgyzstan -
All SRAS students must read and understand this information before departure to Kyrgyzstan. Your responsibilities surrounding your visa continue even after you have received it! Contact us if anything related to your visa is unclear.
In This Guide:
- Knowing Your Visa
- Starting The Application Process
- Processing And Receiving Your Visa
- Registering Your Student Visa
- Extending/Converting Your Visa
- Traveling With Your Student Visa
- Document Checks
1. Knowing Your Visa Back to Top
- As an SRAS student, you will be issued a student visa on the basis of an invitation from a Kyrgyz educational institution, valid for a period of study. By Kyrgyz law, you must be studying at that institution the entire time to keep the visa. Except for internships, one may not legally work in Kyrgyzstan with a student visa.
- In most cases we are able to obtain a visa covering the full period of study before your departure, and for those on the Central Asian Studies program, a multi-entry visa to accommodate the included travel. At times, however, the Consulate can choose to issue a one-month single entry visa, in which case it would be extended after your arrival. In some cases (rare) it may be necessary to obtain the visa at the airport in Bishkek, in which case you would be issued a one-month single entry visa (to be extended/converted after arrival). If this situation pertains to you, you will be given detailed instructions pre-departure for how to obtain the visa in the airport, and it is not a particularly lengthy or risky process (the majority of Western travelers to Kyrgyzstan obtain their visas this way) - just an added hassle we try to avoid on your behalf.
2. Starting The Application Process Back to Top
- The visa application process to receive a Kyrgyz student visa is simpler than obtaining a Russian one; however, it is better to apply early. Usually there are no problems, but one shouldn't count on it and SRAS can make no guarantees.
- If you do not have a passport, apply immediately. How?
- If your passport expires sooner than six months after your intended departure date from Kyrgyzstan, you must renew immediately. How?
- To begin the process of applying for a student visa through SRAS, login and apply for one of our programs.
- After you have been accepted to your program, we will ask you to send us a preliminary scan of the page in your passport with your picture and signature. Photocopies and faxes will not be accepted as they are not of high enough resolution.
- Sometimes Kyrgyz visa requirements change and thus we may contact you for additional information if needed. In general, it is a good idea to check your login page on the SRAS site every few days to make sure everything is in order.
3. Processing And Receiving Your Visa Back to Top
- If you are on a SRAS program and in the US, SRAS will handle this process for you. Nonetheless, it is good for you to be aware of the components.
- Processing with the consulate is fairly straightforward. Make sure you have all the required materials:
- Passport (original) with at least two free pages (opposing).
- One passport-sized photo
- Visa application form (version for Americans available from us, others should contact a consulate in their country)
- Invitation letter
- Processing fee - this depends on the consulate, your citizenship, and on the processing time. Check with the consulate you will be using for fees, processing times, and any other requirements.
4. Registering Your Student Visa Back to Top
If you will be in Kyrgyzstan for one month or less, then you do not need to register if you are a citizen of certain countries, including the US and Canada. If you are planning to stay in Kyrgyzstan for more than one month, you need to be registered at the address of the place you are living in Kyrgyzstan within three days of receiving the visa. Registration is done at the police station, and if you are an SRAS student your host institution in Kyrgyzstan will register you on your behalf. There is a small registration fee (less than 5 USD). It is important to register within three days of receiving the visa; otherwise you will have to pay a fine.
5. Extending/Converting Your Visa Back to Top
If your program is longer than one month, your visa will be extended after you arrive. If you are an SRAS student, this is done for you by your host institution. For both the first and second extension the visa will be valid for only one month. If studies are longer than this, then the third visa extension can cover three months or more. You will need two color passport photos.
6. Traveling With Your Student Visa Back to Top
If you plan to leave Kyrgyzstan and re-enter, contact SRAS before you make concrete travel plans, so that we can brief you on any visa and registration concerns your plans might entail.
7. Document Checks - Know Your Rights In Kyrgyzstan! Back to Top
- While it is not nearly as common as in the large cities of Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg), Kyrgyz police can stop anyone at any time for any reason and ask to check documents. Generally they are targeting young people who look “suspicious.”
- While it is not a strict requirement to carry your documentation (passport) with you at all times, you should at least carry a copy of your passport/visa and your SRAS-issued emergency card.
- Always keep your documentation in a safe place - never in your back pocket or in a jacket pocket - always in a front pants pocket (preferable) or your purse.
- Always carry a cell phone so that you can call the embassy and/or local program coordinator at any time in case of emergency. SRAS issues cell phones to students studying in Bishkek.
Find Out More!
Kyrgyz Phrase Book
The SRAS Russia Library
SRAS Travel Services
The SRAS Newsletter
Journal for Students
More Free Resources!
Questions or comments?
Contact the editor.