Praxis International

(formerly The Center for the Study of Russia and the Soviet Union)

Independent Research Travel to Russia


Praxis International, a nonprofit foundation, has been sending graduate students and faculty to Russia for research for more than ten years, and we are proud of the success of our colleagues and alumni. Our past participants have traditionally accomplished a great deal of research during their short-term stays. Praxis' programs are non-profit. Proceeds fund administrative costs, support for our Russian personnel, grants to needy Russian scholars, and non-profit academic publishing efforts in Russia.



PLEASE READ THIS INFORMATION CAREFULLY.  IT CONTAINS DETAILED INFORMATION ON OUR PROGRAMS AND ON SECURING YOUR RUSSIAN VISA.

WE ARE DOING OUR BEST TO KEEP THIS SITE UP TO DATE, WHICH IS NO MEAN FEAT AS THE RUSSIANS CHANGE THEIR RULES FREQUENTLY WITH NO WARNING.

NEWS update for US citizens: As of April 2013, three-year multi-entry visas are available. You must be a US citizen with at least 42 months remaining on your US passport. Invitation letters can be provided by email.

All other visa types (traditional single/multi entry) require an original invitation sent from Moscow. The cost, which you must include with your registration fee to us:

US: $80

UK and Canada: $100

Australia: $140

These rates make no sense, but there you have it.

Our arrangements for independent scholars are quite flexible. The basic package includes a visa invitation, affiliation as a visiting scholar and ongoing local help from our staff as needed.

The fee for this service is $250. If you want a multi-entry visa, add $50 for the visa invitation. (and expect to pay more to the consulate here when you actually apply).  See IMPORTANT NOTES below for more on one year and multi-entry visas.  We can arrange visas for spouses/partners and accompanying family members. Each of them must submit a separate application.

This may be a bit more expensive than existing alternatives because:

1. We have permanent Moscow staff with specialized knowledge of archives and experience dealing with problems of daily life in Moscow. Only a phone call away, they are available 24 hours a day and ready to assist quickly with archival information, housing issues, visa problems, and any emergency;

2. Upon your arrival, we are able to register your visa as quickly (and legally) as possible in Moscow. You need not stand in visa registration lines or surrender your passport for long.  (We recommend making a xerox of the information and visa pages of your passport for use when your original is being registered. Alternatively, your apartment landlord may be willing and able to register you.)

3. In addition, we can arrange housing and airport transportation (in Moscow only) according to your needs.

Housing is becoming expensive in Moscow and our access to reasonably priced apartments is now sharply limited. Decent small apartments in good areas are now $2500 per month or more, when they are available. We can no longer guarantee a private apartment.

On the other hand, we have a good list of reliable and tested private rooms in secure apartments which Moscow khoziaiki are willing to rent out. These rooms are in good neighborhoods, with friendly and helpful families, most of whom are friends of our Moscow staff. Rents for these rooms are much cheaper than apartments, averaging about $700-800 per month. Many of our scholars prefer this arrangement and maintain relationships with their host families for years.  Flexibility and choice are much greater for rooms than for apartments. Please consider this option and let us know if it is acceptable for you. Our colleagues in Moscow get a $200 "finder's fee" for locating housing, to be paid when you move in. You pay the landlord (who establishes the renting price) directly.

Our housing is in safe neighborhoods, walking distance to a metro. Our housing arrangements do not "fall through" at the last minute, as often happens in Moscow.

Because of the tight Moscow housing market, we are not able to arrange housing for a full academic year except in rare circumstances. We can arrange short-term lodging while you search for long-term solutions with a real estate agent.

4. If you want airport pickup, please advise us of your arrival day, time, and flight number AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Airport transport payment is made directly to your driver: $50 arrival (Sheremetego) $60 (Domodedovo); $40 departure Sheremetego, $50 Domodedovo, payable to the driver when you arrive in Moscow. This is with dependable friends. Payment is due to the driver upon pickup. If you have your own transport and apartment, please call Elena Sergeevna Drozdova: 499-148-69-82. cell: 916 617 21 28 when you get settled.

The application is quite simple, and consists of the following steps:

1. Complete an application-data sheet on-line.

Note: If you will be arranging your own housing in Moscow, please provide that address and telephone number in the "special needs or important housing preferences" box on the form. See Important Notes, below.

2. Scan a copy of the information page of your passport (the pages with your picture, information, and signature) and send it to us (rusarchive[at]yahoo.com) as an email attachment.

Special note: Non-US citizens resident in the US must also send us the US residency stamp/visa/green card from their passports.

If you have trouble getting through, email us (rusarchive[at]yahoo.com) and let us know.

3. At the present time, payment must be by bank transfer/wire. Send a bank wire for $250 ($300 for one-year multi-entry) plus express mail costs if applicable (see above prices) for each family member to:

Beneficiary:
GETTY John Arch

Account number:
40820840501000011465

Beneficiary Bank:
Raiffeisenbank ZAO
Troitskaya str. 17/1
Moscow 129090 Russian Federation
SWIFT RZBMRUMM

Intermediary Bank (ONLY IF NECESSARY FOR YOUR BANK):
STANDARD CHARTERED BANK
ONE, MADISON AVENUE
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES 10010-3603
SWIFT: SCBLUS33
Account no 3582021665001

Some banks ask for ultimate beneficiary address. This is:

GETTY John Arch
121293, Russia, Moscow, Ploshad Pobedy, 1, D 54.

In the "notes" or "other information" part of the bank wire form, please put your last name.

a. PLEASE ADVISE US WHEN THE PAYMENT IS SENT.

b. PLEASE MAKE SURE WE RECEIVE THE FULL AMOUNT. YOUR BANK WILL DEDUCT A FEE TO SEND AND OUR BANK WILL DEDUCT A FEE TO RECEIVE. WE WILL PAY OUR BANK'S FEE, BUT YOU MUST PAY YOURS. Sorry, but because of past experience, we are unable to initiate the visa invitation process until we receive your payment in full.

4. Our Moscow colleagues will make application for your visa at the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (UVIR MVD). Upon approval, MVD will provide the invitation to our people in Moscow. They will then send it directly to you.

5. You apply directly to a Russian consulate for your visa. You must do this through a visa agent. The Russian embassy is no longer accepting mail applications or walk-ins in person.  You must use an agent.  (see below) The price you pay the Russians depends on how quickly you need your visa.

A completed visa application consists of:

(a) the "Application for Visa". NEW POLICY:

"NOTICE: 1. Pursuant to the directive from the Russian Foreign Ministry, effective July 1, 2011, the Russian Embassy and all Russian Consulates General in the U.S.A. will require that all applications for Russian visas submitted in the United States be prepared using the Electronic Visa Application Form which is a web-based application, available online at http://evisa.kdmid.ru


Russian visa applications prepared using the old format or in a different manner will not be accepted after July 1, 2011.
After filling the Electronic Visa Application form online, applicants will have to print a copy of their application form, sign and date it, glue the requred size photo to it and submit this printed original form, along with other necessary documentation, to the Russian Consulate personally or through their representative or a visa agency.


The Electronic Visa Application Form will provide greater accuracy and security in processing visa applications. It should be filled out in its full entirety. Incomplete forms may significantly delay visa processing time."

(b) your passport (original: visas are now stamped therein)

(c) one passport-size photo with your name on the back of each

(d) a fee, depending on how fast you want the visa.

(e) the visa invitation you receive from us.

We recommend Duke's Visa Service which, for an additional fee, will walk the paperwork through the consulate in DC and mail the visa to you.

http://www.dukesvisa.com/contactus.htm

Duke Brobby has excellent connections with the D.C Embassy of the Russian Federation and has reliably processed visas for dozens of our colleagues.  Call him at 202-667-7445 for current fees, or write to Duke's Visa Service at 2651 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 202, Washington D.C. 20008. (We have no financial connection to Duke's Visa Service. It is pure love.)

These procedures have been successful at the Russian Embassy in Washington. Scholars using other consulates or Russian embassies outside the US have sometimes had problems. Unfortunately, we cannot be responsible for variations in procedures or rules at Russian consular offices.

Please be prepared to take your housing finder's fee, rent, and airport transport fee (if any) with you to Moscow.

IMPORTANT BULLETIN:

There are important and unfortunate new rules for visas.  Visa holders may now only spend 90 days in Russia in a 180-day period. (180 days for 3-year multi-entry visas.) This means that after 90 (or 180) days, you must leave Russia and wait 90 days before re-entering.  (for 3-year multi-entry visas, you have to exit Russia after 180 days and stay out 1 day before returning!) These rules have been implemented only recently and although it is not clear how they will be eventually interpreted, they ARE being enforced without exception at present.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

(a) Please give us as much lead time as possible, at least three months if you can. Applications filed less than two months before planned departure may involve additional "rush" charges on the Moscow end and even then the visa invitation might not be issued in time.

Currently the Ministry of Internal Affairs is not accepting applications for visas more than 45 days before the departure date you specify.  They then  take 20 days to issue an invitation, leaving you only a short time to get the visa before your specified departure.  But to avoid paying extra fees at the Russian consulates abroad, you need to apply to them at least 2 weeks before you want your visa.  Go figure.  All this is beyond our control, although we will try to submit your application to them more than 45 days before departure.  In any case, to be on the safe side you should specify an entry date on your application a month in advance of the actual date of your plane ticket.

(b) The Ministry of Internal Affairs in Moscow requires applicants to provide the address and telephone number where they will be living in Moscow BEFORE issuing the invitation. If you request housing with us, we will handle this. If you will be arranging your own housing in Moscow, please provide that address in the "special needs or important housing preferences" box on our online application form.

(c) There have been changes in Moscow visa registration procedures, which have become almost hopelessly complicated:

- Residence outside Moscow:

*  In all cases, Russian regulations require you, upon arrival in Russia, to register your visa and residence in the city of your visa sponsor (for us, Moscow).

*  If your principal base will be Moscow but will be making short trips to other cities, in theory you must register each place you visit for more than 7 days.

*  If your principal bases will be outside Moscow, the matter is more complicated.  You must start in Moscow in order to register.  Because registration is tied to residence, we can usually register you there only for the period of time you will be in Moscow.  We have no personnel outside Moscow, so after that, you will be responsible for registering your residence in other cities where you might live.

SPECIAL ARCHIVE NOTES:

Archives now require a letter from your home institution. Typed on official stationary, this letter should briefly identify you and your research topic. It should be signed by your departmental chair or other supervisor. You'll receive a sample text as an attachment when you apply.

SPECIAL NOTE on SAFETY:

In recent months, there has been an increase in anti-American, xenophobic and racist attitudes and incidents in Russia, ranging from increased rudeness toward Americans to spot passport checks on the street to police harassment of researchers to assaults on people of color. Persons with Latin, Asian, or African-American appearance have been most vulnerable. Most foreigners have no problems, but to minimize the risk of such incidents, we recommend that you:

1. carry your passport and visa on your person at all times;

2. avoid calling attention to yourself: dress appropriately, speak quietly in public, avoid speaking English in public;

3. avoid interaction with groups of idle young men in public;

4. avoid public Russian patriotic demonstrations or celebrations;

5. avoid political conversations with Russians, except with friends;

6. call the US Embassy immediately if you are detained by the police [(phone: 728-55-77 (US citizen services), 728-59-90 (after hours)].

We are delighted at the prospect of your participation and look forward to receiving your application. Please feel free to contact us by email (rusarchive[at]yahoo.com) any time if you have any questions or problems.