Thursday, February 17, 2011

Russian Visa Application Time

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Tanya and I are going to visit her family in Abakan, Khakasia, Russia the last week of March and returning when they throw us out.  Which is to say, depending on what I can get for a visa.  Canadians are now required to fill out the USA application form which you can have a look at here or in the pictures. I've gotten approval for bank loans with less information.

If I get a tourist visa, I will get an invitation from a registered tour company in Moscow, stating which cities I am traveling to.  As long as I get a stamped statement from a hotel in one of these cities that I actually stayed there (usually for a fee), I can go where I want, more or less.  If I get into trouble then I am in trouble but if not, then the paperwork is in order and all is well.  A tourist visa is for a maximum of one month.  And they state the EXACT dates in and out.  Anything changes and it is start all over time.

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If I get a "homestay" visa, then I need an invitation issued by the Department of the Interior or whatever in the city of my relatives. Tanya's sister has to go to the OVIR police who handle that (all documents are handled by police, even in Ukraine) and have an ORIGINAL invitation sent by courier or telexed (they still have them here) to the Consulate in Kyiv.  That can be for up to three months. 

There is now apparently a provision for a long term multi-entry visa; not sure how many entries or for how many years but we will know more tomorrow as Luda will go to the OVIR office with the forms and documents I emailed her today. Multi-entry would sure be nice as the visa application process is not much fun and takes a lot of time.  Two long days travel to and from Kyiv to apply and collect the visa plus hefty application fees.

 From what I have been reading, fear of things foreign has been a Russian trade mark for centuries.  Police surveillance of foreigners did not begin with the Soviet Union, though it certainly was perfected at that time.  It is still more or less a police state in that they do NOT want people coming in and stirring the pot in any way.  There are those who are only too anxious to assist in the establishment of democracy, read "a government more friendly to their financial interests, not necessarily those of Russia". That also explains the crackdown on NGOs from a few years back.  I can't speak the language and have not got huge amounts of cash to subvert people with so I hope they don't get too owl-y with me.

Stay tuned.

6 comments:

  1. I have not had a passport in years. I have no clue what the process would entail now. I assume though from viewing your images, I would have to answer similar questions here befoore I coud even leave the country.

    It is a good thing I guess I am relatively content to just stay put. I traveled enough for three lifetimes back when I was a kid and young adult.

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  2. This is my 5th passport. Have had one since 1991. It was 20 years ago in April that I first started working internationally. Kazakhstan via Moscow as it was still the USSR in those days and in or out, you traveled through Moscow.
    The Russian visa application asks me to list ALL the countries I visited in the past 10 years and the years. Filled all the space they gave me and more besides.
    China 2001
    Kazakhstan 2010
    Mongolia 2007
    Panama 2001, 04
    Russia 2006, 07, 09
    Turkey 2002, 04, 08, 10
    Ukraine 2001, 02, 05, 06, 07+++

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  3. Not bring much of a traveller, I don't have a valid passport any more. The thought of all the details involved in applying for one is sufficient incentive not to apply.

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  4. Actually applying for a passport is not that difficult and you only need do it every 5.5 years. It is visas for Russia (and other FSU countries) and for China that are the real pain.
    Ukraine under Yushchenko waived visa requirements for Canadians and maybe Americans too, I don't know.

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  5. We have never had passports since the last time we went to the US they were not needed. But we are applying for them now.

    The Russian visa application has some interesting questions. Skills in firearms, explosives, nuclear, biological, chemical. All organizations you were member, contributed, cooperated.

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  6. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.


    Visa to Australia

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