Friday, May 6, 2011

I said OVIR and OVIR and OVIR again*

We wanted to buy a new SIM card for my mobile phone when we arrived in Abakan so we could make local calls. In Ukraine, you can’t walk down the street without someone trying to sell you a SIM card for a new phone company or a new plan. Not so easy here in the land of the double headed eagle (looking east and west).

Tanya and I could not buy one unless we were registered at the local Department of the Interior Office in the location we were staying. The office was closed Monday and Tuesday. Since Tanya held a passport from a country of the FSU, she doesn’t have to bother registering or even getting a visa. Me, on the other hand…

I described in an earlier post about getting a Russian visa. Since Tanya’s sister is a stay at home mom these past couple of years, Valerie, being gainfully employed, had to go to the local Office of the Interior (OVIR) and fill out the forms to get them to issue a letter of invitation for me. Which took a month. Plus courier time as only an original is valid.

So on my arrival, I have three working days for my presence to be duly noted and my passport stamped by said OVIR office. I didn’t have to go, just my passport. Correction – since Valerie invited me, HE and my passport had to go, as Tanya and Luda were informed when they took my passport in while downtown shopping.

Valerie took my passport to the office at 2:00 pm and had to go back at 6:00 pm to get it as it takes 4 hours to do the requisite paperwork. They gave Valerie an original of some piece of the paperwork of which he has to give me a copy so I can leave the country. (No, they couldn’t make the copy, whatever are you thinking?). And when I leave Valerie has to take his original back to the OVIR office and inform them I am indeed gone.

In the mean time, Luda bought our SIM card using her passport. So I better be good or the whole famn damily will end up in the hoosegow.

*with apologies to The Dave Clark Five


  1. I have no idea how you even leave your house each day without panicking that you don't have the right paperwork. Or that the right paperwork has been done correctly. I now picture everyone in Eastern Europe living like secret spies.. which sort of makes me want to move there. Hmm.

  2. I'm impressed he hasn't been hauled to prison each and every time he goes there.

    Try not to get sent to Siberia, Dad! Oh.... wait.

  3. This dance is gonna be a drag.

  4. Simple bureaucracy transformed to a fine art. By the best in the world, I would suggest.

    Your kids get the significance. I think I would passed on the opportunity to go there, BF.

  5. I can see why countries with excessively tedious, if not corrupt, bureaucracies seem to always have strict gun control laws.

  6. Not speaking Russian keeps me out of a lot of trouble. With Tanya too.
    Thank you, LynnieC.
    Learning to live with the paperwork is just part of life, RB.
    I doubt that Russia has strict gun control laws or if they do, they are not applied very uniformly.


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