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Thread: US - Russia Visas

  1. #1
    Почтенный гражданин capecoddah's Avatar
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    US - Russia Visas

    Are changes going to happen?

    From The Moscow Times:
    Medvedev Asks U.S. to Ditch Travel Visas 14 March 2011
    By Nikolaus von Twickel
    President Dmitry Medvedev has jumped onto the visa-free travel bandwagon, with his top foreign policy adviser declaring that the Kremlin sent a proposal to cancel visas to the White House before last week's surprise announcement by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

    But analysts warned that the country was nowhere near meeting the U.S. Visa Waiver Program's stringent requirements and speculated that the Russian initiative reflected frustration over ongoing talks for visa-free travel with Europe.

    Kremlin foreign policy chief Sergei Prikhodko told reporters Friday that Medvedev had called for an end to visas before Putin brought it up during talks with Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday.

    From The New York Times:
    Putin Throws Curveball to Biden With Suggestion on Visas
    By ELLEN BARRY

    Published: March 11, 2011


    MOSCOW — When Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. sat down for his meeting with Vladimir V. Putin this week, the Russian prime minister opened with a curveball.

    After noting joint projects on the table — cooperation on missile defense and Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, among others — Mr. Putin cheerily suggested a brand-new idea: abolishing visa requirements between Russia and the United States. The early part of the meeting was featured on Russian television.
    Mr. Biden responded “Good idea,” and Mr. Putin seized on the response, saying he hoped Mr. Biden would make the case for the change in Washington. The vice president then backpedaled, explaining that he does not decide such matters.
    “Mr. Prime Minister, in case you haven’t noticed, there’s a real difference between being president and vice president,” he said, perhaps referring to the structure of Russia’s leadership, in which Mr. Putin occupies the country’s second-highest post but is widely viewed as its paramount leader.

    I'm easily amused late at night...

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    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    Hey, I got an idea for them -- why doesn't the Russian government drop all its visa requirements for Americans? And then just wait for the US to do the same for Russia? Do they not see the slight imbalance between travel between the two countries, I mean, how many US citizens have overstayed their Russian visa with intent to remain there?

  3. #3
    Завсегдатай
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaika View Post
    And then just wait for the US to do the same for Russia?
    Yeah, for a couple of centuries. ))
    You are right, of course, and there are much more Russians hoping to visit the US, than there are Americans going to Russia, and the risk of Americans staying in Russia illegally is very low. But I think it's quite natural that Russia tries to get something in return: US visas policy towards Russia and some CIS countries is unreasonably strict.

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    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by capecoddah View Post
    Are changes going to happen?
    I wouldn't hold my breath. They've been trying to set up a visa free thing with Europe for years.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  5. #5
    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    Телекомпания НТВ. Официальный сайт | Новости НТВ | США упрощают визовый режим для

    This says Russians are going to get 3 year (!) tourist visas. Nothing about vice-versa. I can't find anything in English on this.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  6. #6
    Hanna
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    I think there are some discussions with the EU about it too.
    This must happen, it's a disgrace that we can't travel freely within Europe 20 years after the cold war.

    The visa regime is totally pointless in my opinion. Scumbags from Russia and the other CIS countries who want to be in Europe are already there, so visa requirements will not stop them. Not even the USSR borders could keep them out, in fact.
    And nobody from Europe would be stupid enough to go to Russia and commit crimes or try to live on social welfare, so there is not much for Russia to worry about on that front.

    All that the visa regime does, is make travelling more expensive, time consuming and frustrating for NORMAL decent people who just want a holiday or want to experience another culture etc. It's not possible to travel spontaneously when visa processing is so complicated.

    Europe has a lot to learn from Russia (and the other CIS countries) and vice versa. I think there is everything to win and practically nothing to lose by losening up this visa regime. I think it would help if the EU stopped constantly critisizing Russia and being generally paranoid about Russia's military. Let the Russians sort out their politics and internal problems themselves - the EU has plenty of its own issues to worry about! Greece, the Euro, immigration, the Belgian problem and Lord knows what else... In the meantime we can co operate in science, culture, education and industry.

    I can't see what problems that losening the visa regime it would cause for the EU or Russia/ CIS to losen restrictions... Can anybody else think of anything?

    As for the USA-Russia, I really don't know, but it's a longer journey and a bigger commitment since they there is an ocean to cross...

    And think of the people in Kaliningrad, they are almost locked in, or people affected by the split up of the USSR, such as Russian speakers in the Baltic states.

  7. #7
    Властелин
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    Nobody from Europe would be stupid enough to go to Russia and commit crimes
    Are you sure, although visas do not help much, probably. Spies, for example, come from Europe. I remember an English drug dealer was executed in China.

  8. #8
    Hanna
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    Well there are always exceptions to the rule!!!
    And I don't remember anything about an Englishman being executed in China! That would have been front page news....

    I am sure there is already plenty of spying in Russia by Europeans and others. Visa requirements won't stop them since they'll pass themselves off as businessmen, embassy staff and get a visa without problems.

    There might be "white collar" crimes by Europeans in Russia but again, I don't think visas play any roll in controlling that.

  9. #9
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    Согласен. Визы надо отменять. А шпионить в России иностранцы не умеют. Чтобы сделать хорошего шпиона нужно его долго тренеровать, учить языку и всё равно он "провалится", покупая пирожки. Поэтому они давно используют наших агентов, которые за копеечку продадут всё, что знают.

    Но, быть может, Европа боится трудовых мигрантов из России? Русские не очень мобильны и далеко работать не поедут. А вот таджики, узбеки и прочие - с удовольствием.

  10. #10
    Hanna
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    Labour immigration is not really a problem as long as the people in question WORK which no doubt people from Russia would do.

    The balance between East / West / North / South is working quite well in the EU right now.
    The problem are with non-Europeans and with that I mean Africans, Middle East people who have a different culture and are not able to adapt or learn the language.

    The problem is the people who don't work but live on welfare and have large families who also need to live on welfare, etc etc. "Refugees" for example are not allowed to work until the issue about their refugee status is resolved. This can take many YEARS. In the meantime, the country where they are is supporting them financially while they do NOTHING apart from maybe attend some (free) language classes. Once the refugee claim has been investigated, most of the people are NOT refugees and are told to leave. In the case of Sweden etc, where you can not really live without documents of your identity, they usually leave. But in England and some other countries that are not strict with documentation, the people simply stay on illegally instead. This is also bad because they are living in the twilight economy, exploited and illegally.

    As for people from ex Soviet countries, there were plenty of problems with crooks from the Baltic countries in Scandinavia in in the 90s, but this has reduced I think. Now instead, I have read that there are people from Uzbekistan who make it to Scandinavia (land route - the border Finland - Russia is apparently quite porous. Finland won't have anything to do with them, so they continue to Sweden.) They claim political asylum, i.e that they are dissidents, persecuted etc. Not sure what the situation with this really is.

    The only Russian speakers I have met in Sweden are smart and hard working people in professional type jobs. In the 1990s there were some problems with criminals but that has stopped now.

    In the UK there are lots of really rich Russians living. Not sure what they actually DO in the UK, but I have seen them in expensive shops and restaurants. The only other Russians I have met in the UK are programmers.

    I have no idea what kind of Europeans go to Russia and work.... I think perhaps workers in multinational companies, language teachers, perhaps people involved in voluntary work. Can't imagine they'd be much trouble either.

  11. #11
    Завсегдатай Crocodile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Юрка View Post
    А шпионить в России иностранцы не умеют. Чтобы сделать хорошего шпиона нужно его долго тренеровать, учить языку и всё равно он "провалится", покупая пирожки.
    Токмо справедливости ради... Ни одна разведка мира не будет пытаться переучить "своего" человека настолько, чтобы выдать его за "ихнего" человека. Это практически невозможно и бессмысленно. Русский человек провалится, покупая в Швейцарии лыжи. Или прыгая в воду в Антарктиде не совсем так, как остальные пингвины. Поэтому, резиденты работают под официальным прикрытием и вербуют агентов из местного населения. И при этом воруют секреты, в основном, не страны, в которой находятся, а секреты соседних стран.

    Quote Originally Posted by Юрка View Post
    Поэтому они давно используют наших агентов, которые за копеечку продадут всё, что знают.
    Или так, но там своя специфика. Тоже не просто.

  12. #12
    Почтенный гражданин capecoddah's Avatar
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    From The Moscow Times:
    Investors Cheer Visa, WTO Progress
    ST. PETERSBURG — In a significant easing of visa rules, U.S. and Russian citizens will soon be able to secure three-year multiple-entry visas and will not need to secure visa invitations, U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle said Thursday.
    Beyrle’s announcement and buoyant optimism about Russia joining the World Trade Organization this year gave investors much to cheer about at the opening of the three-day St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
    Beyrle won spontaneous applause when he announced at a Russia-U.S. business session that the major travel liberalization between both countries was just three weeks away.
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will sign an agreement giving tourists and business travelers from both countries the three-year multiple-entry visas “as a general rule,” Beyrle said.
    He acknowledged that existing hassles for obtaining visas were “the most pervasive barriers” for business and said the liberalization would have “a huge impact on a more active economic relationship.”
    He also promised that the agreement was just the start.
    “Three years is just the first step,” he said.
    I'm easily amused late at night...

  13. #13
    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    A three year multiple entry visa is pretty incredible, I'm not aware of the US having anything of the sort with any other country. And within 3 weeks with no congress approval BS. The big boys must be talking behind doors. This seems like a really positive development in US-Russian relations. It's time for this pointless and self defeating US gov't negativity toward Russia to end.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  14. #14
    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    sperk, the reason the US has stringent visa restrictions is that so many people want to move here. We are the land of milk and honey, you come here legally and you can go on welfare and get free money. And even as an illegal you can obtain certain free government benefits. The visa regulations here are not "self-defeating."

  15. #15
    Властелин
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    The Usa criticised the USSR because it did not allow its citizens to leave the country, and now they do not want to give visas to Russian people. Isn't it hypocritical? Are there many illegal Russian immigrants? Many people have emigrated to America during the last 20 years, but who gained from that?? America. Many young qualified specialists went there. Without immigration the USA simply wouldn't exist. How can they say Russia is not open enough if they made entering their country so difficult.

  16. #16
    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    The problem are with non-Europeans and with that I mean Africans, Middle East people who have a different culture and are not able to adapt or learn the language.
    Are they unable to adapt and learn the language, or do they decide that it's not worth the trouble to adapt and learn the language because most of the natives will never accept them or their children or their grandchildren as "real Danes" or "real Frenchmen" or "real Russians"?

    I know that in U.S. history, it was a long and painful struggle to persuade the majority of "native-born Americans" that someone born in China or Ecuador or Nigeria could become a "real" American. We're much better at this acceptance of non-European immigrants than we were in the past, but we're still working on it. However, when I read about the problems caused by non-assimilated Africans and Muslims in Europe, I always wonder: Is the real problem that they are not trying to assimilate, or that they try to assimilate but then give up because they are treated as "others"?
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

  17. #17
    Hanna
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    Well don't get carried away by any of this just yet. The situation has NOT changed whatsoever and it's really bad.

    I was at the Russian (in Minsk) embassy today and it was so bloody frustrating that I hardly want to write about it because it's not going to be very polite or flattering about Russia!

    [BEGIN RANT]

    Basically they have the wrong form ON THEIR OWN website and then complained about me filling in the wrong form. I filled in exactly the form that was referenced online, on an official Russian site. And furthermore, the form that I filled in, has the exact same information as the other one. The only difference is the number on top of the form.

    Then they want the original of a document (invitation from some government ministry) which I don't have. The document in question has a unique reference number to a record in a database where they could easily verify that the correct document is stored. But they think it's much more logical for me to ship the physical original doc from Moscow to Minsk via DHL, which will take at least 3 days, and cost 30 Euro.

    Furthermore, they have NO fast track service and the processing of ANY type of visa whatsoever takes a week.

    Additionally, the whole idea of invitations is a joke, since invitations are for sale online and there is no relevance whatsoever to what the person is really going to do in Russia. The registration process too, seems to be just one huge waste of peoples time, since it's either stating the obvious (that a tourist is staying at a hotel) or it's fake (someone bought a phony registration).

    Additionally, just a note - nobody at the entire consulate section could speak English. (I decided to try Crocodile's advice about speaking only English.) But it was literally not a possibility. I think the situation with English as lingua-france is crap too, but it's the reality of the world we live in, and you might think that they would at least have a single staff member who is able to communicate with non-Russian speakers - at an EMBASSY.

    Ok I realise that I should have fixed this bloody visa before I left London, but this is the STONE AGE. I have been to a fair number of countries that require visa and I have never encountered anything like this. The Belarus visa took 2 days in total. That is reasonable. 1 for the invitation and one to get the visa into the passport.

    I have no idea how Russians are treated when they apply for EU visas, but if the process is half as ridiculous as that for Russian visas, then I am really ashamed.

    I am going to go to Vitebsk in North Eastern Belarus and have the document delivered to me there. Once I recieve it, I will consider whether I am going to bother going to Russia or not. I REALLY wanted to and I could never dream it would be so bloody hard! I have already been to Ru for goodness sake, and it was simpler then, in the days of the USSR which everyone thinks is was so bureacratic and useless. But at least they could give a person from a nearby country a flipping visa in 24 hours, which is more than can be said about Russia at the moment!

    I am so fed up with this crap now that I have almost lost my interest in going there.

    [END OF RANT!!]

  18. #18
    Завсегдатай Basil77's Avatar
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    Hehe, Hanna, I warned you that stuff at Russian embassies all over the world are the worst scumbags you can meet ever. Now you know it from your own experience. The people who works there are generally children of "cool" parents who decided to make a diplomat from their kid and "arranged" for them a diplomatic career, they never achieved anything in their life themselves. Also Belarus embassy considered among the less "cool" embassies so the staff there must be "losers among losers".
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

  19. #19
    Hanna
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    Hm... Yes, your warning was totally accurate.
    I think the woman made up the requirement for the original doc on the spot, because she didn't like me or something.

    It was amazing to see how people from various countries in Asia came and tried to speak English with her, and she just totally refused even trying. Leaving them to try to use their 5 word Russian vocabulary to explain the problem.

    I checked the requirements for Kaliningrad too, in the hope that they had some special setup there or something - I heard that it was visa free some years back. But now there is a requirement for a visa, and there is no fast tracking available.

    All I can say is that it is fortunate that the Russian language is spoken in other countries too.
    Apparently Kazakhstan does not require visas of EU citizens. (Probably with the condition that they can find the country on a map, and do not mention the word "Borat....")

  20. #20
    Властелин
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    All I can say is that it is fortunate that the Russian language is spoken in other countries too.
    As I said before, it is spoken in Latvia and Estonia. So you don't even have to leave the EU.

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