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Thread: Well, I did try...

  1. #1
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    Well, I did try...

    Against all the advice I've ever had (and contrary to what I've done every other time I've visited), I decided that this time, I was going to apply for the correct visa (a visitor/ private visa), and go through all the proper channels. Just to satisfy my curiosity, mainly, this time I was going to be completely, 100% legal.

    So, I sent off all the required information to tyosha along with a photocopy of my passport, and waited. She was to visit OVIR to be given a form to fill in and take to the police, who would then check that everything was above board (more forms and questionnaires) before stamping that form so that she could return to OVIR and they'd issue my invitation, which would be sent to me so that I could present it at the Russian consulate and aquire my visa.

    At least, that was the theory.

    What actually happened was that after visiting OVIR the first time (and queuing for 5 hours) to receive the forms, then visiting the police station, she was informed that, in order to satisfy the criteria for a visa invitation, she'd be required to supply documentary evidence that (among other things) she could financially afford to support me for the fortnight duration of my stay, and that this would have to take the form of three months' bank statements and proof of adequate income!

    Well considering that a) she has never had a bank account in her life (presumably in common with many Russians her age), and b) as a pensioner, the vast majority of her income is sent to her from Blighty by her daughter, my wife, as unnofficial gifts, it was pretty obvious that she was never going to be able to fulfill these criteria, and the police told her as much.

    They were, however, good enough to suggest that I ignore the letter of the law and find myself a dodgy visa broker to arrange a tourist invite for me (then cross my fingers when I go to get it registered)!

    Great.

    So, that's what I'll have to do (again). Pay some fly-by-night 'travel' company to arrange an invite for a non-existant tour, just so that I can self-fund a visit to my in-laws.

    To be honest, I'm more amused than annoyed. The police are suggesting that I break the law, and system leaves me no alternative anyway! Yay! At least now I know that everyone who told me this would happen was right.

    Bureaucracy rulez!

  2. #2
    Почтенный гражданин
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    Ну, как говорится, плохие законы компенсируются их плохим исполнением.

  3. #3
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    Heh, I just knew there had to be a saying to go with this situation.

    Nobody does fatalism quite like Russians

  4. #4
    Старший оракул
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    So true.

    I nearly had a fit on the day I had to visit OVIR 4 times, just before that f**king registration timeout expired. I'll never forget the denouement ...

    OVIR officer to my employer: You do realize that you cannot pay him a salary with this visa?

    My employer: uh .. uh .. uh ...

    OVIR officer (absolutely no change in impassive demeanour): Well, just make sure you don't declare it.
    Море удачи и дачу у моря

  5. #5
    N
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    Quote Originally Posted by pisces
    Ну, как говорится, плохие законы компенисируются их плохим исполнением.
    Слегка не так.

    Строгость законов компенсируется необязательностью исполнения.

    И ещё про законы:

    Закон, что дышло: куда повернешь, туда и вышло.

  6. #6
    JB
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    I've been putting off applying for residency because that is an even bigger kashmar. OVIR is the ultimate torture trip.
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

  7. #7
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    Sounds like Marco Polo had more fun counting every single step on his way to Lhasa.
    Travelling legally just doesn't seem worth the bother these days. Just hide in the cargo hold of a plane and take it from there. At least it'll get your adreline running, unlike the comatose experience of waiting in queues, signing papers, and talking to clerks who are so emotionally drained that it's like speaking to a water-logged plank of wood. At least a plank of wood doesn't ask so many mundane questions and give you forms for you to write a rivetting novel on 'a day in the life of your finances and other mundane highlight of your life status'.
    Illegal travel is under-rated.

  8. #8
    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    scotcher, thanks for that.

    the next time I wanted to wangle my way over there, but I would not wish that experience on my worst enemy, let alone friends.

    So let us know about that fly-by-night 'travel' company you come up with.... Заранее спасибо большое!

  9. #9
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    'Fly-by-night' was perhaps a little unfair (I really meant it ironically, as if from the PoV of the Russian authorities), they are just people supplying a service that plugs a (stupid) gap in the market, and if it weren't for them it would much more difficult for me to travel to Russia at all, so I shouldn't criticise.

    As for who to choose, well I don't know what the situation is like in the US, but over here there are loads of companies to choose from. I've used this lot loads of times, but since their prices have gone up recently (and a matryoshka doll has appeared on their homepage ), I'm probably going to use someone else next time. The info wont be much good to you though, you'll need to find a US company.

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