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Thread: Where do i start ?

  1. #1
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    Where do i start ?

    If i can just get about 200 more dollars before the airfair goes up... it is looking good for moscow this december... I'm almost ready to apply for my passport too. The only thing that seems a little comfusing to me is the whole visa process. What do i do first ? seems like theres so many forms, like the invitation, and the itinerary (do you REALLY need that ? what if i dont know in what and to where i want to go yet ?) if someone could like, break it down for me, that would be cool. Where do i start ? do i need an invitation before i can ask for a visa or what ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasper May
    Линдзи, weren't you around when Mike left us? Or Dogboy (5+ times )?
    Im still gone. But where else can i get an honest answer to such a serious question as this ?

    Consider this visit, just an illioussssion!
    Вот это да, я так люблю себя. И сегодня я люблю себя, ещё больше чем вчера, а завтра я буду любить себя to ещё больше чем сегодня. Тем что происходит,я вполне доволен!

  2. #2
    JB
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    You must have an invitation to get the visa. The easiest way for a first time traveler is to go to a language school. It will cost you the same as one of those visa services but you will get a lot more (visa + Russian lessons) for your money. They also do all of the registration and save you a lot of hassel and wasted time. DO NOT attempt to go to OVIR and register by yourself. You will be frustrated, angry and never get registered ( which can create a world of problems). DO stay at the school's dorm or apartment housing. There is a new law in Russia that you MUST have your landlord sign you in at a totally different office before you can register. If you go to a school you don't have to deal with any of these problems. You just relax and have fun. The school I go to is inexpensive and even has work/study options.
    Another option is to go through a travel agency and get a 30 day tourist visa. But you can only stay at and be registered by a hotel. This will cost a lot more than a school and will be a lot less fun. A school is a great place to make friends and have a much better experience.
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

  3. #3
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    Sage advice JB, especially for younger people like Dogboy -> so, in a way, Dogboy, you can ignore the rest of this post..

    But, one thing, isn't this wrong? :-
    Quote Originally Posted by JB
    Another option is to go through a travel agency and get a 30 day tourist visa. But you can only stay at and be registered by a hotel.
    In fact, most of the agencies who issue priglasheniyas over the internet will also let you register at their office in Moscow or Pete's. Low cost and takes no time at all (at least when I did it in 2001).
    This gives you independence from hotels, which a lot of people value.
    However, I know there are these new weird landlord regulations which you mention. Do they change that calculation?
    Море удачи и дачу у моря

  4. #4
    JB
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    Yes, the new regulations change the easy old way of "buy" a business visa and the company does a quickie registration. Now you cannot register unless you include an official document filled out by your landlord and signed by him/her at the new office (sorry, can't remember the name of the place). A lot of street smart foreigners can get around this with a few dollars to their friendly neighboring babushka for a little excursion and a few white lies. But a young guy like dogboy is a sitting duck for all the scam artists, no matter how good his Russian language skills. Also there are plenty of internet scam artists who take the cash, and even if they do get you the visa they just point you to OVIR and say you are on your own for registration.
    And since hotels are expensive, restrictive, and boring I think dogboy would have a lot more fun in a situation where he can be independant and hang out with people his own age. The dorms are enough of a cultural challenge for a new visitor, go for the dangerous adventure on the second trip.
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

  5. #5
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    Hmm, JB, I already said that this discussion wouldn't apply to Dogboy, and that your advice to him was good .. maybe you didn't notice that in my post?

    And I thought we were talking about tourist, rather than business visas?

    Oh and a third point, the new landlord registration thing only applies to Moscow, right?
    Море удачи и дачу у моря

  6. #6
    JB
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    A tourist visa must be registered by a hotel. They do the "landlord" thing and registration all together. The new law applies to all of Russia but who knows if it's enforced in the villages. But if you get caught at the train stations without a registration life could become unpleasant. All this is a result of the recent terrorist bombings. In 2000 I too got a tourist visa via a Russian travel agent (the good old days! ) and stayed in a friend's flat. No problems. Just registered a few weeks down the line when we went touring and needed to stay in a hotel. Had to pay a $2 fine at the local police station (talk about cultural experiences!) but it was no big deal.
    But in February after the metro bombing the police started checking everybody. I've heard of some foreigners having the cops escort them home to make sure they are really living in the flat they are registered at.
    A tourist visa is only good for 30 days. They are no longer being extended. And if you stay over you could have difficulty getting a visa for your next trip. Again, what used to be a few dollars fine at the airport has turned into serious problems.
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB
    A tourist visa must be registered by a hotel. They do the "landlord" thing and registration all together. The new law applies to all of Russia but who knows if it's enforced in the villages. But if you get caught at the train stations without a registration life could become unpleasant. All this is a result of the recent terrorist bombings.
    A cynic - dreadful type - might lay the blame for the recent crackdown at the feet of Russian E.U. negotiators looking to get good currency over Kaliningrad after May. From what I hear, the terrorist effort is all mouth.

    But in February after the metro bombing the police started checking everybody. I've heard of some foreigners having the cops escort them home to make sure they are really living in the flat they are registered at.
    If I had a у.е. for every scare story I've heard about the police and foreigners in this country, I'd eat dreadful crab sushi every night. Provided they're not swarthy and leather-jacketed, the police are - in my experience - cap-tippingly deferent towards Moscow's resident aliens.
    А если отнять еще одну?

  8. #8
    JB
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    As a blond female the police never even look at me and customs agents usually ignore me. But after the Feb bombing my bags were searched for the first time ever at the airport. They even hand inspected every tiny makeup brush! (terrorists must have come up with a new teeny tiny explosive). And my red haired blue eyed son (100% Russian) was hasseled on a train coming home from the south. I think people who have a darker complexion probably had a lot more problems. I saw them being asked for documents at almost every metro station (same thing happened after the Pushkin station bombing in 2000).
    Scare story? Not really. Just part of life when living in a foreign country. In Los Angeles we have daily roundups of illegal aliens by the cops. But if you follow the law and have all your visas and papers legal you won't get picked up.
    Same in Russia. If you purposely don't follow the country's laws you run a risk. If a cop asks for documents and you hand him an unregistered or expired visa then you get what you deserve for breaking the law.
    It always amazes me how people think they have a right to break Russian visa laws. It isn't hard or any more expensive to enter the country legally and maintain a legal visa than it is to go through all the contortions of doing it illegally.
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB
    It always amazes me how people think they have a right to break Russian visa laws. It isn't hard or any more expensive to enter the country legally and maintain a legal visa than it is to go through all the contortions of doing it illegally.
    The law is ridiculous. Deserves bending, if not breaking
    А если отнять еще одну?

  10. #10
    JB
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    After my friend's sister almost got blown up in the Feb bombing, I wish the cops would check more people.
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB
    After my friend's sister almost got blown up in the Feb bombing, I wish the cops would check more people.
    I was four stops from Paveletskaya when the bomb went off. Makes you nervous, eh? Racial profiling and Byzantine regulations don't make the world a safer place, though; you need to stop fighting unwinnable wars to do that.
    А если отнять еще одну?

  12. #12
    JB
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    You sound like the stupid politicians in America. We don't want to offend any one by checking people who fit the description of the bombers (because they are of a certain religion and ethnic group) so we will check all the least likely suspects. Yes it is true that the 90 year old white American grandma may be taking a bomb on the plane and I have no objection to frisking her. But I have a real bias against people who complain that I am a bigot for saying that the terrorist sure seem to have a lot of identifiable features in common. If those features are blond females then I have no problem being stopped more often than a dark haired male.
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB
    You sound like the stupid politicians in America. We don't want to offend any one by checking people who fit the description of the bombers (because they are of a certain religion and ethnic group) so we will check all the least likely suspects.
    Stop-and-search is a global fudge, JB. It's low-tech, no-brainer gesture politicking on the part of - often deservedly - embattled police forces. By all means, have suspects and look them out; what I see in Moscow (it happens in Paris and London too, although rather more discreetly) is racial profiling and it isn't acceptable. Frankly, the best way to keep disreputables off the streets would be to cut police recruitment by half. Then you can spend the money getting your intelligence up to scratch. Perhaps a bit of gas-canister maintenance too.
    А если отнять еще одну?

  14. #14
    JB
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    The inteligence will tell you where they are hanging out but somebody has to stop them and look in their pockets. If on 9/11 the airport police had bothered to stop those guys who fit the description of people who like to bomb US ships and embassies we might still have the World Trade Center. But the Bozo Patrol in charge of US immigration and security is too busy being politically correct and trying to make our Chief Bozo look good.
    And if stopping all the stupid wars in the world would stop terrorism I'm all for it. But people have always been greedy and even if you stop all the wars they will still try to impose their beliefs, government, or whatever on every one else in the world. I'm for stoppng the $ drain to invade, convert, bribe (or whatever) other countries and put that cash into a more effective home protection program. This goes for both USA and Russia.
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

  15. #15
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    well, thanks for the advice JB. The only thing is, i dont know if i can afford a school. I still need 200 more dollars for airfare (if it doesn't go up even more, it already went up 1 dollar =P ) plus nearly 100 for passport and, i dont even know how much a visa costs. After i pay for ALL of that, it will be about October, and i have budgeted just enough to scrape by on a month in moscow. I was originally planning on trying to stay with somebody, so i didn't have to pay for a hotel, but i still have to check in with them, it's been about 2 months. I might need to find a cheap hotel or apartment ( IE. 20 dollars a night) if that doesn't work out. And... why should i not go by myself ??? That was the plan... i don't have anybody else to go with (and yes i guess i am that crazy about russia/russian), so i guess i don't know what to say ?

    I can still go to saint peterburg, if that might be 1) cheaper, 2) like i have heard so many times, "more tourist friendly" The only reason i chose moscow was because the plane stops in moscow first, then the goes up to peter, and i just couldn't wait . But i could just as easily stay on the plane and fly up to saint peterburg for the same price.
    Вот это да, я так люблю себя. И сегодня я люблю себя, ещё больше чем вчера, а завтра я буду любить себя to ещё больше чем сегодня. Тем что происходит,я вполне доволен!

  16. #16
    JB
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    Going alone to Russia is not a problem. It can be a lot of fun and you can make a lot of lifelong friends. But poor planning can ruin your whole trip and waste all of your hard earned cash. You do want to have a good experience, right? You want to make your $ last for the whole trip, yes? So how long do you want to stay there? What time of year? (December and summer are the most expensive times to fly). Do you want to really improve your language and conversation skills? What is your budget? If you want you can PM me these answers and I will help you figure out how to do it. I'll even tell you how to do the San Francisco Embassy paperwork. Or you can post it on this forum and I'll answer you here.
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB
    But I have a real bias against people who complain that I am a bigot for saying that the terrorist sure seem to have a lot of identifiable features in common. If those features are blond females then I have no problem being stopped more often than a dark haired male.
    See, the thing is, the Arabs and Indians do. My roomate is Indian, and we have great and detailed 'discussions' on the subject quite frequently. The fact of the matter is, we have people like the Unabomber and Timothy McVeigh that ruin the profile. Personally, I think we should stop all suspicious looking people, as well as all Arabs. It has worked thus far? I don't know of any other acts of Airplane terrorism. If I want to have a crazy grin glued to my face along with a four-foot, wild-man beard I'll stop for them to. And I certainly don't have anything in my suitcase that I mind them seeing. (I'm white and I've been searched every time I've ever flown. (Including at Pulkovo))
    Corrupting young minds since May 6, 2004.

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    Good point about the mcveih thing. But the truth is. If the majority of terroirts are dark skinned. Then the only way to prevent terrorists is to crack down on dark skinned people. Im sorry, it's the fraking truth. And you know what. If for some reason a whole bunch of white people start blowing up planes and converting to allah, then by all means racially profile white people, i dont care. I am white and i would much rather be strip searched than blown apart by some crazy ***hole who wasn't searched because the guard was too shy to question his nationality.
    Вот это да, я так люблю себя. И сегодня я люблю себя, ещё больше чем вчера, а завтра я буду любить себя to ещё больше чем сегодня. Тем что происходит,я вполне доволен!

  19. #19
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    The school I go to is inexpensive and even has work/study options.
    JB
    i'm-searching-for-an-advantageous-way-to-visit-Russia&practise-Russian-this-summer...
    about-the-school-you-mention:can-u-tell-me-which-school-is-it?so-i-can-perhaps-search-on-the-net... or-any-other-such-opportunity?

  20. #20
    JB
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    Language Link in Moscow. www.russian.language.ru
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

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