The Visa Challenge!
Getting a visa to Russia is always a challenge. No matter what type of visa it is, be it a tourist visa, student visa, business visa or other, your stress level multiplies by three when you apply. A visa is a document granting permission to the holder to enter the territory of a sovereign state. In Russia’s case you must fill out copious paperwork listing your work history, military history, educational history, criminal history, what other countries you have visited, who your immediate family is, who you know in Russia, who your family is in Russia, why you want to come to Russia, what you will be doing there, where you will be going, when you will be going, have you ever been denied a visa or entry to Russia, have you ever been deported, if so why and don’t worry, just because you have been deported doesn’t mean you will be denied future entry to Russia, ha ha!
How can I explain to you all the adventures I have been on in trying to attain visas to Russia? Applying from the States, you can fill out and post your visa application in the comfort of home at least. When your visa is approaching expiration in Russia, and you plan to return to Russia, you must travel to another country to submit your application at a Russian embassy and wait for them to process the paperwork. I have been to Germany, Thailand, Mongolia, Estonia, and Lithuania on visa trips. For a couple of years, I had to leave every three months, that is four visa trips a year! Rough. You just acclimatize to Russia, and you’re off again! My fastest visa trip must be some kind of record. I traveled from Irkutsk to Moscow to Vilnius, Lithuania and back in forty eight hours, that is 6,196 miles by air, one night spent and one hot visa off the press! Usually things take longer. I once spent three weeks and two days in Mongolia waiting for a visa, so I could return to Russia and get married. I almost missed our wedding!
Our Visa Plan
I (Alex) plan to go to Russia on a tourist visa this go round. A tourist visa is good for one month. Once we get to Russia, Yulia will get registered in Irkutsk (all Russian citizens must be officially registered in the place they live). Once she is registered, she can invite me to Russia on a private visa for spouses of Russian citizens. This visa is good for three months. Then, I will be on that infamous three month rotation until I can get a long term living permit in Russia. We decided on this direction because all other visa options at this time are more problematic. Please pray that I will find peace in the Lord as I apply for visas and wade through government regulations and requirements this coming year.