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Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia
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Author:  wiz [ 20 Mar 2010 21:54 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

On the Real Russia board in reply to our Sparky’s comments I posted this:


I am thinking out of my box aloud …. talking to myself, after reading the comments by Chris, you and Sokol.

a) Why and for what reason the Russian Government made this amendment to the law offering an extended 3 month period to a Private visit?

b) Is it because they realised that there are about 10-15 thousands of mixed marriages of Russian Nationals around the world and decided to make life easier for them and their family, when they want to visit mother Russia with their husbands/partners?

If that is the case why then they did not take into consideration that people like Sokol, me you and many others live far away from the Capital, where normally are the VC’s based, and made arrangements to accept postal applications?

Don’t tell me that our wives must go to the VAC “in person”, to sign the applications/invitation in their presence because they can’t verify their signature from their Russian Passport and why the require evidence that our wives are still registered in Russia?

Sokol did suggested another way for doing that, as we do legally here for other circumstances!

c) Could it be a devious plot to bankrupt Real Russia by any chance because they provide a good service and getting in the nose of certain people?

d) The person from the Russian Embassy that spoke to me he assured me that with the new arrangement my life would become easier…….. but the more I look the new arrangement the more difficult it becomes. If the intention was to help us why didn’t they extended the period, say to the same period of 5 years as the EU Resident card, renewable as long the marriage is still in force?

e) Or finally, could it be by any chance that the whole exercise was/is nothing more than a favour to a rich friend or few rich friends of the Russian government?

I think is the latter and you and me we will have to pay dearly for the privilege to be allowed to visit our Homes in Russia and also our extended Russian families ONLY in the company of our wives!

Author:  wiz [ 16 May 2010 06:55 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

My Day at the Russian Visa Centre in London

On Friday the 14 May, my wife and I went to London to apply for my Private Visa and I had no good experience with them. [sad.gif]

When I was making the application on line at home, the system made me to restart a couple of time because of some error problem with their software but finally I managed to print an application for an EU citizen.

The site obviously was designed by somebody on the cheap and reminds me of the days when I first started learning to build websites back in 1997-8. I am really surprised that a company with a monopoly in Russian Visas in the UK can't get their system to perform right as it is only one form you have to complete and it would not be difficult to make it to work like an "idiots guide!" Most of the questions are misleading and you have to guess what to reply and of course it doesn't take any special characters, bloody hopeless in my view!

Any how travelling to the centre, which is located in a cheap area of London, was very difficult place for me to go, coming from Surrey, and it took us over 2 hours and costed us over £30 in fares. They could have chosen another more easy and accessible place by underground, probably near to the consulate, which is not that expensive area anyway and many visa agencies are around there too!

In my hurry to catch up the train I left the Insurance policy required for EU citizens behind so when I arrived at the desk (the room was nearly empty anyway) without any explanations by the lady behind the counter I was given a list of documents that I must provide them and was asked to comeback tomorrow, with no other comments! I asked her if she speaks English and she replied "Da" [hahaha.gif]

Then the lady without answering my question, walked away and went for lunch! [surprised.gif]

Nice one I thought and started getting angry but luckily, a nice lady (Mila) took over and explained to us what was the problem. For EU Citizens the Russian now demand a travelling insurance (I have a year round one anyway) and also bank statements for the past 3 months showing minimum £100 per day to cover the duration of stay in Russia! [angry2.gif]

Any how I told her that I have my British Passport with me so she suggested I apply under my GB Nationality as they do not require an Insurance neither Bank statements for 3 months and have to make a new application on their computer.

For the next 2 hours tried to create a new application and answer correctly all the 42 questions with teh help of one of their consultants, but the system was constantly giving me an error and had to restart. Many questions were misleading where they are asking details, If I ever emigrated and to which country (this question applies only for Russians) and also the names of our relatives and full details about them, Countries I have visited the past 10 years with dates and so on and on. A real pain in the back side.

It is obvious the Russians have copied their application from the UKBA that Russian Nationals have to complete for their Visa to UK, without the Biometrics for now, but as I read elsewhere, probably Biometrics will be introduced pretty soon. [angry.gif]

Then my professional photo was not right so I had to go out and make some new ones and finally 4 hours later we managed to finish all this procedure, when in the past used to take me only 30 minutes, after getting inside the consulate and completing the application was very easy on line. BTW the application for EU citizens is only one page, but for British Nationals..... 2 full pages! The Russians retaliate to the shoddy treatment for their citizens by the UK and I do not blame them. I am sure the Biometrics system will come into operation pretty soon, now that we have a right wing Government!

As about the document my wife had to sign, is nothing special...... only I needed our ORIGINAL marriage certificate and the presence of my wife there and they made a Black copy of it (my colour copy was not acceptable!)

I regret for not applying for an invitation on line for a tourist visa and then post everything to them. It would have been much easier but ....... OVIR could cause me a problem out of bloody mindness!

Well after all that and 4 hours later getting out of the Centre, I told my wife that if by any chance they refuse my visa...... I will never go back to our Russian home until the time I will NOT have the need for any type of visa! [angry.gif]

I will wait and see what happens in Rostov at the end of the month and then I will be writing again to the president!

As you very well understand ... pigs may fly! [pullhair.gif]

Author:  Sparky114 [ 17 May 2010 07:20 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

Interesting Tale Wiz

Now I have 2 first hand accounts of how it works, yours and that of our good friends in Milton Keynes.

Yours I think is made more difficult by the Visa status that you are here by, Moby is the same he seems to go through more hoops of fire than we have , and we have done a few by now!

Our friends in Milton Keynes here under the same FLR /ILR that we have, were done and dusted in 20 mins and got the Visa 5 days later..... so it would seem it is the luck of the draw and how prepared you are.

What are you doing in Rostov? and you know that will be trouble just mentioning the airport starts to get me Angry [angry.gif]

Oh Well good luck and let us know how you get on, as it looks like I will be there soon

PS just been to the smoke on Saturday for 3 of us on the Megabus 6 pounds from Oxford return [wink.gif] and about £10 on the oyster card for the underground [sarcastic.gif]

Author:  wiz [ 17 May 2010 11:35 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

EU eyes open borders with post-Soviet countries

The EU is likely to take a big step toward visa-free travel with Russia at an upcoming summit. But Poland wants to make sure that other post-Soviet countries, especially Ukraine, are also included.

EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday (10 May) raised the prospect of handing Russia a roadmap for visa-free travel at a regular summit to take place in Rostov-on-Don, near the Black Sea coast, on 31 May.

Finland's Alexander Stubb said after the meeting that Germany favours the idea. "For me the key issue of the summit is the visa issue," he told German press agency DPA. "There have been very positive movements: Germany has been a swing state."

The roadmap is a list of reforms that a country has to put in place to qualify for visa-free travel, such as introduction of biometric passports, adoption of laws on data protection and improvement of border security. It does not oblige the EU to drop visa requirements on a set date. But it does oblige the union to react if the target country meets the criteria.

Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski said the EU should not leave out in the cold the six post-Soviet countries in its Eastern Partnership scheme, however. The scheme covers Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

"The political impulse for intensifying visa dialogue must be the same for all these countries - Russia and the six countries of the Eastern Partnership, and we will defend this. Visa policy cannot go against our declared foreign policy," he told Polish media on Monday.

Visas are a hot topic in eastern Europe.

EU eyes open borders with post-Soviet countries

Lavrov: Russia is ready for visa-free travel with EU

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is convinced that Issues related to visa-free travel regime between Russia and the European Union will be settled shortly.

This week Sergey Lavrov met with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton in Moscow.

The idea of visa-free travel between Russian and the EU has broad support amongst the member countries. Fernando Valenzuela, head of the European Commission in Moscow, has said that the visa regime between the Russia and EU can be simplified as early as the coming first half-year, as BarentsObserver reported.

After his meeting with the EU representative, Mr. Lavrov told Russian media that it soon I time to be talking about “concrete schedules” for introduction of a visa-free travel regime with Europe:

-Our side raised the issue of the need to specify the main objective in the bilateral relations – the introduction of a visa-free regime, the minister said according to newspaper Vzglyad. - We hope that the consultations between our experts will be successful and the issues of visa-free regime will be settled shortly, he added.

-Russia is ready to transfer to a visa-free regime even tomorrow, he noted.

Lavrov: Russia is ready for visa-free travel with EU

Russia Poised To Leapfrog Ukraine, Moldova In EU Visa Drive

Russia is putting pressure on the EU to turn the next top-level meeting between the two -- the Rostov-na-Donu gathering on May 31 -- into a "visa summit." Foreign ministers meeting this week indicated that most bloc members support the idea of giving Russia a virtual road map to visa-free ...

BRUSSELS -- Russia is putting pressure on the European Union to turn the next top-level meeting between the two -- the Rostov-na-Donu gathering on May 31 -- into a "visa summit."

Officials in Brussels say the EU and Russia will jointly sign a document at Rostov-na-Donu outlining "common steps" toward visa liberalization. This would represent a significant advance for Russia in its decade-long drive toward visa-free travel in the EU. At the same time, it would hand Russia a psychological and political victory over countries like Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, who have long awaited visa liberalization and have offered political reforms to get it.

'Road Map' In All But Name

In all but name, the common steps constitute a "road map" -- the EU term for an agreement committing the bloc to dropping its visa requirement for short-stay visitors to its Schengen space (comprising all EU countries except Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Romania; as well as Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland) once its conditions have been met.

I hope it happens soon as there will be no problem for me visiting Russia with my Greek Passport! [biggrin.gif]

Equality with my Wife's Resident Card! [biggrin.gif] [biggrin.gif] [biggrin.gif]

Russia Poised To Leapfrog Ukraine, Moldova In EU Visa Drive

Author:  wiz [ 17 May 2010 13:26 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia


I still think that the new procedure for a private Visa to Russia is still complicated and expensive because of the requirement for the presence of the inviting partner and not accepting postal Applications!

Let me make it clear that it is my fault that I forgot the Insurance Policy at home, otherwise the Private Visa under the EU citizenship would have been cheaper and easy! [oopss.gif] [angry.gif]

Actually the application form for EU citizens is only 1 page, like it used to be for the UK passport holder before, but now the Russians in retaliation to the inhumane treatment on their citizens by the British when they apply for a visa to UK, they just are copying the same kind of forms and procedures. As I said before, I am sure they will introduce also Biometrics too, for which the British Nationals will have to Visit London or Edinburg!

My problems started when I had to follow this route under my British passport and their computer kicking me out twice did not helped my mood.

Of course I criticised the attitude of the first lady I spoke but the second one saved the day and calm me down!

I am not going to Rostov but if you read the previous post you will understand why I am waiting to see what happens there!

Unfortunately where I live there are only 2 ways to travel to London, Car and train so I always choose the train if it is Central London or the car outside the congestion Charge!


I think most of the problems with his paper work are created by him.

When I first advised him about the Directive and what he has to do I explained to him that he can have his passport back, after his wife's application arrived in the UKBA. Of course he didn't take notice and did something else, which caused him problems.

Now that his wife and step son have their RESIDENT CARDS, I told him that the French consulate web site is wrong, posted for him a copy from the reply I received from the EU Commission/Parliament petition department, clarifying the position for Resident Card Holders advising him that he will have no problems travelling to France as I have been there 3 times....... and of course he does not take notice to my advice and goes looking for trouble on other sites!

Author:  wiz [ 22 May 2010 19:49 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

I got my private invitation Visa but.....

Well it looks that I have messed up big time with my Private visa application! [angry.gif]

I should have gone with my original decision to apply for a tourist visa for 30 days instead of listening to her indoors!

The VAC on their web site state:

In view of the changes to the Federal Law "On the procedure of entering and leaving the Russia Federation" on 15th August 1996 № 114-FL effective from 12th March 2010, applications will be accepted from citizens of the Russia Federation lawfully staying in UK, to issue visas for members of their families who are foreign nationals (spouses, children under the age of 18, incapacitated children of any age) to enable them to enter the territory of the Russian Federation accompanied by the citizen of the Russia Federation, who signed the visa request form. The applications can only be submitted for the issuance of a single entry/double entry private visa effective for up to 3 months. The minimum time for processing such applications is 5 working days.

At the time I was under the impression that the visa will be issued for the duration up to 3 months... but that is not the case and I was only issued a Visa for the 14 dates we are travelling and stated on the invitation letter supplied by my wife!

On the UK Moscow Embassy site there is this comment in regards to the Volcano disruptions of flights:

We have been in touch with Consular Migration officials at the airport. [b]If your visa has expired within three days of your flight you are able to obtain an exit visa at the airport. You are advised to keep your original flight ticket to prove why you have been delayed. When you go to the airport for your flight, give yourself plenty of time. Tell the airline when you go to check-in that you need to obtain an exit visa. The airline will advise you what you need to put on your visa request letter. You then need to take this request to the Duty Consular Officer, who will issue your exist visa, the charge for this is $25.

So if the flights are cancelled for over 3 days ..... I am stuck in Russia with an expired visa! I expect the Russians will do everything possible to help me! [angry.gif]

I told my wife that this is the last time I am going to Russia, I had enough of this Visa business nonsense etc.

I will only go back when I do not need to have a Visa!

Author:  Donhollio [ 24 May 2010 07:13 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

Sorry to hear about your troubles Wiz. Russia's visa regime is ridiculous. Having to registar within 3 days, just the time that takes alone (2-3 hrs) The dimwits making you find a copier to make extra copies, like heres an idea. Give the tourist extra copies, OR have a copy machine in the building! Novel idea I know, and you'd think a post office would have one , but no.

Back when Ukraine had a visa requirement, I filled out the very simply 1 page app, and sent it off with a photo. One time when I got my UA visa back I realised I made a blunder on the entry date into the country! [surprised.gif] With time running out before departure I told the UA embassy what happened, she told me to send it back to them and they'll fix it.
A week later I get it back and all they did was write in pen on the visa stamp itself! I wasn't able to read it, but it cleared UA customs once they read whatever the Embassy here wrote. I shutter to think what would of happened had that been for Russia. [bat.gif]

Author:  Rasboinik [ 24 May 2010 08:43 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia


I fully agree that the Russian visa requirements are a bad joke.
But lets be fair the Russians have to put up with much much more BS than we do when applying for a visa.

Regarding the registration issues.

For first time tourists I agree that it is a pain having to supply extra copies when registering.

For second and further registrations, when one knows what is required then I will say "be a boy sprout" "be prepared".

As for my procedure.
I arrive in Russia, make a cup of coffee, fire up my PC, scan the immigration card (because it is a different card every time), print the forms, enter the new dates, my missus signs the forms, I finish my coffee, we go to the post office, (depending on the queue) within 10 minutes my missus is out of the post office all done and dusted, I meet my missus out side the post office (depending on the speed of the lady in the flower shop), we go to a café I have another coffee.

Total time (excluding the coffee drinking time) around about 30 minutes so no big deal.

Author:  Luckyspin [ 04 Aug 2010 14:37 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

Visa Regime Tightening in Russia

Latest news from the Passport Magazine in Russia

Without fuss, fanfare or attracting the attention of AmCham (American Chamber of Commerce in Russia), the Russian authorities have been quietly tightening their approach to issuing visas to foreigners who are frequent visitors to Russia. Most vulnerable appear to be those who continue to flout the need for work permits and those who have not acquired official residency.

The Passport Magazine has been alerted by a number of lawyers and accountants representing small- and medium- sized enterprises and individual entrepreneurs that visa applications are now being refused for foreigners, including westerners, who have two ‘strikes against them’ in terms of recorded infringements of civil or criminal codes, or two administrative violations in the last three years.

Chetwynd Bowling, partner of Alinga Consulting Group, told us “In theory two parking tickets are enough”. One of Alinga’s clients was almost barred for not registering his visa on time “twice in the last three years”.

So boys take note and behave..... [wink.gif]

Author:  Luckyspin [ 30 Nov 2010 01:47 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

EU and Russia: An uphill road to visa-free travel

Dmitry Medvedev and Tarja Halonen

09/11/2010 RIA Novosti political commentator Andrei Fedyashin

Tarja Halonen, the president of modest, wealthy and friendly Finland, has arrived on a state visit to Russia. On November 9, she held talks with her Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev and will now depart for Kazan, where she will remain until November 11.

How unfortunate that with this president we won't be able to resolve our problems in the sauna, the place where it is the easiest to negotiate with the Finns. However, not even a good steam will relax our EU partners enough to consent to visa-free travel with Russia anytime soon.

After meeting with Medvedev, Halonen said that she "welcomes the ARRIVAL of visa-free travel." When exactly it will arrive remains unclear.

Major bilateral and international issues are always reserved for meetings between presidents. Russia and Finland are ready to expand cooperation across the board - in energy, ship-building, forestry and transportation. We are prepared to work together to clean up the suburbs of St. Petersburg and to cooperate on nanotechnology. We have taken similar positions on European and global security, a peace settlement in Afghanistan, resolving the nuclear dispute with Iran, fighting drug trafficking and cooperation with the EU. We both recognize the need for a new European security architecture. Finland has always been a testing ground for Soviet and Russian political initiatives (with the exception of the Finnish War of 1939). Based on Finland's reaction, Russia can tell what will fly in Europe, and what won't.

But despite President Halonen's support, Europe is denying Russia what all countries outside the Schengen Area want most - visa-free travel in the EU. Moscow has been relentless on this issue for the last few months but to no avail. And it is unlikely to succeed in the next three or four years, and perhaps longer.

This is by no means a disaster. Russia is willing to move forward gradually, beginning with easier visa procedures for diplomats, businessmen, students and tourists. In fact, this process is already underway. The pace of progress is not the problem, it's the fact that we are moving forward in fits and starts. It didn't have to be this way.

We wanted it as fast as possible, but it turned out as always.

Russia deserves better than the polite but firm "no" it has received time after time. We find ourselves in this embarrassing position for three reasons: a) we are always impatient and fail to understand that while we want to be part of Europe, Europe does not necessarily want us; b) we underestimate how valuable the visa issue is to the EU as a tool of diplomacy - it can be wielded as both carrot and stick; and c) we have not chosen the best time for our campaign to rapidly transition to visa-free travel, without a lot of red tape.

Up until the Russia-EU summit in Rostov-on-Don last May, we stubbornly refused to accept these three reasons, nearly driving ourselves into a dead end as a result. After all, Europe had previously proposed "common steps" on liberalizing visa requirements, which would be in the interests of both sides. We were supposed to start complying with the EU's technical demands - exchanging visa information, forming databases, developing a system to ensure the security of documents, synchronizing visa requirements, the repatriation of illegal immigrants, etc. In turn, the EU was supposed to gradually lift visa restrictions.

This will be a slow process to be sure, but it's better than the Russian-EU visa "revolution" that has been opposed by former Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe. Extending the "visa quarantine" is more or less the only weapon they have left against Moscow, and they seem content to exact their petty revenge with it.

Moscow is falling behind Kiev and Chisinau

Moldova and Ukraine are about to receive what Russia is being denied. Soon both will be granted an action plan toward visa free travel. The European Commission has already made the relevant decisions. This is something like the halfway point on the road to visa-free travel. Ukraine will receive this "halfway" ticket at the upcoming EU-Ukraine summit on November 22. The plan calls for amendments to national laws on visa support, security and the rapid repatriation of illegal immigrants.

There is no concrete timeframe for the transition from the action plan to visa-free travel. But Kiev is hoping that it will be granted by 2012, when Ukraine and Poland will host the UEFA European Football Championship. Ukraine has agreed to comply with all provisions of the EU's "technical document" on visa-free travel. Incidentally, the requirements imposed on Ukraine are much more stringent than the requirements on Russia, which we thought would slow down the process too much.

We've already adjusted our position

Brussels admits that no action plan is being drafted for the EU-Russia summit scheduled to take place in Brussels in December, and nobody knows when one will be drafted. Ukraine and Moldova are not the most advanced post-Soviet democracies, and officials in Brussels do not even conceal that this "visa acceleration" is meant to draw these countries closer to Europe. The EU has been concerned about Viktor Yanukovich's pro-Russian views since he took office. And now that right-wing forces in Moldova have split, Brussels is worried about a potential communist comeback there.

There is hope yet for Russia. Judging by the statements coming from Brussels, it is not too late for Russia to comply with European demands (which we will have to do eventually if we want to travel to Europe without visas). At the summit in Deauville, France on October 18-19, attended by Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, and Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president allegedly accepted the requirements contained in the EU's technical document on visa-free travel. It turns out that Russia will receive its visa-free status piecemeal.

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