Russian Bureaucracy

Posted: March 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

Due to a family emergency, I have gone briefly back to the States. In the past 24 hours, I have been on two trains, the metro, a ten hour Aeroflot flight, and a 90 minute car ride. I have been through Moscow, two boroughs of NYC (clearly a stop had to be made in the Bronx for pizza), and Norwalk on the way to my home. More of these travels will be chronicled at a later time, but right now I want to tell a tale of Russian bureaucracy.

Firstly, my “multi-entry” visa was not actually multi-entry. According to the migration office in Ulyanovsk, one can use a muti-entry visa to exit Russia, return, and once again exit Russia. As I had to go home, but also am planning on returning to Russia, this presented a slight problem. I did not foresee needing to go home, so I did not have a new multi-entry visa made when I returned from my Christmas and New Year’s vacation. While the situation at home was transpiring, I worked on the visa situation. I did not know until Thursday that I needed to go home; however, earlier in the week I felt like the case might happen so I began to prepare. On Monday, I filled out my visa application form, handed over 1000 rubles, and had a series of photos taken.

There was another problem in addition to the fact that I needed another visa. This problem is that it takes 20 days to process a new visa. Figuring I might have to leave in a hurry, I called in a favor from the government official. He proceeded to call his assistant and then hand me the phone. On Tuesday night, the assistant assured me that he would call the migration office the next day around 9AM, when they started work. At 10 AM, the assistant called me back and told me that the visa would be ready that day. Within three hours, the International Department at the university was notified that my visa was ready and that I could pick it up. Here was the other fun bit – in Ulyanovsk, people can only pick up visas on Monday and Fridays. However, I was given permission to pick up my visa on that very same day, Wednesday. As it was not a general day at the migration service, the office was mostly deserted and I did not have to wait in line to pick up my visa.

Armed with my new visa, I went to the airport. While leaving the country, I caused a slight spot of bother because my visa did not match the visa number on my migration card. Apparently, the migration officer was confused that I had acquired a new visa to leave and return to Russia instead of just leaving the country. Eventually, he accepted my new visa and let me on my way. I just hope that I don’t have any problems upon my return.

  1. Jenn Bell says:

    Hope everything is OK. Glad you made it home safe. And hope you have a safe trip back. Miss you! xoxo

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