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 Post subject: Re: My Russian adventure and troubles
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: 05 May 2009 23:07 
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My Russian adventure and troubles

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...........Dimitrovgrad Coat of arms .......................................Cultural Centre

Finally I found time to read Wiz’s great story and I personally can identify with so much of what he has to say. It’s a great insight of what most people can expect if they are to follow this journey of an international relationship.

It's far more interesting than living with someone from your own culture, it's not predictable and every day you learn something new about other parts of the world, a different perspective a different view, which I think makes us better and more understanding as a human being and maybe more tolerant of others.

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Dimitrovgrad street

I was planning to live in another country in Europe, Italy or Austria but then I met my Russian wife and later got a job offer near Moscow, unfortunately I ended up in trouble with the OVIR in Dimitrovgrad and now I am black listed for 5 years, I cannot get another business or tourist visa until 2013 !!!!.

Why?

Well I think Wiz you hit the nail on the head when you spoke of jealousy in some offices and I believe this to be the case in the OVIR office of Dimitrovgrad. I never broke any laws, I registered in the correct way but they stitched me up and fined me twice. At the time I did not understand what was going on and just thought they were making money from me with fines, good old Russian corruption and my wife being typical Russian believed that the officials were correct and I was wrong.

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Dimitrovgrad Sputnik cinema



Russian people tend to not questions officials they just accept what they are told as truth :x but now I'm paying a high price for being naive - a lesson to all, make sure you register your visa the day you arrive and if they refuse or fine you get a signed letter explaining why ? So that you can give the information to a solicitor, make only 2 offences (protocols) and you can be banned for 5 years!

Anyway this put a stop to any chance of me living in Russia and also made me realise that Europe is a much better and easier place to live for me. At least I understand the laws here, and rights to appeal. I can see why people are now reluctant to invest in the Russian Federation, its too easy to loose everything you have there. It’s a real shame because there are so many good people in Russia and many opportunities, but I think a very difficult place for Western people to adapt to.

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Dimitrovgrad Administration offices


So after the refusal by the UFMS in Moscow to renew my business visa I am in a dilemma. I have a Russian wife living in Russia and I can't see her as often as I want to. Eventually Tatiana arranged with much “persuasion” to the director of immigration in Ulyanovsk to get me a private invitation visa and I have been back once. I'm currently in the process of getting another private invitation visa, but it’s a slow process and only single entry is allowed with each visa. But now the plan is to stay in the UK and my Wife and son come to join me later this year.

Now my wife has all the issues to deal with coming here, she has only once been to the UK and comes again in a few weeks. She is understandably nervous about coming to live here and to leave her friends, work and family behind and of course I am worried that she will not enjoy life here, because its not her dream to live here. She would prefer to stay in Russia I am sure, she is a very senior accountant and enjoys her work but I think it will be sometime before she can gain such a job in the UK.

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Dimitrovgrad Church


She is also very patriotic and loves her Russia and not at all impressed by all our extra wealth and facilities in the UK. They don't replace the basic things in life such as values, respect, family, friendships and traditions for which Russia is much richer than the UK.

My wife only speaks a very basic level of English and this is her biggest concern. I am actively trying to find some Russian people here in the UK who can advise her and give her confidence to come and make her feel at home. I can be supportive but I think only another Russian who has made the move to the UK can sympathise with what lies ahead for my wife and give her good advice based on experience.

Yes I have a very good relationship with my wife but her first priority is to her son, to his future, education and welfare and I respect this quality in her and it seems that in general Russian mothers take far more interest in their children’s life.

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Dimitrovgrad Rail Station


It seems every day there is a new challenge to our international relationship. I never expected it to be easy but at the same time I never thought there would be so many hurdles. I thought after marriage everything would be so much easier - not so in Russia. Technically if you have a Russian wife you cannot enter on a Tourist Visa - only a Private Invitation visa, visa agents don't tell you that!

Also, as you know, even our own lovely English government doesn’t welcome our wife’s here. If it was not for her sons Education we would be off to live in Austria together where she would be accepted without questions, as the wife of an EU Citizen.
But despite all the travels, visa problems, time apart and expense I am still happy and proud that I have a Russian Wife. [glad.gif]


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 Post subject: Re: My Russian adventure and troubles
Post Number:#2  PostPosted: 06 May 2009 12:24 
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Nice post Julian. I am sorry to hear of your troubles and problems. I can't disagree with anything you say but I do think when two people love each other it is not as important where you live as long as you are together.

When my wife and I applied for our K-1 visa for America we ran into some snags and were beginning to wonder if we would ever get our visa. We were actually looking at options of where to live if we couldn't get the visa. We made trips to Sochi and the Carribean with one of the primary goals to see how we would like living there. Actually while we were in Grenada our visa problems got solved. Grenada was actually the place we picked if it had not and even had decided what kind of business we were going to try to start there.

Russia has to have the strangest laws and most stupid regulations of about anywhere in the more advanced world. Sad!

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 Post subject: Re: My Russian adventure and troubles
Post Number:#3  PostPosted: 06 May 2009 13:53 
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turboguy wrote:
Nice post Julian. I am sorry to hear of your troubles and problems. I can't disagree with anything you say but I do think when two people love each other it is not as important where you live as long as you are together.

Russia has to have the strangest laws and most stupid regulations of about anywhere in the more advanced world.

Sad!


Julian

Great post and I have to agree with you that life in Russia is very difficult for their citizens, who have to endure such stupid and silly behaviour by petty and corrupt Tinpot Dictators.

I have to admit that I was several steps ahead of you because I had alredy experienced that kind of behaviour in my own country Greece, when I was living there 38 years ago, so I knew how to handle difficult situations, especially with OVIR.

When I first visited UFA and together with my current wife went to register my immigration card, I nearly came to blows with the officer in charge because he spoke to my wife in a very nasty manner, implying she was a prostitute, because she had a foreign boyfriend. I got very angry and furious, used certain explicates in English language (easily understood by Russians) that it could have landed me in jail but I didn’t care. I demanded of him to apologise to my wife and told him to speak to me only and not to her and if he can’t speak English to bring a translator. I threatened to call the British Embassy (I have a British Passport) and create a huge problem for him. Well after he realised that I was not a shrinking violet he stamped my Immigration Card and gave it to my wife…. Not me. So I had another go at him telling him to address only me and not my wife anymore. My poor wife was really trembling, terrified, in tears and stiff worried that I will be landing in jail, which of course made me angrier with that bastard.

Next few times I went to the office on my own……… and guess what? Special service for this bloody foreigner to get him out of his office ASAP. He even accepted me signing the application form on behalf of my wife… she had forgotten to do so. :(

Turbo

I disagree with you that Russia has so many stupid Laws because it is my experience and have observed various procedure and they are very similar to our Western laws and procedure with small exceptions, like the OVIR registration of your Visa.

The truth is, as I said in my own thread, that the various petty little officials are jealous of our wives having found a foreign man and are able to get out to the promised land, where our pavements, in their ignorance, are full of gold, so they take revenge against them by making and interpreting their laws in whichever way it suits them to either extract a bride or to make them suffer the inconviniences.

My wife had to wait for 2 extra weeks to collect her passport, last September, because a little bitch at the local Passport office would not deliver it (give it) to her despite that it was back from Moscow around the 20 of September. BTW the Moscow Passport office where very fast indeed, it took them only a week from the day my wife applied to return her new passport to the UFA Office.

I can go on and on about these problems but as Julian said, the Russian people are trained by the system to accept such behaviour and suffer and do not complaint like us.

Julian I am sure there is an appeal procedure in place but obviously you have to find the right person and solicitor to pursuit your case. On the other hand your wife also knows that paying a bribe is expediting things and is quicker and faster so in her culture is acceptable. Not in mine as I am bloody minded.

If you read on another thread, I have taken on and fighted the French Consulate in London and won my case and they were forced to implement the article 5(2) of the EU Directive 2004/38/EC, so now my wife can travel with her RESIDENT UK CARD, freely in most of the EU countries.

I have petitioned the European Court of Justice against the Spanish and Portigese Governments for the same reason and it has been accepted…. But it will take sometime before coming to open court, but I have the time… before we want to travel to these countries.

Well done for writing your post. It’s great.

:bravo:

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 Post subject: Re: My Russian adventure and troubles
Post Number:#4  PostPosted: 06 May 2009 16:18 
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I think that maybe in the big cities where there are many foreign tourists the problems with Visa's are minimal and there is always a visa agent to help but when you go to the small cities they just are not prepared for western tourist and can make their life hell, well certainly in Dimitrovgrad.

I was travelling with a business visa as advised by a well known Visa agent in this country (Real Russia, RR) , I had been to Moscow without problems but in Dimitrovgrad they told me it was not possible to register this type of Visa to a private house ( not true as i now know) and i should only stay at a hotel, so i paid a fine (about £40) and they registered me, on my second visit they made the same situation, they really wanted me to stop in a Hotel, whats the difference where i stay aslong as they know where i am, bloody stupid but maybe they have a deal with the hotel. For sure i would not stay at the hotel and was convinced i was doing everything correctly with the correct visa but just to not cause a big deal i paid again a fine (this time £80) as it was the only way i was going to get registered.

On my third visit to Dimitrovgrad they wouldn't register me at all, the girl said that i had already committed 2 offences and if i registered again in this city i could be banned for 5 years and she suggested i went to Samara and tried there. Now i was starting to get worried and realized i was in trouble, i spoke with Chris from Real Russia and he explained the facts, he actually told me to get a solicitor and go back and demand they register me, my GF was not keen on this and causing trouble, so RR in Moscow contacted the OVIR office, they would not speak so then they contacted the regional office in Ulyanovsk, they finally agreed that i was within my rights to register a business visa to my GF's flat but i must supply and original letter of Invitation from the Business inviting me to Russia (ie RR).

For sure they suspected that i had no business interests and technically should not be in Russia with this type of Visa, i think in Moscow they turn a blind eye to it but if you have no business there then you should have a tourist visa, but most like me go the business visa route. Well i was actually going to Russia every month so a tourist visa was not practical, yes my main interest was my GF but i could easily have shown some business interests if needed and even had a letter from a Director of their Motosports Federation in Moscow who had wrote that i was helping them and also the company where my GF works would have supported me.

Eventually after more senior people got involved they registered me, so they have almost accepted that they where wrong and i was right and you would have hoped that my previous two fines would have been forgot about !! no :x , i should have gone with a solicitor and got it all cleared up but i thought that as finally they accepted me all was good. I returned a few times after with the same Business visa and official letter of invitation from RR and had no further issues, even getting married with this visa in Dimitrovgrad. But when i came to renew the Visa they just took my money and said no, i could not get a good reason why, only that i had committed federal offences about visa registration, they wouldn't even tell me for how long i was banned or what i could do, i have tried again for tourist Visa's with different passports at different Consulates but each time they will just take the money without good explanation, i have made so many phone calls, sent letters, emails and all with no replies. Visa agents Real Russia where very helpfull to me but even they could not get to the bottom of the problem, its only several months after being refused a visa that i have started to realise what they did in Dimitrovgrad, basically they told me one thing which was incorrect (late registration) but when we got copies of the protocols (document detailing offence) it showed i had registered my Visa's late each time - this is not true but several months later i cannot prove otherwise and late registration is an offence so i'm doomed, i have been stitched up, i was never a trouble maker, always patient and polite and in fact only my Wife spoke to these people who is very experienced in dealing with officials (but not immigration) so i can only presume they just don't like foreigners in their town. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise because i now realize that i could not have lived in Russia or certainly not have enjoyed my life there, i would miss too many things that we take for granted in Europe and its much better now that my wife decides to live in the UK or Europe where i can provide for her in a culture and system i understand and trust to a degree.

But it still amazes me that even after several months of trying to understand my problem and how i could get a way back into Russia absolutely nobody could give me any real advice, even all the Veterans on some well known forums who normally know everything didn't have one bit of advice, i can't be the only one who has ever been banned. I would have thought somebody would be able to say that you should contact this person or use this solicitor, even just a sorry mate you have no chance would have been better than nothing, i just came up against a big wall of silence - a big bloody black and thick Iron Curtain i think :shock: , but where there's a will there is a way and i have proved its possible to get back in, i only wish i could speak fluent Russian and maybe then i could innvestigate more and speak with the OVIR office when in Russia and try to get to the bottom of the issue, because i would like to go there without all the hassles of a private invitation visa. I hope from my post that others can learn from my problems and hopefully avoid getting into a similar situation.


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 Post subject: Re: My Russian adventure and troubles
Post Number:#5  PostPosted: 09 May 2009 10:59 
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Julian

I am sorry but I can't understand why you had so much trouble with OVIR. I did have a little problem at the begining but I was not afraid to address the officer in question in a confident manner and as I said in another post, I nearly landed in prison for swearing at him in English. Obviously he did not understood what I was saying.

I was travelling on a Business Visa too and never had such problem as yours..... obviously somebody in Ulyanovsk did not liked you dating a local woman.... ;)

Anyhow I am waiting to speak to a friend and ask a couple of questions regarding your case and what can be done. I will let you know what she has to say, when I speak to her.

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 Post subject: Re: My Russian adventure and troubles
Post Number:#  PostPosted: 12 May 2009 01:22 
turboguy wrote:
Nice post Julian. I am sorry to hear of your troubles and problems. I can't disagree with anything you say but I do think when two people love each other it is not as important where you live as long as you are together.

When my wife and I applied for our K-1 visa for America we ran into some snags and were beginning to wonder if we would ever get our visa. We were actually looking at options of where to live if we couldn't get the visa. We made trips to Sochi and the Carribean with one of the primary goals to see how we would like living there. Actually while we were in Grenada our visa problems got solved. Grenada was actually the place we picked if it had not and even had decided what kind of business we were going to try to start there.

Russia has to have the strangest laws and most stupid regulations of about anywhere in the more advanced world. Sad!
Our plan B was for her to come to Mexico and come here by crossing the Mexican boarder! :lol:
Luckily she was approved! [glad.gif]


  
 
 Post subject: Re: My Russian adventure and troubles
Post Number:#7  PostPosted: 14 May 2009 06:36 
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Eduard wrote:
turboguy wrote:
Nice post Julian. I am sorry to hear of your troubles and problems. I can't disagree with anything you say but I do think when two people love each other it is not as important where you live as long as you are together.

When my wife and I applied for our K-1 visa for America we ran into some snags and were beginning to wonder if we would ever get our visa. We were actually looking at options of where to live if we couldn't get the visa. We made trips to Sochi and the Carribean with one of the primary goals to see how we would like living there. Actually while we were in Grenada our visa problems got solved. Grenada was actually the place we picked if it had not and even had decided what kind of business we were going to try to start there.

Russia has to have the strangest laws and most stupid regulations of about anywhere in the more advanced world. Sad!
Our plan B was for her to come to Mexico and come here by crossing the Mexican boarder! :lol:
Luckily she was approved! [glad.gif]


And you have been Happy ever after....... :rolf:

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 Post subject: Re: My Russian adventure and troubles
Post Number:#8  PostPosted: 19 May 2009 16:39 
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Hi Julian,
I have just spoken with my wife about your situation, and she is willing to look at your problem if you wish her to.
Maybe if you send me an e-mail, rather than discuss it on here.


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 Post subject: Re: My Russian adventure and troubles
Post Number:#9  PostPosted: 27 Jun 2012 01:01 
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Just to update you all on my Visa situation

Since 2008 when i was denied both a new Tourist or Business Visa i have only been able to travel to Russia by private invitation, after much negotiation by my wife with her regional immigration office. Unofficially as nobody would comment or respond to any of my questions i believed that in 2008 i was black listed for 5 years, just because of 2 !!! late visa registrations , maximum one or two days late and fines duly paid without argument !! so i paid a high price for 2 small errors which if i had spoke perfect Russian i could have disputed at the time, but thats all water under the bridge now.

Well recently with just a couple of weeks notice i was invited to a friends wedding in Russia, no time to get an invitation visa as thats around an 8 week process, so i looked to see if i could get a tourist visa. I emailed and phoned the consulate in Edinburgh, but again they would not respond so i contacted Real Russia and they said that they would be willing to try, i completed last week all the forms for a next day service and within 4 days i have a passport stamped with a tourist visa !!! its a miracle [hurrah.gif] first time in 4 years .

i completed the visa application form truthfully, i gave details of previous visa refusal and even stated i have a wife in Russia, maybe the fact that i have travelled several times since my black listing and built up a good reputation for registering on time that they have forgiven me and i'm finally off the black list, maybe it was just a 3 year ban, but how can i know and now i don't need to , so really happy i can independantly make visa again to Russia so a big thanks to Real Russia [thumbs.gif]

Although i was under the impression that you should not use a Tourist visa to visit your Russian wife, actually in 2008 the consulate told me this, that i was breaking Russian law to visit a relative with Tourist visa and should have private invitation, maybe they are relaxing the visa rules ?

When i first started to visit RF i always had problems to register my business visa because i was not staying in a hotel but my wifes apartment even though i was advised that there should be no problem, i understood that with a tourist visa you needed to stay at a hotel , now i have a Tourist visa registration request letter detailed to my wifes apartment so lets see if they are more relaxed about that, i know in the big citys you do not need to stay at a hotel to get registered, but out in the smaller citys a long way from Moscow its not so easy, next week at the post office we will find out if the letter works or i need to book into a hotel, hoping more luck comes my way and the whole process of traveliing to Russia becomes more simple and eventually cheaper.


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 Post subject: Re: My Russian adventure and troubles
Post Number:#10  PostPosted: 27 Jun 2012 19:22 
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When you applied for the tourist visa via RR did they supplied you
with the invitation letter and also with the accommodation voucher?

I hope you do not have problems any more.


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