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 Post subject: Criminal record question
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: 10 Aug 2010 17:43 
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Hi folks! This is my first time posting on this forum! I am about to apply for my first Russian visa, and wondered if anyone had any experience or advice regarding applying for visa with criminal record.

I served a 12 year sentence, just over 6 years in prison, and the remainder on parole, which has just finished last month. The sentence will never be "spent".

I am worried about this because I want to visit my Russian girlfriend in Moscow. I have told her about my offences and we are making plans to marry. This trip would be used to put an engagement ring on her finger before she jets off to America to visit family. Needless to say I will not be granted entry to America.

The planned trip would last 4 days, and would be spent entirely in the company of my girlfriend.

I really want to know what is the best way to maximise my chances of being granted a visa. Should I write anything in the box provided for comments?

I hope someone can help ease my mind. I need to apply as soon as possible if I am to go at the beginning of September.


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 Post subject: Re: Criminal record question
Post Number:#2  PostPosted: 10 Aug 2010 18:18 
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scotty wrote:

I really want to know what is the best way to maximise my chances of being granted a visa. Should I write anything in the box provided for comments?

I hope someone can help ease my mind. I need to apply as soon as possible if I am to go at the beginning of September.


Hi Scotty, if I was in your position I would speak to the folks at realrussia.co.uk - I certainly wouldn't know what to advice.. as telling the truth might 'bugger' your application - and it may be unlikely that the Russians would know any different - for NOW.. ( what would happen if a Visa deal was done... ?)

Without revealing too much, could you get you g/f to meet you in ( The ) Ukraine or a former soviet EU Baltic state ? Neither of you will have a visa issue in Ukraine..


You don't NEED to answer this - but I think you need to tell your g/f about this time - if you haven't already.. if you haven't ...

Good Luck


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 Post subject: Re: Criminal record question
Post Number:#3  PostPosted: 10 Aug 2010 22:54 
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Whilst I cant help you Scotty on this occasion, I can tell you that for no apparent reason I once bought Shaddap You Face by Joe Dolce. That was certainly a criminal record. [cencored.gif]

[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFacWGBJ_cs[/video]

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 Post subject: Re: Criminal record question
Post Number:#4  PostPosted: 11 Aug 2010 00:11 
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Scotty
First of all Image to the forum.

Regarding obtaining a visa for Russia, I will definitely second the advise given by msmobyru .
If fact there is a thread on this forum recommending the services of Real Russia travel Services and if they cannot help you then you only other option is to ask her to travel to a country where neither of you need a visa.

I myself have never applied for a tourist visa for Russia, I have only ever travelled to Russia on business visas so I am not sure if they ask about criminal convictions on the Russian visa tourist application form, it could be that there is no such question.

On a different level, how well do you know this lady?
Yes I did read in your original post that you have told her about you past.

The reason that I ask (and I admit that it is none of my business) is because to put a ring on somebody's finger is (at least in my opinion) quite a big step to take for people that have never met in person (which I assume is that case here).

Last but not least.
I know that admin would like to know how you came across this board.

Also would you mind making an introductory post telling us a little about yourself such as where you come from (geographically) and any other bits of information that you wish to disclose.

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 Post subject: Re: Criminal record question
Post Number:#5  PostPosted: 11 Aug 2010 02:49 
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Thank you all for the responses msmobyru, Rasboinik (Vinnvinny mentioned below [biggrin.gif] ).

I know the information I gave was rather vague, and apologies for that! I have been in contact with Real Russia a few times.

A little more background : My girlfriend has visited me twice in the UK on the same tourist visa, so we have met. We first met one another in January this year over the internet. She came here in May, and again in June. She is the most wonderful woman I have ever met!

Yes, I have told her about my time in prison. It is not something of which I am proud, and I have no desire to repeat the experience!

On Real Russia Tourist visa application, on the 3rd page of questions ("More about you"), is the dreaded question "Have you ever been arrested or convicted of any offence?". Obviously it is not a good idea to lie on a visa application.

I called the Real Russia office in the UK, and was told it was unlikely that I would be granted a visa. I thought it might be a better idea to send a PM to Chris, which I did, and he assured me there was nothing to worry about even after I mentioned about the length of sentence. He said that RR have obtained visas for people with offences before and not to worry too much. He did, however, suggest that I wait until the conviction is "spent", but it will never be spent :


http://careersadvice.direct.gov.uk/helpandadvice/exoffenders/disclosure.htm


I have posted another PM to Chris, but he must be on holiday, and the time by which I will need to apply for a visa is fast approaching. I will apply, and I will use Real Russia for the application.

I was arrested twice. Once in April 1998, when I went to court and was released on bail, and again in July 1998, when I was remanded in custody until my trial in November the same year. Both arrests were for the same offences. Now here is another problem! Do I just put the date in July when I was arrested and remanded, or do I also put the date in April when I was released on bail?

I am almost losing sleep over this, and I have no fingernails left. I think I will only get one chance to get this right. I realise the only way to know for sure is to apply for the visa. I am not worried about losing £125 if it is not granted. I AM worried about what it will mean for the future with regards to fiancee/spouse visa if I have not visited my girlfriend in Russia at least one time.

As far as visiting her in Ukraine goes, it is a good idea, and I only just found out about Ukraine's visa-free status tonight (!), but my girlfriend needs her money to go to America, and I can't afford to buy 2 flights at this time.

So, that's my story. I hope the further information is sufficient, and I really hope someone can advise me on the best course of action. I will keep everyone posted on this, because the experience I have may help someone else in the future.

Thank you in advance!

P.S. Vinnvinny - yes, I agree, but Shaduppaya Face is a somewhat infuriatingly catchy tune! I confess to having listened to it on a few occasions (mostly by accident, of course! [biggrin.gif] ).

Best wishes.


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 Post subject: Re: Criminal record question
Post Number:#6  PostPosted: 11 Aug 2010 05:51 
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I will start from the most important.
scotty wrote:
Obviously it is not a good idea to lie on a visa application.

The only comment that I will make regarding the above is that one should never lie on a visa application because it can cause major problems.

The fact that you G/F has visited you is a very good point in your favour for your future and
[icon_offtopics.gif] it actually lays to rest some concerns that I had regarding your G/F (not that I am casting aspersions) [ontopic.jpg]


I am assuming that your G/F's visa has now expired otherwise maybe she could come to visit you again. Maybe even tie her visit in with her trip to the USA (a short stop over in the UK en-route).

Or maybe you can meet in another country (en-route to the USA) for example in Morocco

Regarding Real Russia, as far as I am aware Chris is on Holiday (North Devon) and if Real Russia have said that they doubt that you will get a visa then ............. they are experts and they do know their onions, who did you speak to, it might be worth your calling them again and asking to speak to Bill Watkins.

As regards to what dates you should put on the form April or July 1998 I am afraid that I am out of my depth regarding the giving of advice.

I do agree that it would be better if you have visited your G/F at least once in Russia when it comes to future (fiancée or spouse) visa applications. but if you cannot visit your G/F because you cannot get a visa then the UKBA will have to take that into account.

Hence the recommendation to meet in a third country (if you cannot meet in Russia) where you can both visit with relative ease.
Check this link for countries where your G/F can travel either visa free or visa upon arrival.

Yes it will add expense but [icon_sorrys.gif] you have decided to play in a field where everything is complicated and expensive.

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 Post subject: Re: Criminal record question
Post Number:#7  PostPosted: 11 Aug 2010 07:58 
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Scotty: The Ukraine option might be your best one for a number of reasons. Can I ask ......

Where in the UK are you (approximately will do)?
Where is Russia does your lady live?
How much do you think that your flight to Russia will cost you?

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 Post subject: Re: Criminal record question
Post Number:#8  PostPosted: 11 Aug 2010 08:28 
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Scotty

Hello and welcome to the board.

Glad to hear your story and wish you a good luck.

The only way to visit Russia WITHOUT a visa is if you arrive in St Peterburg on a Cruise Ship, then you can visit the city without a visa for up to 72 hours! I am sure if you could do that..... your woman would have no problem travelling with the overnight train from Moscow to see you.

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I AM PLAYING DEVILS ADVOCATE BELOW

Scotty wrote:
My girlfriend has visited me twice in the UK on the same tourist visa, so we have met. We first met one another in January this year over the internet. She came here in May, and again in June. She is the most wonderful woman I have ever met!

Scotty is a big boy and from what I understand he wants to make a new life with this Russian Woman, who she visited him twice here. She obviously had no problem getting a Tourist visa.........and also with his past..... so that is one good step.

The Russian Visa Application is asking: "Have you ever been arrested or convicted of any offence?"... so if he answer NO... what it will happen, I may ask?

If he was going to do something naughty in Russia in 4 days.......he wouldn't come to the board asking our help....... would he?

How the Russian Consulate will check his application for Criminal Record?

Do they have access to the British records or do they ask the British Police for every visitor they intent to issue a visa?

Do you think FSB has connection with the EU Data base and checks everybody for Criminal records?

His Lady is from Moscow, he posted.......... so he wants to go and ask her to marry him and show commitment to her.!

I only play Devils advocate here... so what are your views?

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 Post subject: Re: Criminal record question
Post Number:#9  PostPosted: 11 Aug 2010 08:36 
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wiz wrote:
Scotty
How the Russian Consulate will check his application for Criminal Record?

Do they have access to the British records or do they ask the British Police for every visitor they intent to issue a visa?
I only play Devils advocate here... so what are your views?


Yes, they will definitely be able to do a CRC (criminal records check). I even have access to that database as do many employers who have a requirement to check the 'suitability' of potential new staff.

Edit: Doing a CRC is now as easy and as standard as doing a credit check on someone.

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Last edited by Vinnvinny on 11 Aug 2010 08:45, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Criminal record question
Post Number:#10  PostPosted: 11 Aug 2010 08:39 
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Dangerous game.

In my opinion too dangerous to play.

If he is caught lying on the visa application ( agree an if) but if he is caught his visa becomes invalid.

He then joins the rank of the "Strap-a lorry-to-me" people.

Further deportation is a 100% issue and it could cause complications for future visa applications for his G/F.

In my opinion Scotty has had enough trouble with officialdom and he does not need any more.
scotty wrote:
Yes, I have told her about my time in prison. It is not something of which I am proud, and I have no desire to repeat the experience!

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