Sometimes it happens that you just fall in love with a foreigner and decide to have a family together. However, it seems the governments of some countries are not too happy about it. Therefore the process of getting a foreigner in for marriage or living in your country might be challenging.
So, finally I got a marriage proposal and said “yes”. After all “congratulations”, liked on Instagram etc it was a time to figure everything out. Marriage – haha seems easy. Well, not really, when you are a Russian trying to marry a foreigner.
So we are now embarking on this journey of a Russian-Swiss couple, trying to get married in Russia and receive a Russian living permit after. If you are in the same boat with us, please, join!
So the very first step of your journey to marriage in Russia is getting to Russia. Again, it seems pretty easy, but turns out it is not.
In Russia you can get married having any kind of visa – tourist, business, private etc. However, by law in between the moment you apply for marriage and actual marriage, you have to wait for 31 day (minimum). Tourist visa allows you to stay up to 30 days (which means you can’t make it)!
Private and business visa can allow you to stay for 90 days every 180 days. This seemed like an option.
Private invitation (30).
First I thought we were going to go for this visa. However, it did not work out, as I physically had to be in Russia and prepare a bunch of paper work and then wait for a month. The documents required are:
- passport copy of the visitor
- application document
- the letter of guarantee – mentioning that you take entire responsibility for all actions
- bank statement showing your current bank account condition (financial guarantee)
- Payment receipt
As I am physically in China and can’t apply for that as well as I did not want to bother my family (since it takes time), I decide to skip this and move on to receiving Business Visa.
Business invitation (16 days).
I have found a tourist company in Moscow, which agreed to prepare a business invitation for us for 90 days. All I needed was to send the dates of arrival and copy of passport. I was told to pay RUB3’800 and wait for 16 days.
Exactly in 16 days the invitation was ready and sent through DHL. So in 20 days from the moment of application our invitation has arrived. The company I have used was Visantya. They served me very nicely with only 3 emails and minimum paperwork from my side. However make sure that in the last section “Additional Information” (Дополнительная информация”, there is information, otherwise, your invitation is considered invalid.
After invitation is with you all you need to do is visit the visa application website and fill it in.
There are two options of how you can do the further process, depending on how much time you have. You can either do it yourself by preparing the documents required, getting an appointment in the embassy and then submitting the needed. We did not go for it, as the appointments available were on the days after our take off for Moscow.
So there is another option of submitting them to Russian Visa Center, where the professionals will check if your documents are complying with requirements and they can submit it without waiting.
The list of documents you need to prepare is the same for both options:
- passport and copy of the main passport page;
- One color photo (3,5 X 4,5 cm)
- Printed visa application form*
- Invitation letter
- China ID / Long term Chinese visa / Living permit for China (since we applied from China, being non-resident, so those are required only if no resident of the country of application)
- If you are a EU, UK, USA, NZ, Japan or AUS citizen you require an insurance with EUR30’000 coverage, which you can easily get in Alfa Insurance.
Later you pay the embassy fee (RMB 345-1516**) and the visa center fee (RMB 240).
*The guide of filling in the form you can find on Online Visa Application Guide.
**Depends on the number of entrances and the urgency of application.
So after you apply, depending on what kind of service you requested, you receive you passport back and ready to fly to Russia within 10 days.
Whenever you finally reach Russia, it is time for the registration in Russia, document preparation and marriage application. What documents you need to prepare and how to get it done, I share on this post based on my personal experience.
As I mentioned above, the company I used for the invitation was Visantiya. Everything seemed fine and I even was about to recommend them, until we went to the Visa Center where after almost 2 full hours of waiting, we were informed that the invitations that are missing the section of Additional Information are invalid. But as they have accepted a few of them before, they would still do it as an exception.
Another issue we faced was the local citizenship/visa. When you apply for a Russian visa from a country, where you are not a citizen, you do require to have a long term visa or a resident permit. As my fiance is a Swiss citizen and also a Hong Kong citizen, he holds 2 passports, and a Chinese ID, which only HK, Taiwan and Macau residents hold. However, if you enter on that document you have to apply with the passport of ID / Visa origin, or provide ALL PASSPORTS copies.
So after going back home and re-applying for visa (total waiting time in the center – more that 3 hours), we finally submitted documents. After 5 days and waiting other 2 hours we finally picked it up.