It’s Dec. 10, 2016 and for roughly ten days now, Dave and I should have been frying in Africa. Instead Dave’s out skiing somewhere near Mount Baker in Washington and I’m watching a wee snow fall in Revelstoke, B.C., where I’ve moved into my parent’s home to save money.
As we all know, sometimes the best-laid plans are like badly-laid rugs on a hardwood floor. Our six week wait off the bikes for trip planning purposes will eventually turn into several months as best we can guess for the moment. But we have something cooking finally with our Russian visas.
Dave and I are not planning to be in Russia until the summer of 2017. We are first going to Africa, then eventually Russia but we can’t go anywhere until we get our passports returned from the Russian embassy.
As mentioned in our last update, I was scheming on a work-around for the 30-day only Russian Tourist Visa. That work-around is in effect but means we have to wait a lot longer for things to happen. So although we do not, in fact, need visas for Kazakhstan (yay!) we’ve tacked on any time that may have bought us for leaving earlier, by applying for Multi-entry Business Visas for the world’s largest country.
A multi-entry biz visa means we can enter and exit Russia as many times as we want for up to a year not exceeding 180 days total in Russia. It also means we need an Invitation Letter from a Russian business.
Thanks to BMW Russia, whom I was eventually able to contact after much back-and-forthing with random strangers, our Invitation Letter is now being processed at the Federal Migration Services building in Moscow. Vera, from BMW Russia, got in touch with me after many third party e-mails and I’m happy to say she seems totally on it. (I know how to say ‘thank you’ in Russian now. It’s Спасибо and is pronounced “spasibo.” Of course. Duh.).
It will take about three weeks for the invitation letters to process in Moscow, then the originals have to be sent to us by mail (boooo), so another 10 days or so? And then, we can send our passports by mail to the Russian embassy in Canada, (there are three but Montreal comes recommended), and wait for them to process the visa stamp, which somehow takes another three weeks or so. Oh and there are holiday hours in there and the embassy is closed from Dec. 29 to Jan. 9, so… there’s that.
We’ll be on our way!
Or before next New Year’s Eve for sure maybe.
In the meantime, I’m going to continue updating our blog from past travels in the Northern Hemisphere.
Thanks for reading and pray for us that nothing gets lost in the mail.
Update: check out this article on the world’s hardest countries to get a visa. And yes, Russia is on the list. I would have to argue about the, “simple” 21-question form for most of the world’s peoples. That’s not exactly how it goes.
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