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IrinaNMike

Renewing a passport in Russia -- how long?

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Russia
Timeline

Irina needs to renew her Russian passport this fall and she wants to do it in Russia because, for financial reasons, she feels she needs to remain registered in Russia. (she owns a nice apartment in Russia and has a half-interest in a second; and she also gets a pension of $100 a month) She has a friend who got a passport in 5 weeks, so she thinks that 8 weeks will be enough time. I am torn -- I hate to lose her for two months, but I don't want to create a situation where she has to forfeit her return ticket because her passport isn't ready.

This will be one of the new biometric passports. Has anyone had any recent experience with how long it takes to get one of these in Russia?


05 07 05 .... Filed 129F with Nebraska Service Center

12 05 05 .... Successful interview -- visa granted

12 24 05 .... Married!

06 22 09 .... Irina takes the Oath and becomes a US Citizen

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Irina needs to renew her Russian passport this fall and she wants to do it in Russia because, for financial reasons, she feels she needs to remain registered in Russia. (she owns a nice apartment in Russia and has a half-interest in a second; and she also gets a pension of $100 a month) She has a friend who got a passport in 5 weeks, so she thinks that 8 weeks will be enough time. I am torn -- I hate to lose her for two months, but I don't want to create a situation where she has to forfeit her return ticket because her passport isn't ready.

This will be one of the new biometric passports. Has anyone had any recent experience with how long it takes to get one of these in Russia?

8-10 weeks is what I have been hearing. I am not sure if my fiancees new passport was biometric or not, but it took her 6 weeks to get it.


--- AOS Timeline ---

07/22/08 --- Mailed AOS packet to Chicago

07/25/08 --- NOA for I-131, I-485, and I-765

08/27/08 --- Biometrics

10/01/08 --- AP received

10/14/08 --- EAD received

11/13/08 --- Notice of transfer to CSC

02/09/09 --- Permanent Resident Card Ordered Notice

02/09/09 --- 2 Yr Permanent Resident Card Received

--- Lifting Conditions ---

11/10/10 --- Mailed I-751 packet to VSC

11/12/10 --- NOA1

12/22/10 --- Biometrics

03/15/11 --- RFE

05/10/11 --- Approved

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Filed: Country: Russia
Timeline

With most airlines you can change your ticket for a 100 dollar fee. I've done this with both british airways and lufthansa in russia. So if it takes longer or shorter, she can always change it.


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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Russia
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My fiancée is waiting for her bio-passport. She was told around 60 days. As Eekee said, the ticket can be changed. I paid 3000 Rubles to change a Lufthansa ticket before.


Jeffery AND Alla.

0 kilometers physically separates us!

K-1 Visa Granted... Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Alla ARRIVED to America... Wednesday, 12 November 2008

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Filed: Country: Russia
Timeline

Hi, Irina and Mike,

I just wanted to caution you about renewing the passport in Russia. I myself got stranded in Russia waiting for a passport and all the necessary checks. What will happen once she discloses that she is a permanent resident of the U.S. is that they will have to send all her documents to Washington, and check with the Russian Embassy in the U.S. on her status here. This will dramatically increase her wait--to the tune of several months, with all the bureaucracy in the middle (I believe I was told at least three months, but more realistically much longer). From what I understand, all individuals who are residing abroad are subject to this requirement. And they will never try to speed anything up on the account of your scheduled flight.

So, I would certainly check with your Russian Embassy on the current procedure (it happened to me about two years ago).

As for the tickets, you can always fly with Aeroflot, where a full refund is available as long as you cancel 24 hours in advance. I would be nervous to purchase with Lufthansa/Northwest, etc., because in addition to $100 penalty, they will charge the difference in ticket prices, which may rise dramatically if you buy on a short notice.

Best of Luck!

Edited by October filer

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Filed: Country: Russia
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I was never charged a difference in ticket prices, and the tickets i changed with british airways were ordered in january and changed in the summer during the height of the tourist season.

Does she have to disclose she is a permanent resident?

Hi, Irina and Mike,

I just wanted to caution you about renewing the passport in Russia. I myself got stranded in Russia waiting for a passport and all the necessary checks. What will happen once she discloses that she is a permanent resident of the U.S. is that they will have to send all her documents to Washington, and check with the Russian Embassy in the U.S. on her status here. This will dramatically increase her wait--to the tune of several months, with all the bureaucracy in the middle (I believe I was told at least three months). From what I understand, all individuals who are residing abroad are subject to this requirement. And they will never try to speed anything up on the account of your scheduled flight.

So, I would certainly check with your Russian Embassy on the current procedure (it happened to me about two years ago).

As for the tickets, you can always fly with Aeroflot, where a full refund is available as long as you cancel 24 hours in advance. I would be nervous to purchase with Lufthansa/Northwest, etc., because in addition to $100 penalty, they will charge the difference in ticket prices, which may raise dramatically if you buy on a short notice.

Best of Luck!


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Filed: Country: Russia
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Well, maybe eekee is right--I never changed or bought tickets originating from Russia. But if you buy them here, you certainly pay the difference between flights, in addition to whatever penalty the company charges for surrendering your previous flight. Essentially, you just terminate the first contract, pay the damages--a preset amount--and shop for a ticket afresh (which might be to your advantage, if prices go down). I was also surprised about Aeroflot policy of not charging anything and just terminating a contract without any obligations. They will just refund you the money--unlike the U.S. providers who would only give you credit.

As for disclosure, it's a personal decision. If you do it, you face the wait; if you don't, you run the risk of being denied a passport altogether for falsifying statement on your application. I think it is much easier to wait 5 months here, and do it through the Russian Embassy, if at all possible.

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Filed: Country: Russia
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Well, i bought them in the US and changed them in Russia.

As far as I can tell, the OP's motivation for doing it in Russia is to not lose the internal passport. Wouldn't being an US permanent resident cause that to happen? I know people who have been permanent residents and kept their internal passports, but none of them were married so it might have been easier to hide.

Well, maybe eekee is right--I never changed or bought tickets originating from Russia. But if you buy them here, you certainly pay the difference between flights, in addition to whatever penalty the company charges for surrendering your previous flight. Essentially, you just terminate the first contract, pay the damages--a preset amount--and shop for a ticket afresh (which might be to your advantage, if prices go down). I was also surprised about Aeroflot policy of not charging anything and just terminating a contract without any obligations. They will just refund you the money--unlike the U.S. providers who would only give you credit.

As for disclosure, it's a personal decision. If you do it, you face the wait; if you don't, you run the risk of being denied a passport altogether for falsifying statement on your application. I think it is much easier to wait 5 months here, and do it through the Russian Embassy, if at all possible.


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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Russia
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Irina owns an apartment in Russia and is registered at that address. She pays the water and phone bills, votes, and receives her pension at that address. She can sincerely tell the Russia authorities that that is her permanent address. She will not confuse the issue by telling them that she 'also' lives in the US. They will see from the passport that she travels a lot and has spent a lot of time in the US. I don't think she is dishonest in telling them that she is a resident of Russia.

My question was based on the assumption that if Irina would not be eligible for a refund if she ovverstayed the return date on her ticket. Using an Aeroflot ticket purchased through airfare.com as an example (Orbitz reads the same), here is what they say about refunds;

- REQUEST CHANGE: Request a change before the first travel date.

- CHANGE FEE: Pay a fee of $200 (for Domestic Flights) and $350 (for International Flights)

- DIFFERENCE IN FARE: Additionally, if the new tickets costs more than the original tickets you must pay the difference. If the new tickets are less than the original, the airline will not credit the difference.

I take this to mean that by the time she finds out she isn't going to get her passport by the return date on her ticket, it will be too late to change the departure.

Thanks all of you for bringing out these issues. A lot of money and time is riding on the choices I make about this, and I want to make the right choices.


05 07 05 .... Filed 129F with Nebraska Service Center

12 05 05 .... Successful interview -- visa granted

12 24 05 .... Married!

06 22 09 .... Irina takes the Oath and becomes a US Citizen

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Filed: Country: Russia
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Well, I think that if you ask the airline and you ask orbitz or another travel service you'd get a different answer. i'd call the airline. This could just be the travel company's procedure, not what Irina would find if she walked into the office of the airline itself and asked to change her ticket.

Usually when you buy tickets you buy either a refundable or a non-refundable tickets; although as mentioned above aeroflot seems to have a different policy. But if you know for sure that you WILL return, don't worry about getting a refundable one if it's a lot more (sometimes it is 3x more) because you can change the date. Just not through the website of the 3rd party company.

Also, the fact that aeroflot refunds all tickets might mean that they are much stricter about date changes. British Airways, as I mentioned earlier, is 100$ to change it and you can do it anytime before you fly.

- REQUEST CHANGE: Request a change before the first travel date.

- CHANGE FEE: Pay a fee of $200 (for Domestic Flights) and $350 (for International Flights)

- DIFFERENCE IN FARE: Additionally, if the new tickets costs more than the original tickets you must pay the difference. If the new tickets are less than the original, the airline will not credit the difference.

I take this to mean that by the time she finds out she isn't going to get her passport by the return date on her ticket, it will be too late to change the departure.

Thanks all of you for bringing out these issues. A lot of money and time is riding on the choices I make about this, and I want to make the right choices.

Edited by eekee

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Filed: Country: Russia
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Mike,

I actually bought a ticket from Aeroflot myself--via their site, on the assumption it is fully refundable. They assured me (I spoke with several representatives in the Moscow office) that they have free 24-hour-in-advance cancellation policy. This seems to be a general norm for domestic flights inside Russia, so it is not all that uncommon. But I would certainly not buy their tickets via intermediary services (especially if the connecting flight is with a different company), and I would recommend you to verify it with the Aeroflot booking office directly. But again, they all assured me that it is a free cancellation.

Best of luck!

Edited by October filer

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Welcome back, Mike.

For apartments, rent, water, pensions, etc., doesn't it only matter where her propiska is issued/registered, and not the international passport?

If she needs to get a new international passport, have her get it here before she goes and then while she's home simply update her propiska. Or, don't even worry about what it says on the international passport. Just have her do all her "business" like anyone else (those that don't even have an international passport) and then update her international passport separately.

Is this possible?


Русский форум член.

Ensure your beneficiary makes and brings with them to the States a copy of the DS-3025 (vaccination form)

If the government is going to force me to exercise my "right" to health care, then they better start requiring people to exercise their Right to Bear Arms. - "Where's my public option rifle?"

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Filed: Country: Belarus
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Irina needs to renew her Russian passport this fall and she wants to do it in Russia because, for financial reasons, she feels she needs to remain registered in Russia. (she owns a nice apartment in Russia and has a half-interest in a second; and she also gets a pension of $100 a month) She has a friend who got a passport in 5 weeks, so she thinks that 8 weeks will be enough time. I am torn -- I hate to lose her for two months, but I don't want to create a situation where she has to forfeit her return ticket because her passport isn't ready.

This will be one of the new biometric passports. Has anyone had any recent experience with how long it takes to get one of these in Russia?

We just went through this same scenario recently. My wife is ethnic Russian, but is presently a Belarusian citizen. It's a different country, but is probably closer to Russia than any of the other former Soviet republics.

My wife sold her flat before moving to the USA because she had no one to look after an empty flat. She also gets a small disability payment from the government that goes into her bank account she left in Belarus and she will be eligible for her government pension in the future. So she also wants to maintain her Belarusian residency.

She never registered with the Belarusian government before she left the country. She took the train to Moscow and flew to the USA. Belarusians don't need visas to travel to Russia.

Her passport expired at age 45 and my wife wants to maintain her Belarusian citizenship and residency. She wanted to renew her Belarusian passport before becoming a US citizen.

Anyway, we were trying to estimate how long it would take for my wife to register a new propiska and get a new internal passport that allows for international travel so she can return to the USA without having to take a hefty charge for changing tickets. As it was she bought round trip tickets that allowed 1 month between departure and return. We hoped that would be enough time, but you never know. The worst scenario is that it could take longer and we would have to take a hefty charge for trading in her ticket. In our case the passport office promised to have it ready almost 2 weeks before she has to depart from Moscow. My wife is still over there and the passport office has promised to have it ready on April 16, but I won't relax until she has her new passport in her hands.

The main thing I wanted to point out is that my wife paid extra for expedited passport service. The USA also offers this to US citizens that want their passports processed quicker than normal. You essentially pay a premium price for premium service. I wouldn't exactly call it a bribe because it goes into the government coffers.

Anyway, your wife may want to pay for expedited service if it is an option for Russian passports.


"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave."

"...for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process."

US Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX)

Testimony to the House Immigration Subcommittee, February 24, 1995

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