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Another week gone by

I'm a lot calmer than this time last week. For one thing, the dreaded packing and moving is over! I'm already in the apartment where we'll live together after the wedding. I haven't had much strength to put anything away, but the hard part is over.

Andrei and I went back to Immigration twice this week. The first time was to argue our case. We got in line at 8:00 in the morning and it wasn't our turn until 6pm. They were taking about 1 person an hour. I was calmer though with A. there and everyone praying for me. I had clarified a few things, but the Inspector still wouldn't accept my new passport. She said I needed some kind of proof that I had changed my name and all the documents matched. We were arguing in circles.

-"On what basis did you change your name?"

"On the basis of the marriage certificate."

-"But the name on the marriage certificate is different."

"But the marriage certificate is what I used to change my name."

-"But the names don't match up."

"But this letter right here from the Consulate says that they do."

-"This letter is not legalized."

"But no one will agree to legalize it."

-"You still need some sort of proof."

"But I have this letter. And the marriage certificate." read more/-

She agreed that it wouldn't be much use for us to go off to Moscow if the legalization department there hasn't agreed to help us. She promised to check in with her boss and gave us an appointment (!) for Thursday. She would call us by NAME. What luxury!

Part 2

On Thursday we were the first ones called, and it was a different Inspector. They had all discussed my documents and agreed that I needed "some sort" of document to accompany my new passport. Still no hint as to what that may be.

We pressed for more information and she said we could 1) get a copy of U.S. legislature regarding name changes and get that legalized in Moscow (again, we would probably be refused) or 2) go back to the wedding palace and get them to do something with the marriage certificate

When we asked about deadlines, she shrugged and said we would go by the date of whatever verification I get. So I guess I'm not going to get in trouble for running around with an expired passport.

We headed to the wedding palace, and happened to arrive during one of 2 narrow windows when the boss is in her office! We asked about verifying the name change and she didn't know what we were talking about, but she was more professional about it. No scrunching up her face in disgust and asking "What's THIS?" She sent us to an expert in linguistics who will be able to make a better judgment.

So the current plan is: 1) visit a linguistics expert to compare the two passports and confirm that it's the same person
2) go back to the wedding palace to get some sort of amendment to the marriage certificate
3) go back to Immigration with this new verification, and finally transfer my residency permit into my new passport
4) get my new registration and apply for an exit visa so I can travel after the wedding

A lot of times during all this I really wish I had an advocate. Where is the person to defend me? And it's not just me...I wish someone would step in and intervene for all the foreigners stuck in these bureaucratic messes. Where, Lord? The Holy Spirit has been sent to you. That is the hope I have to lean on.


  1. Praying for you! I have some idea of what red tape is like, and it can take a lot of faith to keep on pressing on.

  2. Thanks, Elisabeth. That means a lot. I enjoy your writing, by the way!

  3. Oh, thanks! And I remember you from comments elsewhere, and was so delighted to hear about your engagement!


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