Currently compiling Russian visa applications for my kids. It feels way more relaxed than with a newborn (apparently I never told that story on here), but as always there are plenty of roadblocks.
I never posted about it, but in February we did a border run to Finland, and in the spring we also met with an immigration lawyer who said the kids could be added to my residency permit. So early one morning we dragged the kids out of bed, and set off for the Immigration Dept...Sophia threw up in the taxi...and it turned out the lawyer had been wrong. Technically, there is a by-law that lets you glue photos of your kids in your residency card (I have pages for it), but it's merely a formality to link you with them. The kids need separate residency permits.
So our options remained:
-keep doing visas every 3 years,
-get the kids their own residence permits, or
-apply for Russian citizenship
The visas are pricey and not the best long-term option, and we're not sure we want to get them citizenship. The main issue with residency (apart from the lengthy process) is that we'll have to declare income for everyone and make sure we have the minimum for each family member. I'm not working right now and my bank balance probably wouldn't cover all of us for the year, so we'll have to combine it with Andrei's income.
We'll have to do a round of medical tests for the kids and make sure we have copies and translations of everything. That would be true for citizenship, also. That's for temporary residency and then in a year or so you do it all over again to apply for permanent residency, which is valid for 5 years.
So anyway, I'm working on getting new visas so that we can enter Russia in the fall after summer travel, and hopefully that will get us through until we've gotten temporary residency for the kids. Kids' passports are valid for 5 years, which doesn't go well with a 3 year visa (the only other option is 90 days). Currently I'm having trouble filling out paperwork because the passport only has 2 years left on it and you're supposed to have 3 years + 6 months left.
I started thinking about what we'll have to get done over the next few years:
Summer 2019- new visas for kids, register in Russia
Fall 2019-apply for temp. residency for kids, confirm my residency
Winter 2019- border run, reregister kids
Spring 2020- receive temp. residency for kids, register
Fall/Winter 2020- get new passports in Moscow, transfer all stamps to new passports, apply for new passport and U.S. visa for Andrei
Spring 2021- apply for permanent residency for kids
Fall 2021- receive permanent residency for kids, register, confirm my residency
Spring 2023- take exam, renew my permanent residency and registration
Apply for green card for Andrei, if that's even possible???
It goes without saying that it would be very upsetting if we ever got split up. These processes are minor compared to what refugees experience, but we still have to work hard to keep on top of it all.