Sunday, October 24, 2010

Where I left off

Another day in the life of a foreigner in Russia trying to get a residence permit...

Date: Tuesday, October 12
90 days in the country are up: Tuesday, Oct.19 

Time is ticking...

Friday (Oct. 8th) had produced another "no" answer; meaning, the local immigration office didn't have me in their file. They kept telling me no sooner than October 23rd, even though the other office had told me September 23rd. Who was bluffing?

Monday was spent trying to get some answers by phone. The central office confirmed that my results had been "sent out" and that they had done their job. The local offices didn't answer their phone. The next day, there were working hours at the local office, and Andrey and I went in once again to see if there was any sign of my residence permit. continue reading/-

There were long lines as usual in the immigration office. As we were discussing our plan of action, a young woman was sitting nearby, eavesdropping.

We went into the waiting area/corridor and signed up on various lists. Maybe they weren't the right ones, but at least I could try to speak to an officer.

Then a young man came in, looking a bit anxious. He didn't speak perfect Russian, but he was looking for the right list, where he had been sure he'd signed up. He unfolded a notice that he had gotten in the mail. It was notification that his application had been approved and that he could show up at the local office. It was the piece of paper I was supposed to have gotten in the mail...

He couldn't find the list and we all looked around, and then our eyes narrowed on the young woman who had been standing off by herself in a corner (and eavesdropping on our conversation). She was tightly clutching a white piece of paper. A list. She reluctantly surrendered it, claiming that it was only for people who had their notification.

I was #5. Not bad, but they were only open for 2 hours. We left and came back and there was another huge group of people, all claiming that only those with the magic "notification slip" would be let in. I pushed my way in anyway, when it was my turn.

Same story. I wasn't on their list. My papers might be "on the way," but there was no way to check. Wednesday was the next day they would pick up the mail, leaving Thursday for me to claim them. The next Thursday would be too late; I'd have to be across the border by then.

I don't know if it was Andrey sitting next to me or the urgency of the situation, but the woman at the desk (after glancing at my visa and the calendar and cursing under her breath) decided to give us a few more helpful pieces of information. One was a list of items to have with me on Thursday, in the event that my permit DID come. The other was a list of documents to gather for registration. They too would have to be produced almost immediately, before my other registration ran out a few days later (not sure why they couldn't have given them to me a month earlier when I had asked).

For Thursday, what I mainly needed were photocopies of my current documents, as well as proof that I had gotten on the fingerprint registry at a certain branch of the police station.

To get fingerprints taken, I was advised to have a copy of my letter of notification, if received (mine hadn't been), as well as some antibacterial hand wipes.

I sped back home, made a quick phone call to my friends notifying them that they would have to get their apartment deeds together in a flash to register me, then set off to find the fingerprinting place. It was at the edge of the city, at the end of a tram line. As I looked for the right building, I remembered that I needed hand wipes. Arrrrrgh. What would happen if I didn't have any?

Bingo. Grocery store on the corner. But it would have a long line..ah, drugstore next door. Popped in, got some hand wipes, and then found the police building. They were doing "remont" and I had to knock. A lady let me in and led me to her office. Apparently I was the only "client." We filled out the paperwork and she made me CHECK EVERY LETTER. Then she rolled my fingers.

After that, she left me to clean off my fingers using my own hand wipes (which I couldn't get open now that my hands were covered in ink), and that was it.

Everything was in place for me to pick up my permit...except the permit itself...

1 comment:

  1. You write this up SO well! Even though I know it all turned out OK, I'm feeling ANXIOUS.


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