Saturday, December 14, 2019

Bureaucracy Update- Part 3

Getting the kids registered long-term in St. Petersburg, Russia

News from last time: The process has been streamlined, meaning we can apply immediately for permanent residency for the kids, skipping the trial residency. And, processing time will be 4 months, not 6. That will come in handy...

Big application deadlines. I was trying to get this done by the end of the year, because then there are 2 weeks of holidays, and we need everything to be processed by summer, and we also have to do a border run soon.

I had a time cushion in there for unforeseen circumstances. That cushion is now gone.

1) There was a typo in our passport translations. We can only get them done when Andrei has the chance to go there before/after work, since it's not near where we live. So the translations took a few weeks when they probably could have taken a few days. Even if Andrei had noticed the mistake on the spot, it would have taken an extra day or two to redo since they have to notarize it and bind it specially.

2) Medical forms. This is what made me freak out: we were calling around trying to find a place to put the kids through their medical tests. This is part of why we've put this off for so long, especially with the horror of Sophia's latest shots and bloodwork. It was bad enough getting it for myself for residency, no idea how we're going to walk 2 kids through the whole list of doctors plus blood tests. (on the bright side: since we go immediately for permanent residency, we will only need the tests once unless we apply for citizenship in the future)

Now, TB is kind of a risk in Russia. Most people are vaccinated in childhood and have to get a chest x-ray for work every few years. Kids generally get the skin probe and then the TB vaccine.

I was going through in my head what extra steps we might need for the medical certificate. And I remembered that I'd had to go to another facility to do the chest x-ray. In fact, I was breastfeeding the second time, so got a special low-radiation scan. I started investigating where we could do that for the kids. But then someone pointed don't get x-rays.

The next thing I noticed was that the medical facilities were listing "vaccine record" as something we had to bring with us. I'm certain I've never done this. When I was pregnant, they tested various antibodies via bloodwork and I never got any additional vaccinations here.

Turns out for kids, you need a booklet with the list of vaccines. Meanwhile, they also have to have a Mantoux (skin probe test) done periodically, unless they've had the TB vaccine.

This discovery pretty much sent me over the edge. It doesn't sound like a big deal typing it out, but just doing the math: next free day is next WEDNESDAY (if we skip speech therapy), then you have to wait a few days to see if there's a reaction. So the soonest we could even go for the medical certificate would be a few days from Wednesday, plus that takes 5 days.

Basically it's going to take until the end of the year JUST to do the medical certificate. Nevermind how we are going to get the kids to put up with the needle pokes. NO IDEA what the lines at Immigration will be like in January after the holidays when the quota is renewed.

Also, vaccine record? I have a computer printout from the American pediatrician. It's not official-looking at all, doesn't even have a signature. So now I have to run around making it look pretty for the Russian government? And what if we don't have the usual vaccines? We have to do a couple on the spot just to apply for residency? (note: the same tests are required for citizenship also, if the person was born abroad)

A potential solution is to bring the printout to the local clinic and have them transfer them into a Russian vaccine booklet that we can use in the future.

I'm just so mad that this all came up now, since I didn't have to do it when I applied, and don't want to do it, and don't have the time/emotional energy. These were minor details on a list for doing after the big things are done. I've pretty much reached my limit with bureaucracy! I'm sure everyone gets tired of paperwork at some point! But...

Andrei is freaking out just as much, but his strategy is avoidance, lol! I went and almost broke some dishes, but decided to rage-clean a little bit instead.

Oh, the reason we didn't go straight to the local clinic today is that the kids woke up with the sniffles. So, that will be a delay, too. But since we can't apply before the holidays anyway, we'll just have to focus on the medicals and then use the beginning of January to get everything organized.

In terms of my documents, no emergencies (I hope), but some news:

1) I have to file my yearly income report (proof of funds), which they will hopefully accept at the post office vs Immigration.

2) My permanent residency will soon ACTUALLY be permanent. I won't have to renew it every 5 years any longer. I need to go and renew it for the last time to switch to the new version. And then renew my registration? And then transfer it all into my new passport when I switch next year? Hmmmm.

December- Send in my income statement

Fall 2019 January 2020- apply for temp. permanent residency for kids, apply for my new residency card???

Winter 2019 February 2020- Finnish visa for Andrei, border run, reregister kids

Spring 2020- receive temp. permanent 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 (better not think about this now...yikes!)

Spring 2021- apply for permanent residency for kids

Fall 2021- receive permanent residency for kids, register, confirm my residency  Send in income statement for 3 of us? (me+kids)

Spring 2023- take exam (?), renew my permanent residency and registration


  1. Oh, my, I don't envy you this. Certainly reminds me of adoption paperwork! My paperwork trial now relates to all of the stuff we get regarding healthcare. We've had TWO big snafus this year. Monnie was dropped from her Medicaid because Anastasia put an important envelope in with her own things (they all look the same). That cost me over $500 in dental bills that weren't covered - Surprise! And so much work to get reinstated. Now we have a notice that Bee has been dropped. I think she is still covered under her father's insurance.... Hope?

    But none of those things sound as bad as what you have to go through.

  2. Healthcare in the U.S. is definitely comparable, makes me sick just thinking about it! I will never forget going to talk to the Medicaid coordinator before David was born. I took a folder with documents (marriage certificate, etc) as I'm accustomed to doing. I got such a dirty look from the coordinator. "I see you've come prepared." Like I was plotting something? Then she asked me such judgmental questions, and I was about 8 months pregnant. I started crying and sobbed that I wasn't trying to trick anyone. We really were below the income threshold, but lived in Russia. So I guess it was confusing to them, but I didn't know what I was supposed to do either, it was their job to set it straight. Then David and I were covered at least for a few months after he was born, so that worked. They give you so much trouble, though. Right now I just use a bill sharing program, so I always pay out of pocket, and I can rarely get the amount up front. They send me a bill later or adjust the amount from what I paid. Why isn't there a regular price-list? It makes you feel like you can get taken advantage of if you don't do your research.


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