Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Bureaucracy Update: Roadblocks


My children are 7 1/2 and 3 1/2 and have lived in Russia all their lives on guest visas! They were born in the U.S. and only have U.S. citizenship.

Last fall, the government passed some new laws allowing foreign minors to apply directly for permanent residency on the basis of one parent already having permanent residency. That's us!

As soon as the law came into effect, we began to make preparations to start the application process. From my last few posts about this, you can see how the individual documents can be difficult to get.

One of the things we were advised to do was to switch the kids' registration to our flat instead of Andrei's parents.' Everyone living in the Russian Federation has to have an official address where they're registered, which might not be the place where they actually live...it's confusing. Currently I'm the only one registered in our flat.

We were going to switch the registration to my name, but that was going to be a complicated process via immigration authorities...whereas Andrei could supposedly do it in a different place, since he's a citizen.

Anyway, Andrei went back to the Main Center for more info, and what they told him was that the kids' applications could get rejected completely. Since the kids have one parent who is a Russian citizen, the government could deny them residency and force them to get Russian citizenship.

I guess I don't know many countries where someone might pass up the chance for citizenship, but the thing with citizenship is that it's a lot harder to cancel than a residence permit.

But the other downside is that David could get drafted into the Russian army...and who is to say that they couldn't change the law in a few years to include females, too? The length of the mandatory service can always get changed, too. Right now it stands at 12 months. Putin promised to reduce or eliminate conscription...but when my husband was serving, the term was increased to 2 years, effective immediately; he had to serve an extra year. With many Russian youth looking to emigrate, is it likely that there is enough interest in a professional army in order to end the draft?

I talked to a few other families with mixed citizenship, and they all had good things to say about dual citizenship. One couple's son is 15 or so-yeah, the army could call him up when he turns 18...no, they don't have a plan for that.

Everyone that I talked to admitted that the army factor worried them, but that they weren't really thinking about it.

If David were enrolled in university he would be "safe," but with a summer birthday there is always the chance they could catch him in between, as occurred in my husband's case.

At any rate, we were going to go ahead and apply for residency,  but Andrei went back for one more consultation, and they're still not sure how to enforce the new laws...by-laws might be debated until March at least.

Now we're in a time-crunch because the kids' visas are only active until the end of the year and we have to renew everyone's passports, which will mean new visas, too. So finding a more long-term solution is the goal, but we haven't gotten any reliable information yet on how to proceed.

Since we have no information, we're pressing pause on this bureaucracy chapter. Hopefully in another month we will know more.



6 comments:

  1. I always forget that these other countries have the mandatory military service, and that's why some of my other friends have chosen NOT to get citizenship for their kids...
    BTW, nice blog style! Much easier to read than the white text on black! :)

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    Replies
    1. Oh really, you have friends that have made that choice, too? I hate the way the blog looks on my computer right now, but I realized that a lot of people might read on their phones now and might not see the sidebar anyway? So more minimalist is preferred...

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    2. Yeah. One of them has a war zone / disputed territory happening for a few years with a neighboring country. I actually think they might be avoiding going back to visit so that the husband doesn't get called up either. The others are from a country with a leader who might just trump all precedents and start things rolling that might mean a draft in another decade or so. Their kid is stateless, I guess, until they can gain citizenship here.

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    3. Yeah, that's intense. It felt kind of weird entering/exiting Ukraine, they did check the Russian males over pretty closely.

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  2. Maxim considered going back to Russia so that he COULD be in the army, but I convinced him that his weak Russian might make that a challenging proposition. Anastasia's brothers both enjoyed their service, but as a "friend" of mine used to say, "Well, that says something about them, doesn't it?" As far as the blog goes.... It is readable, but so hard to just scroll down and find the posts I may have missed in order. I realize that I have been catching up sort of randomly here as I have not quite figured it out yet....

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    Replies
    1. I agree, the format isn't quite right. I need the sidebar. It's still there, but you have to make it pop up.

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