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Emergency Cases

As we collected a serious amount of cases in providing interpreter assistance, we have decided to sum up this experience. Below we give our comments on the most frequent cases of our practice.

We are going to describe most of the situations (except criminal cases) in relation to Moscow. This is not because we are mainly providing our assistance in Moscow and the Moscow Region, but because there is a bad tendency of Russian local authorities to send foreigners to Moscow.

1. You Lost Your Passport/Passport Stolen

In this case, you need an interpreter even without a diploma. He/she can be your friend who can assist you with oral/written translation. Your main goal is to get your emergency passport and a new visa.

Step 1. Once you in a city/town, the task number one is to find a local police station, which covers the area you are staying in. E.g. if you are staying in Moscow in Basmanniy Raion, you need to visit the Basmanniy police station.

Before your visit:

  1. Prepare a document proving you are staying/living on the territory of Russia (hotel receipt, hotel voucher etc.). The main idea, such document shall have a stamp and the address of your sojourn;
  2. Prepare a short (better in written) explanation on how you lost your passport (stolen);
  3. Take only necessary things you need. There is no need to take your entire luggage. Police cannot let you in if you have too much things with yourself.

Once you are in the police station you have to find a front office. Please note, that in some police stations in Russia you cannot get directly to the front office, and have to contact only a policeman who controls a pass into. After listening to your explanation (not necessary in person, an interpreter can do it for you; you just staying aside), hand in the documents proving your sojourn status. After the police is sure that you are staying in the area they cover, you will be given a statement to the police. In this statement, you have to explain chronologically when and where you lost/being stolen passport. Sometimes the police can ask you to prepare the statement in both Russian and English. Once you complete your statement hand it in to the front office or a policeman in duty for the examination. If your statement is right, you will be given a police ticket that says that your case is taken for consideration. In case your passport is stolen, you will be given a reply in 10 days, and the name of the police officer who runs the investigation.

Congratulations, with a police ticket you can get an emergency passport in your embassy/consular.

Time: 1-3 hours

Step 2 (Optional). If apart from your passport you lost (being stolen) your migration card (google «миграционная карта») you need to visit one more place. It is an office of the Federal Migration Service of Russia. The principle how to find this one is the same as for the police station. As for Moscow, such offices are typically located in the same building as a council house (Moi documenty/Мои документы). Example for googling: Мои документы (the name of the district you are staying in (e.g. Basmanniy/Басманный)).

ATTENTION: VISIT ONLY AFTER YOU GET AN EMERGENCY PASSPORT!

Before your visit:

  1. Prepare a document proving you are staying/living on the territory of Russia (hotel receipt, hotel voucher etc.). The main idea, such document shall have a stamp and the address of your sojourn;
  2. You need an emergency passport;
  3. Police ticket;
  4. Check the work schedule of a migration office, as sometimes they it is very tricky, and you will just come there "to kiss the door";
  5. Xerox your emergency passport, police ticket and document proving you are staying/living in hotel, hostel etc.;
  6. Take about RUB 120 in coins or in notes, if you have no copies of documents indicated in 5 above.

Once you are in the office, find out where is the migration office is (floor, room number). Get a ticket and take a queue. Recommendation: come as much earlier as possible (one hour before thy open), as sometimes queue is big enough, so you will spend more time in the queue than preparing a duplicate of your migration card. However, sometimes, after understanding your case, a migration officer can tell you to wait, even if you are the first one in the queue. This is because your case will take more time than an average case of his/her day.

Once you are in, explain your situation through an interpreter. NOTE: It would be better to have an interpreter with a diploma, because an officer can nag to it, and brush you off. After hearing your explanation and checking your passport, the officer will check some information about your crossing the Russian border in his/her computer. If everything is OK with your arrival to Russia, you will get your new migration card in 10-15 minutes after your fingerprints will be taken. For this procedure remove your outer top. Relax your hands and let the officer manipulate them to take your fingerprints.

Congratulations, you got your new (duplicate) migration card.

Time: 1-4 hours.

Step 3. On this step, you have to apply for refurbishing your visa. The place where you can do in Moscow is: ГУ МВД России по г. Москве Специальное подразделение УВМ (Ulitsa Pokrovka sorok dva, ул. Покровка, 42, Москва).

Visiting hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday – 9:00-17:00
Friday: 9:00-16:00
Lunch break: 13:00-14:00

Before your visit:

  1. Prepare Xerox of your emergency passport, police ticket, migration card, air tickets, invitation and documents proving you are staying/living in hotel, hostel etc.;
  2. Prepare 2 photos 3x4 cm; take a glue;
  3. Pencil (black).

Once you are in take the left. If you are lucky and a ticket machine works, get a ticket for your queue. If the machine does not work, you need to find out who is the last person in you queue. Please, remember this person, how he looks etc., just not to miss your turn. It may be quite difficult as the room is small and may be overcrowded; moreover, you have to understand which of the windows you need today. As one window may works only with natural persons and another works only with legal entities, and the work of these windows may shift every day. Please note that to aoid wasting your time. Also sometimes, if the ticket machine does not work, people just take a sheet of paper and write down the queue.

Find an appliance form. It should be somewhere in piles. As a tip, we recommend you to prepare this form beforehand. You can download it from here https://мвд.рф/Deljatelnost/emvd/guvm/оформление-продление-срока-действия. On this site scroll down to the bottom and find "Визовая анкета", and click on it.

Therefore, on arrival your interpreter just have to rewrite it in Russian using. Even after you filled in the form, there may be a lot of waiting heading on. Therefore, if you are sure that there is more than 1 hour to wait, do not waste your time and take receipt to pay fee for refurnishing your visa. You can find bank details indicated on one the boards on the wall. In addition, we recommend doing it from Step 1.

How to pay: Ask your interpreter to pay on your behalf, because sometimes bank clerks nag, because you need a notarized translation of your passport to pay.

When your turn is coming, prepare your documents to hand in. We do not recommend you to glue your photo until an operator confirms that your application is fine. Sometimes there are some lines, which the operator may ask to rewrite. So, be ready that you will need to come back again next day, if the working time of this organisation is off.

After you have applied all your documents (including emergency passport), the operator will give you a ticket. You will use this ticket to get your new visa. Generally, you will get your visa with plus 1-2 additional days to the original ones.

As a rule, your visa will be done in 5-7 days (if urgent they can hurry up). When you arrive to get your visa, the operator will give you a new visa to check. Only after that, the operator stick a new visa in your emergency passport.

Congratulations, you have completed all the steps and get your passport and visa back. Enjoy your trip.

Time: 1-3 days (to apply); in 4-7 days get a visa.

2. You Have Overstayed Your Visa

If you read this when the storm is coming, and you are sure that you will overstay your visa, we strongly recommended you to document this fact with much more details as you can. Going forward, we want to say that the finish line of this case is a court, and if you are determined to give a battle in court you will need a great number of documented facts proving that your overstaying is a result of bad luck and not of your negligence or else whatsoever. Moreover, despite the tendency of local Russian authorities to brush off these cases, and heading you to Moscow, we want to highlight another tendency. If you overstay your visa and voluntarily “surrender” to Russian authorities, none of local court’s ruling  indicates a ban for 5 years. As for 99% of Moscow courts’ rulings you will be banned for 5 years for visiting Russia. However, you can try to overrun this barrier by lodging an appeal.

Step 1. Once you understand that you have overstayed your visa, we strongly recommend you not to drag this process out. Inform your embassy and find an interpreter. ATTENTION: In this case an interpreter MUST have a diploma, otherwise Russian authorities demand you to find another one with a diploma.

What is next? You have to go to the police station or migration office, which covers the area where you have been staying/living all these time in Russia. If local Russian authorities brushed you off, and you have to head to Moscow, it does not matter in general which police station or migrations office to choose for “surrender”. 

Only for Moscow, there are many hostels where you can try your luck and successfully book in with overstayed visa (we discuss this tip further). Please note, that this is not a good start when you understand that you have overstayed your visa right down at the airport, i.e. you have not been allowed to get on board.

As we said above there are two options where to surrender: police station and migration office. What is the difference?

Police station.

Pros. Quick (Our record 7 hours). They take fingerprints without inks (scan pad), but in addition take mugshots. Police officers more professional in preparing case papers and in general, have good relationships with courts and judges. Even a junior police officer can prepare your case papers. Can deliver you from the police station immediately to court by a police car. Work 24/7.

Cons. The police station may have a grim atmosphere inside. No Wi-Fi. Can brush you off to the migration office. If court hearing is not at the same day when your case papers are ready, the Police can stay you at night in the police station until the next day of hearing (you have to surrender your mobile phone etc.). It is very rarely, but can happen, especially when you fails to declare voluntarily that you have overstayed your visa.

Migration office

Pros. Have Wi-Fi in the building. Less strict than the Police in preparing your case papers. Can provide you with a necessary legal advice how to challenge your ban, as it is up to a migration office to ban you. The building have more illuminous and friendly atmosphere inside. No mugshots, only fingerprints.

Cons. Take fingerprints with inks (rarely scan pad). Can brush you off to the police station. Only a senior migration officer can prepare your case papers, or you have to wait his/her order for junior officer to do so. Inconvenient work schedule. The senior officer is often late or absent. Migration officers do not like go to court and therefore their relationships with courts and judges are not so good as the police has.

Before your visit:

  1. Take only necessary things you need. There is no need to take your entire luggage. Police/bailiffs cannot let you in if you have too much things with yourself.
  2. Prepare a short logic summary about why you have overstayed your visa in simple English, translate it through google translate for example and print it out. You will have an opportunity to give it to a police officer/migration officer or a judge to scan through.

Before we discuss how case papers are made, we would like to cover your right to an attorney. Attorney is optional and expensive.

Once you have found an attorney, you need to conclude a contract with her/his or with the legal firm, he/she works for. Their payment rate is per hour or per day, and is quite significant. Payment only in roubles. Speaking from our experience, an attorney can be useful only if you are going to lodge an appeal to challenge the 5-year ban. However, if you have strong exculpatory evidences to challenge the 5-year ban in the courtroom, the attorney assistance is worth it.

Let us stick to case papers. Your case papers start with your oral explanation (through an interpreter) given to the responsible person on how, why and where you have overstayed your visa. The same is true for both a police station and a migration office. However, in the police station, they immediately take your fingerprints and make your mugshot, and only after that, a police officer start making your case papers. In the migration office, the fingerprints taking is at the end.

Case papers in the police station and migration office are absolutely the same. Typically, case papers include:

  • Report on your detection. It says why, where and how you have overstayed your visa. Before you sign it, your interpreter shall translate it to you.
  • Explanation of rights (e.g. you have the right not to evidence against yourself, your close relatives, have the right to an attorney etc.). Your interpreter shall translate it to you before you sign it.
  • Copies of your passport, fingerprints, and mugshot made when you have cross the Russian border (they download it from database).
  • Details of your attorney (if applicable).

When your case papers are ready, a police/migration officer will tell you the address of a courthouse and time (actually morning).

Time: 1-3 days.

Step 2. In court.

Before your visit:

  • Take only necessary things you need. There is no need to take your entire luggage. Police/bailiffs cannot let you in if you have too much things with yourself. Do not take sharp things, even scissors. Speaking from our experience, you will have to wait more than the hearing will last.

Once you meet your police/migration officer (who will be with you during this entire step), you will pass through a bailiff who checks your passport, asks to take out all metal objects and may visually check your luggage for security purposes.

Then your police/migration officer asks you and your interpreter to give your passports (and diploma of an interpreter) which need to be present together with your case papers for preliminary examination by the judge. If everything is okay with your papers, you just keep on waiting. If not, you come next time because there are mistakes in your case papers, which should be fixed up by your police/migration officer. Sometimes the judge can return your case papers immediately in 10-30 minutes, and unfortunately, sometimes at the end of the day after 5-8 hours of waiting.

In addition, you will be given two papers to sign after your interpreter translate its context to you. First one says that you do not speak Russian and speak the language you have a good command. Second one says about you rights in this case.

There are two ways what can happen next:

  1. You will be lucky if there is a judge who decides your case even without a hearing. It happens the following way: a court’s secretary comes to you, gives you a court decision and asks to sign it, explains you about a fine, and you are free.
  2. Court hearing. Please note, once if you are with an attorney, hearing must be, and everything will be strictly formal. Once you have entered into the courtroom, there are already a judge, secretary, bailiff and sometimes a prosecution attorney. If there is no judge, do not forget to raise when he/she comes in. First, the judge identifies your interpreter, explains his/her rights and obligations, and warns of responsibility for an obviously wrong translation. Second, the judge identifies your personality; asks were where your born, nationality, date of birth, residential address, previous criminal/administrative record, occupation, married or not married, and education (everything through your interpreter). Third, the judge starts asking about why you have overstayed your visa. Fourth, your attorney’s speech, if applicable. After that, the judge retires to sentence.

    Then two ways:

    • If you have an attorney the judge will for sure officially declare the decision, which actually a monotonous, speed reading of your case papers and a decision that you are guilty (in 99%);
    • No attorney. You have to wait in the hall until the secretary brings you the decision that you are guilty (in 100%).

Once you get the decision, you sign for getting it. Ask your interpreter to translate it if you do not understand something.

As a rule, overstaying a visa is punishable by a fine of RUB 4,800-5,000. You have to pay your fine before leaving Russia and bring a cheque of the payment to the court registry, so they can give you an authorise copy under the seal of the court that your fine is paid. You need to do this to avoid problems at airport when leaving Russia.

In general, after the court’s decision you have 15 days to leave Russia (we recommend you to leave Russia within 7 days, because the calculation formula for 15 days is quite tricky); 10 days to lodge an appeal. How to do it you would better discuss with your attorney and your presence is not necessary, you can control how your appeal is going on outside Russia.

To check your ban status you can here:

http://services.fms.gov.ru/info-service.htm?sid=3000

For nationality:

  • СОЕДИНЕННОЕ КОРОЛЕВСТВО ВЕЛИКОБРИТАНИЯ – GREAT BRITAIN
  • АВСТРАЛИЯ – AUSTRALIA
  • НОВАЯ ЗЕЛАНДИЯ – NEW ZEALAND
  • КАНАДА – CANADA
  • СОЕДИНЕННЫЕ ШТАТЫ АМЕРИКИ – USA

For document type select «Национальный паспорт» = National passport

At the end of this Step, how we have promised, a tip how to check in with emergency passport and overstayed visa. Take your interpreter, find a hostel/mini-hotel. Get to there. Discuss with the receptionist a possibility to check in under the book, i.e. without getting an official document.

Congratulations, you passed through this endeavour and can continue your trip.

Time: 1-7 days

3. You Have Overstayed Your Visa Twice

It means that you have failed to leave Russian within 15 days after the court’s decision. Immediately inform your embassy.

The point is that in this case there is an additional punishment, apart from a fine, placing into a detention centre for foreigners (address for Moscow and the Moscow Region: Подольский район, владение 1 строение 33, Варшавское ш., 64, Москва).

Before your visit:

  1. Decides who will get you out of the detention centre (we can provide such assistance, and make discounts in this case).
  2. Prepare enough money in cash:

    • For a fine (about RUB 5,000);
    • For an air ticket to your home country (without stops in Russia).
  3. Review your luggage. Take out all alcohol (liquor).
  4. Prepare a separate small packet of personal care appliances (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, towel etc.), changing and warm clothes.
  5. Reasonably replenish your mobile phone balance.
  6. Make several lists with the necessary contacts (embassy, interpreter, attorney etc.).

Step 1. Go to the police station/migration office, which has prepared your court papers before.

The procedure for you case papers is the same. Please note, in this case an attorney is absolute waste of your money (99.5% ineffective).

Do not forget to tell a polica/migration officer that you have luggage.

Step 2. The court procedure is the same, but sometimes a furious judge, if you will get the same who has been before. The judge may ask additional questions, like what are, you going to do next, why you have overstayed your visa again etc. Of course court’s decision will be 101% guilty, no dice.

Step 3. After the judge pronounces last words of the verdict, and you sign for getting a copy of your decision, you are subject to forcible deportation and detention in the special centre for foreigners. You rights of movement are restricted. Then you will be placed in a room of the courthouse for waiting until a car from the detention centre comes (sometimes the car arrives in the middle of the night). Until this time your luggage is examined and values (money, credit cards) you have are listed, also you can have your interpreter at hand (our company does not charge for this time).

Once the car from the detention centre arrives, an officer from this car will ask you once more time to take out your entire valuable things and check the list, then ask to surrender your passport and mobile phone (you are allowed to take SIM-card). Generally, there are no one who speaks English, so that is why you do need an interpreter at hand in this moment. When everything is ready and checked, it is time to say goodbye to your interpreter and get in the car that brings you to the detention centre.

Step 4. In the centre, you will be placed in a cell with whom can speak English or at least of the similar geographic region. The cell is not big. Shower once in a week. You can use only a local mobile phone inserting your SIM-card, and calling is not more than 10 minutes.

Only in 10 days (period to apply appeal) a person (contact person), with whom you have agreed to get you out of the detention centre, can start visit the centre to arrange your departure. Before that date, he/she can bring car packages for you.

There are some main restrictions for care packages:

  • Everything that in package shall be put into a transparent packet;
  • Only lump sugar;
  • Tea and coffee only in bulk;
  • Cigarettes, without packages;
  • Not more than 5 kg for one time;
  • Not more than 35 kg per month;
  • Meat and milk products depending on the season.

Step 5. Your contact person shall contact court marshals (bailiffs) and arrange with them your departure. To visit you in the centre your contact person shall contact an officer who is responsible for you detention. Time of visit is 10-15 minutes.

When your departure is arranged, you will be escorted under the guard at airport on the day your flight comes. You will get all you luggage only at the airport.

That is about all.

Time: 15 days – 2 years

P.S. Why 2 years? Because this is the limit, you can be detained in this centre.
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