Monday, July 10, 2006


I am a short-timer in Kharkov, leaving for Belgorod on Friday. I may not return to Ukraine again until I leave on August Sixth -- at least, I'll do that if I am able to file some immigration paperwork in Moscow. The papers deal with my fiancee getting her green card and following me over to the states, and though you're allowed to file this paperwork with a US Embassy if you live abroad, I'm in a bit of a catch-22 situation. I have been living in Ukraine, so I thought to file in Kiev. But my Fiancee lives in Russia, so the people in Kiev, after accepting my appointment request on one day, said on a second day that I really should go to Moscow, because that's where the final interview, involving only my wife, will take place. "She's a Russian," they said. "We can only process Ukrainians." The problem is, Moscow only accepts paperwork from Americans living in Russia, and I ... well, no one is set-up to take us, a bi-national, living-overseas, border-town relationship kind of couple. As a result, I'll go to Moscow after my marriage, on the 21st of July, and see if the Moscow Department of Homeland Security will take me -- I will be a resident of Russia at that point, and certainly not of the US, having not set foot in the states in a year. But if they refuse me, it's back to Kiev on the first of August. A quick interview is conducted when I present my paper-work and I'm given an opportunity to authenticate my relationship with my wife. Maybe three or five out of every ten marriages between a US national and a foreigner are cases of immigration fraud, I'm told, so if on first glance your relationship is viewed as legitimate, you want the person receiving your paperwork to be around to conduct the second interview with your wife. If I drop my paperwork at Kiev, the second interview will be in Moscow -- with a person who hasn't seen my wife at the first interview. Confused yet? And there may be paper-work delays routing everything from one place to the other. But it will be a lot better than doing all this in the states, as then you just throw your paperwork into the slush pile, located for Californians in Laguan Niguel, and hope for the better, everything sight unseen. If you do it that way, it can take up to a year or a year and a half for your wife to follow you over to the states -- so long as you cross all t's correctly and dot the necessary number of i's. If you do it at an embassy, the process might only take three months. If you do it at two embassies ... I don't know. More to come on this.


Anonymous said...

Hey Stephen,

Exactly the reason I am moving there for a while to make it easier for us to get our paperwork. Hope things go well my friend but if things are delayed I'll see you in Kharkov again!

Red October

WittyName32 said...

You'll fit in just fine here -- and no doubt be speaking more Russian after a year than I am.