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Successfully submitted for residence permit - tips (Moscow)

Ok, I perhaps have somewhat non standard situation. I have 8 year old son in Moscow, and just last year had successful court case to be written into his birth cert and to receive parental rights (including visitation plan), but the mother simply refuses to allow me to have a relationship with my son so I recently bought an apartment in Moscow (5 minutes walk from my son) and just submitted for a Residence Permit.

Quite the process, and wanted to share some tips that may help others, regardless of their specifics. Here goes:

1. ***Hire a migration lawyer/agency***: it is not worth the headaches doing everything solo. I used the services of Protected content . I had the pleasure of working with top notch pros there Marina and Axror, with real time communication every step of the way via phone or WhatsApp, and I am sure the other staff members are equally impressive. They know what the Migration Center in Sakorovo looks for and so their documentation prep is eagle eye sharp, and they have tremendous pride in getting their clients past the finish line! In my case (I have 8 year old Russian son living in Moscow with non-cooperative mother, and preferred to submit for Residence Permit on basis of my son) they knew 1) me having a birth cert of my son not matching the Form 8 (his address registration) indicated birth cert, and 2) my passport containing my middle initial versus my FBI report containing my middle name would be potentially problematic. Since my time in Moscow was limited I went to the Migration Center in Sakorovo without addressing these two issues and sure enough they didn't accept my documents. So I had to get a new Form 8 and ended up having the US embassy provide me a letter stating that my documents, whether containing middle name or middle initial were indeed of my identity. Ultimately, upon my return to Migration Center in Sakorovo, they once again pointed out the two issues with my documents but once they saw I addressed them, they accepted my documents, took my fingerprints, and told me to expect my Residence Permit in 4 months. In my case, since I am married to a Russian (not same person as the non cooperative mother of my son!), I could have far more easily submitted for Temporary Residence first, but then in Protected content I would have to go through the FBI report process all over again (and Sakorovo trips!) come time to submit for Residence Permit. The fact that I successfully submitted my documents given my rather complicated case says a lot about Prima Consulting, which is why I can give them my highest recommendation.

2. Do not underestimate how difficult it is to obtain your FBI background check with apostille! If you go through standard process, it can take up to 12 weeks or more, which makes your FBI check already invalid when you try to submit it to the Migration Center! Here is what I did: 1) Since I was in Moscow at the time, I got fingerprints from International Organization for Migration as described here: Protected content . 2) I mailed my prints via DHL (around $70) to an FBI channeler. In a matter of days they had an FBI report in PDF form and they also mailed my original to my legal US address. 3) I used the PDF and immediately sent to an authorized company that can obtain apostille and paid Fed Ex return fast shipping to Moscow - I chose US Authentication Services. 4) This is key! Once US Authentication Services submitted my PDF for apostille and gave me a tracking number, I wrote to my State Representative’s office and asked them to send a note to US State Dept Authorizations section, asking that my apostille be expedited. Sure enough this resulted in apostille being done in a couple days, as opposed to the 12 weeks that it can otherwise take! 5) From step 2 above since I had the original report sent to my parents, I had my dad mail the report to US Authentication Services so that they included it in their FedEx packet to Moscow. With all this expensive shipping, etc it was over $400… Insane! But I got the report with apostille sufficiently quickly!

3. Do not underestimate how undermanned US Embassy is right now. When I realized the issue with my middle name/middle initial, I emailed the US Citizen Services section there asking for help. They told me there was no way for me to come to the embassy, as my situation was not life death, nor an emergency passport situation. But they agreed to write me a letter and they provided PDF form and mailed to my Moscow address. Just as a parallel measure, I also had the same State Representative’s office that helped me regarding the apostille write note to embassy asking that a letter be written for me. In the end the embassy saved the day, as the letter they provided was exactly what was needed!

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