Hi all, I have been lurking on this site for quite some time. I have been in a relationship with an amazing Russian girl for about a year now. She lived in the USA for almost two and a half years. I met her in the last 4 months of her time in this country. She speaks good english. She is incredibly beautiful, and a very intelligent, and sophisticated young woman. She got in some trouble with Homeland Security agents. They were actually looking for her friend, and she got caught her illegally when they busted down her door looking for this other girl that was a criminal. She was ordered to leave the country. She left in January of 2007, and we have remained in contact through the internet, and telephone. I care for her very much, and I trust her. Just recently I came into some money, and I have the time and resources to make the trip to Russia to visit her. She is still completing her studies at the university there, but in December she will have an apartment of her own. She is from a very good family, and her family seems to be what I figure to be upper middle class, if there is such a thing. Long story short, I want to go to Kaliningrad to visit her. After some reading, I have discovered that it is quite a bit more than getting a plane ticket and just getting on the plane. Also I do not have a passport, nor have I ever held a US passport. I would like to go in a little over a month from now, and stay for 7-10 days.
In order to get a rushed passport I see that I need to show that I have a plane ticket already, and an itenirary. I don't want to buy a ticket though, and then not be able to go for some reason. As I see it there are 2 ways to proceed. I can try to do it myself or use a travel aganet. Does anyone have advice for me?? Should I even attempt to do this on my own, or just go ahead and do it all through a travel agent?
I can buy a ticket over the internet, and then apply for a rushed passport using an online service. Then apply for a visa. My girl said I should stay at her apartment, and come on a personal invite visa. I have read that one can encounter more problems wih this type of visa. Is it better to go on a regular tourist visa? I would love to stay with her at her apt, but I dont want problems with the visa, or with govt officials when I get there. I have also read that I will need some shots from my doctor before I go, and also some special traveler's health insurance/life insurance??? Is this really necessary?? My primary concern is the speed with which I need to prepare for this trip, and having the least amount of problems when I get to Russia. Money is not a big deal. It would be great to save a buck here or there, but I am willing, and would rather pay a little more to make sure that everything goes smooth, and quickly enough that I can go in mid-December. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Get the passport. Go to Kyiv. Have her meet you there. No visa needed. Great city.
Other then that, you are risking a huge amount if you get the ticket before hand. I would play it safe, she will still be there when the visa is approved ;-)
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