.. well I am the "rookie" her. Here is my situation. I am Canadian, living in Canada. She is Russian, living in Russia. We are just starting the process of getting married. Our plan is get married in Russia in April. Then, I will return to Canada, she will not. We will then begin the process of filing her application to move here. I hope I can can collect information off of everyone here to help ensure a successful process.
My fiancee and I have been researching trying to gather our documents, but it would be awesome if you guys/gals can help us. I know I need a Passport, and visa and "not married" official document. along with the invitation from her to visit Russia. So my questions are:
1. Should her invitation, for me to visit, be just a visitor visa, without any mention of intent of marriage or?
2. When I send to Ottawa for my " non-impediment of marriage", should I ask for more then one copy of it? if yes, how many?
3. Does Russia accept the "non-impediment" as an official document?
4. What is the best route of finding a notary pulbic or commissioner of oath, are they just lawyers? or can anyone be one?
Thanks for your time, I am sure I will have many more questions...
and I will help anyone else , the best I can
Welcome Kent! If only I knew about this site before I went and did everything! I'll try to answer some of your questions.
1) If she gets an invitation for you, it will be an incredibly stressful and annoying process for her. Not only will she have to spend hours in lineups, but she may be refused if she didn't make a perfect "A". Your best bet is to get a tourist or business visa, depending on how long you plan to be there. You can do this easily enough online, although you are looking at a couple of hundred dollars for a 3 month business visa.
2) Canada has a strange thing. It's a "Declaration In-Lieu Of Certificate Of Non-Impediment To Marriage". We didn't sign some convention or other so we basically swear under oath in front of an authorized officer that we're not married. I did this at the Canadian embassy in Moscow as I was living there at the time, so I don't know the procedure if you are in Canada.
You only need one copy. But before you can do anything with it, you need to have it legalized in Russia. This is a pain but there's no way around it. You need to go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Consular Services Department. In Moscow it is at Neopalimovski pereulok, #6 (metro Smolenskaya). Open: 10.00-17.00 (lunch break 13.00-15.00), closed Sat & Sun.
You will need to have the Declaration translated and notarized first. I strongly suggest doing this in Russia, as they may not accept a foreign public notary. Make sure they translate EVERYTHING! The embassy gave me a translated copy but the letterhead was in English and French, and it caused a lot of problems later on.
If you are not in Moscow I think you can still send it there by courier, but if you are in the Moscow Oblast you have to drop it off in person, or your future wife does.
Once you get it legalized (basically a sticker, signature and stamp on the back...Russians love stamps) you can use it to apply for a marriage at ZAGS.
3) Yes, once it is legalized (see above) it is considered an official document in Russia.
4) To find a public notary, just ask your wife to look for one. They are everywhere. It can't be just anyone, they have to be a registered public notary with the Russian government. Translation and notarization for me cost about 400 roubles ($12) per page. Like I said, make sure they translate everything. Have your fiance look over it all before you leave the office. Sometimes they make mistakes or get lazy.
You will also need to have your passport, visa and registration copied and notarized (and in the case of your passport, translated).
Once you have all of these things, you can go to ZAGS. I'm not sure where you'll be in Russia, but the bureaucracy is crazy there, and each bureaucrat you will meet will have different opinions about the law, and will act like petty tyrants. When my wife and I were going through the process, we went to the ZAGS near her home and had nothing but problems because the zheinshina there was certain Russians weren't allowed to marry foreigners (she was a left-over from the Soviet Union). So we went to the next town over and there the woman said that because I don't speak Russian fluently I couldn't get married. So we went to another one and there they said that the legalization on my document wasn't real.
Finally we went to ZAGS #14 in downtown Moscow, and there the young man looked at our documents and shook his head and said to me "I'm sorry. You're marrying a Russian woman in a month!"
That's the final bit. You have to wait about a month from the time of applying at ZAGS to the time you get married.
Hope that helps! I wish you luck and I hope you enjoy Russia! I personally love the country and if my salary wasn't so much better in Canada I would personally emigrate there in a heartbeat!