If I was adopted from Russia, is there any chance to travel to Russia with a visa?
If you were adopted from Russia and you have never gotten your Russian citizenship renounced officially, you are still a Russian citizen. According to the Russian Federation state law, all Russian citizens must enter Russia with a valid Russian travel document. If you try to apply for a Russian visa, your application will be denied and the consular fee is not refundable.
What should I do to renew my Russian passport, which expired a while ago?
If you do not have any valid Russian passport (travel or internal), you are not eligible to obtain a Russian travel passport at this moment. First you must confirm your citizenship.
Russian Citizenship confirmation process for US citizens adopted from Russia.
Probably you have already heard that citizenship confirmation for adopted children from Russia might take a while, up to a few months and in some cases more than a year. There is some truth and some misconceptions about this. Earlier, before 2019, the process took longer because the Russian consulate was sending a request to the Russian Federation in order to check the applicant’s citizenship, either to the orphanage where the applicant was adopted from or to the Russian Ministry of Education if the orphanage doesn’t exist anymore. Just recently in 2019 the procedure has been changed. Now the Russian consulates have the authority to review and make decisions about whether the person has Russian citizenship or not. If there are not enough documents for the consulate to come to a conclusion about citizenship, then they will send the documents to Russia for evaluation. And of course, in that case the process will take much longer. From our experience, most cases are completed within 3 or 4 months, or even sooner if you have all the required documents showing the history of your adoption. Our agency is glad to help you to prepare the application and all the paperwork for Russian citizenship confirmation.
After your citizenship is confirmed you have one year to apply for a new Russian travel passport. You will need to travel to the Russian consulate just one time because you must apply for a travel passport in person. There are no exceptions to this rule. You will apply for a 10-year biometric passport and the Russian consulate will collect your biometric information during your appointment. The processing time of a new travel passport is around 3 months and the Russian consulate will mail the passport to you using your prepaid envelope with a signature required. We are happy to help you schedule an appointment without waiting for a day at your convenience (next day appointments are available) and to prepare the full package of required documents and forms in the Russian language. Also, we will have the Russian consulate review the package before your visit to make sure it will be accepted before you travel there. We do this because the Russian consulate is very strict about having all the required information and that everything matches. In some cases, extra documents could be required if your parents have changed your name during or after adoption. Every situation is unique, so we want to ensure that you don’t have any problems, which is why we confirm with the Russian consulate before your appointment that everything is in order. Very often we hear about situations when the applicant goes to their consulate appointment with just their American passport which has a name that is different from their original Russian documents and adoption papers. But the Russian consulate requires that every single change on your legal documents must be recorded with original court documents with apostilles and certified translations into Russian.
Your citizenship confirmation is valid for one year. If you do not apply within that time frame, then you will need to confirm your citizenship again, including paying the consular fee again. If you are under the of 18, one of your parents or legal guardians with a valid US passport must travel with you to the consulate and apply for a travel passport on your behalf.
Is it possible to renounce my Russian citizenship instead of confirming it?
Unfortunately, you cannot simply renounce your Russian citizenship if you don’t already have a valid Russian travel passport. There is no way to get around confirmation of your Russian citizenship. If you would like to renounce it, you must first get your citizenship confirmed, apply for a travel passport in person at a consulate, wait up to 3 months to receive it by mail. Once you have your Russian travel passport, you will need to travel to the Russian consulate again in order to renounce your citizenship in person with additional documents. Many of the children adopted from Russia never go through all the steps to renounce their citizenship. Once you get your travel passport for 10 years, you will be set for 10 years. The only thing you will need to do is to apply for a Russian passport renewal before it’s expiration date. We highly recommend doing this 6 months prior to expiring. Further citizenship confirmation is not needed if you apply for your Russian travel passport renewal on time. Please be advised that if you don’t renew your Russian travel passport in time, you will need to confirm your Russian citizenship again.
Despite the processing being difficult and complicated, we’ll do our best to make the process easy and clear for you. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.