Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ukrainian visa laws

I'm rather surprised that we haven't had any concerned inquiries in the past few days.  I've been pretty worried myself.  Our new friend Laura was deported from where she was working in Odessa.  That went around the GBC prayer list.  Please pray for Laura and the rest of the team there!

For anyone that was concerned, but just didn't ask--and for myself--I'll try to explain Ukrainian visa laws.  (Not that I'm an expert!  They're much more confused and confusing here, than in Russia.  This is just how I understand it.)  Something that we learned in Russia was that visas are not for living in the country, they're for entering it, at least in this part of the world.  In Russia, you have three days to register, once you're there.  Because of that, we were in a big hurry to register here.  Still, it took us over a month to get registered.  We didn't quite understand their laid back response to that, or why what we were doing was called "extending" our registration.  Now I understand better.  When you enter Ukraine, you're automatically registered for 180 (used to be 90) days.  The current laws say that you have to extend that, if you're going to be staying longer.  Laura and the team she was working with didn't know that.  It used to be that they could just leave regularly and be automatically reregistered every time they came back.  Not anymore.  We didn't know about that, so we weren't (too) confused.  We just did things like in Russia, and that happened to be the right way.

So, for anyone who was concerned: we are not in danger of being deported.

Please pray for Laura as she adjusts back to the States, and for the rest of the team that Anna will be working with as work on getting their paperwork straightened out.

By they way, for those who want to come visit us, you don't have to worry about any of this at all.  You don't need a visa for a visit of less than three months, and registration is automatic.


Tom and Roz said...

We were not aware of what happened! We are thankful none of this directly affects your family! May the Lord bless and keep each one of you! xoxoxo

Baba Julie said...

Praise the Lord for your understanding! And,isn't God good to have spared Mark and his family the deportation thing! We are praying that IM can get clarity on all of this and help the rest of the foreigners there in Odessa to do the right thing!! Love y'all! Baba Julie