Crimean visa issue

It was hard to find information, whether a visa is needed after Crimea became Russian. One source said it’s possible to enter Crimea visa-free until 2016.

All other information concerning the fact that people would need a visa were quite vague. So I wanted to go to Crimea without visa and wanted to see what happens at the border. But after some days I saw on the website of the Russian Embassy in Berlin, that people who intend to visit Crimea, need a either a business or private visa. I called them, but didn’t get any further information.

I wrote the embassies of London, Vienna (Austria) and Bern (Switzerland). The London embassy gave me the answer, I wanted to hear:

Dear Sir,
You will need a visa to Crimea.
Issue of single or double private visas for a period of 90 days, will be given on the basis of the written statement in any form (from relatives or friends) addressed to the Ambassador (Consul general), without notarial assurance from a Russian citizen living in the Crimea, with a copy of the copy of his Russian passport or the Ukrainian passport and the page copy with a mark about registration in the Crimea.
Person need to attend our visa centre, with all necessary documents and write visa request form (similar to Private visa)
At the moment we waiting for list of accredited travel companies in Crimea, to be able to provide with tourist visa supporting documents, regarding UK based ones we don’t have information, are they allowed to provide with those documents.

For further information please visit our website http://ru.vfsglobal.co.uk or contact our call centre on 0905 889 0149 (calls to the premium rate number cost 55 pence per minute).

Kind Regards,
Svetlana
[…]

I was really lucky that I could get the needed documents. In fact after the answer I didn’t believe that I would be able to go to Crimea any more. On Thursday, April 3rd I went to the Consulate in Frankfurt. They said, I’m the first who wants a visa for Crimea and accepted the documents without problems. But they said, it’s only that simple (no formal FMS invitation letter, quick processing time), because Crimea is a brand new part of Russia.

I just needed to fill out an letter for the invited (the stuff helped me) and gave a copy of the electronic visa application form (private visa, single entry). Although they had only 2,5 days for the visa get into my passport before my flight goes on Monday, I was charged with the normal fee (35€). Normally I would have had to pay an additional express fee as well.

I paid, got a recipe and hoped that everything will word out on Monday morning. And it did. I picked up my passport with visa with no problem.

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Day 10-12, Ai Petri, Fiolent

To the photos

Day 10, 16.4., Ai Petri

At the bus station of Sevastopol I told the woman behind the counter I wanted to get on the next bus to Koreiz (near Yalta), where the hike to 1234m high Ai Petri mountain starts. But apparently she booked a ticket to Yalta, so when I checked my current location 15min before the written arrival on the ticket, I was already close to the centre of Yalta. So I quickly got out and stopped a bus to Sevastopol which let me out about 1km before the starting point.

At 2.30pm I started hiking and about 100 minutes later I stood on top of Ai Petri. The hike has been really nice, because the weather was great all the time; there were no clouds like the day before, which blocked the view.

Unfortunately the cablecar which I thought, I could take back down didn’t run yet, so I had to hike down, too. But before I relaxed one hour on the summit, writing mails, taking photos and eating.

At 5pm I started my way back down and after having arrived, started hitch-hiking to Sevastopol.

Two guys stopped and took me to the next bus stop. There another guy talked to me and even bought the bus ticket for me.

Day 11, 17.4., Fiolent

At noon I met with E. and R. at the cash machine near their university, where I had to wait 30 minutes to get some cash. But then we took the bus to Fiolent, where, near a monastery, 700 descend down to the Black Sea cost.

Because it was my last full day in Crimea and the weather was really nice – sunny and a bit hot – I decided to go for a swim. But it was freezing cold. My skin really hurt really much after some swimming movements. At least I stood the cold water longer than some young Russians who arrived when we were leaving.

E. and R. were very thankful and said, our conversations have been a worthwhile language training, which I hope it really was.

Before I said good-bye to E., she helped me finding a good Crimean champaign for my mother’s birthday.

Till the evening I strolled around the centre in Sevastopol, threw the in the meantime self-designed post cards in a post box and sat down in a park to read.
To the photos of Ai Petri and Fiolent

Day 12-13, 18.4.,  Sevastopol-Kyiv

At 12.30pm my train was departing from Sevastopol train station to Kyiv. But before I had to do some shopping: more champaign for my friends in Karlsruhe and Berlin and the delicious Galicia apple-carrot juice.

Sadly I then entered the train and left Crimea. The haven’t been any passport controls of Russian soldiers. Only Ukrainian ones walked through the train at Melitopol train station.

In Kyiv I arrived at 7.30am, took advantage of cheap McDonald’s prices for a tiny breakfast and went to Boryspil airport by metro and bus.

There I helped an American guy, who visited Ukraine for meeting a woman, who could have been his daughter. He had invited her to fancy restaurants, but could only talk to her with a personal translator, because her English was non-existent. He registered at a website and had received and replied to more than 5000 letters from Ukrainian girls.

But everytime he answers, he needs to pay a certain amount of money from which I’m sure a certain percentage goes to girls. That’s why I guess their intention may not only meeting and being invited by the guys but just to keep up the communication because it might be a good income – I mean normally people would exchange email/Skype/Facebook/VK details. Some girls even wanted to be invited to America – on the guy’s cost naturally.

At 2pm it was finally time to leave Eastern Europe and to head to Paris.

Thanks for reading

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Ai Petri

Fiolent

Sevastopol to Paris


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