Stories of Russians who left for a long time

Stories of Russians who left for a long time

Going abroad is always exciting, be it wintering in a warm country, a long business trip or moving for permanent residence. Preparing documents, collecting things and planning a new life for months, or even years, ahead can be a real challenge.

We spoke with several Russians who have settled in other countries. They talked about the process of finding housing, everyday difficulties and bureaucratic nuances.

From Moscow to Istanbul

Stories of Russians who left for a long time

Daria Levashova: moved to Turkey with her husband, daughter and dog

I only had about a week to prepare for departure. In turbo mode, I collected my things, the child, and sorted out documents for the dog. This was a separate quest, because it was necessary to get tested, microchipped and vaccinated. According to the rules, the minimum time interval between them should be a month. We only had a week, so I agreed with the clinic, where they sped up the process without harm to the pet. 

About housing

There are a lot of nuances here. Often in Turkey, housing is rented unfurnished, but in Istanbul this is not such a problem. Firstly, there is the familiar IKEA, and secondly, there are stores with good quality used furniture. We rented a house in the Fenerbahce quarter, which is located in a cool area by the sea. Everything in the apartment was available. However, there is one unexpected point that must be kept in mind. When concluding an agreement, you need to immediately pay a fairly large amount: a commission to the realtor plus a double or even triple deposit to the owner. We rented an apartment for 14,000 liras per month (about 46,000 rubles), but we had to pay much more the first time .

About documents

You can stay in the country without a visa for 60 days, plus another month if you cross the border and enter back. We didn’t have time to get an apostille in Russia, so we did it on the spot, but getting to the consulate in Istanbul turned out to be a problem. All slots for online recording were occupied, so I had to get up at about three in the morning and stand in a huge line. 

Therefore, we decided to go to Trabzon and at the same time cross the border between Turkey and Georgia by car, so that we could stay in the country for another month. We made apostilles for a marriage certificate and a child’s birth certificate. To obtain a residence permit in Turkey, you need a rental agreement for a period of one year and a completed application form. You will also need  translator and notary, who must sign each document.  

All legal services cost us 120,000 rubles. To save money, we decided to prepare the documents ourselves. There is nothing complicated about this – you just need to fill out the form and wait for the result. Few people know, but there is a hotline with Russian-speaking operators where you can clarify all questions about filling out – 157. About two weeks later we were invited to meetings to transfer documents. We were required to provide a rental agreement, insurance, tax number (done in five minutes) and a translated passport with entry stamps.

Establishment in a new place

We were lucky with the area and with the way everything worked out. But there was a difficult period: for several months I was in a terrible state, I missed everyday life, our former life in Russia. Such horror came over me that I even turned to a psychologist for migrants. This helped. 

In general, we never really get bored. Istanbul is a hub city through which someone is constantly flying somewhere. Our friends and acquaintances stay with us so often that we already jokingly call our apartment “The House of Runaways and Tramps.” Of course, there is a special atmosphere here, people know how to live relaxed. The locals have folding chairs, and every evening and morning they go out to the sea and have breakfast (dinner) for three to four hours. They also really love children here. We found a private kindergarten for our daughter for 4,000 liras a month (about 14,000 rubles), where they study according to a special Finnish program. The neighbors always show attention to us: they say hello, ask how I am doing, how is my daughter. This helps you feel calmer and more comfortable in a new place. 

To Georgia from Krasnodar Territory

Stories of Russians who left for a long time

Irina Sulima: moved to Tbilisi with her daughter in early October

I always really liked Georgia, so the question “Where?” wasn’t even a question. As soon as the land borders opened, my daughter and I got into the car and drove off. At the border itself everything was very fast; crossing took about 20 minutes. If a woman is traveling with a child, there is no need to even go out for inspection. The main thing is to open the trunk and turn on the emergency lights, so you show that there is a child in the car. Then you give your documents for verification and drive through.

About housing

Finding him turned out to be not very difficult. Of course, there are really a lot of visitors now, which is why some landlords are raising prices significantly. However, there are still enough options, and there is a chance to find quite affordable ones. Plus, you can always find help in support chats. If you need an inexpensive option to look around and decide what to do next, it is better to rent housing in Batumi: it is now the off-season there, apartments are cheaper. In terms of real estate prices and living standards, Kutaisi would be a good option. In Tbilisi now you can only search through friends or, again, catch opportunities in chats.

About documents

In principle, you don’t have to rush to obtain a residence permit, since you are allowed to stay in Georgia for a whole year without a visa. However, for those who plan to fully settle in the country, find a job and use government services, this is necessary.

To submit documents, you need to officially find a job in the country, enroll in a local university, marry a local resident, or prove the presence of Georgian roots. There is also the option of buying real estate, but it is more complicated. I have not submitted documents yet and am not sure whether I will. Maybe we’ll go somewhere else. But my immediate plans are to stay here as long as possible. I have a remote job, so the main condition is the availability of the Internet and my daughter’s condition. 

About life in Georgia

Prices here are moderate. Vegetables and fruits, for example, are cheaper than in Russia, and dairy products and sweets are a little more expensive. The people deserve special mention – they are very responsive. They often help, give advice, can lower the price or even treat you. Especially if you are with a child. There is generally a very warm attitude towards children here, but the schools are overcrowded. Many classes were given over to refugees. Even in private institutions there are no places, so my daughter studies online.

For transferring money there is Unistream, the commission is very small. Russians get a Georgian card from local banks; they can use it to travel abroad and pay everywhere. 

From Moscow to Bali

Stories of Russians who left for a long time

Pavel Uryadov: switched to remote work and moved to the resort town of Canggu

The choice fell on Bali not by chance. We were attracted by the climate and Europeanization of this place relative to the rest of Southeast Asia, primarily in terms of food. At the time of my departure, it was impossible to buy currency in Moscow, so I went to Istanbul, withdrew money there in Turkish lira from an ATM, exchanged it for dollars and went to Bali. 

About housing

For the first time, I rented a hotel on OneTwoTrip and started looking for permanent housing from there. There are many chats on Telegram with tens of thousands of participants, where Russian speakers help and receive help in various issues related to life here. You can look for housing in such chats, you can look at ads on social networks and on Airbnb, you can simply google it or walk around the island, knock on doors and ask if anyone is renting out housing. Most accommodation facilities presented on popular resources use monthly pricing, which turns out to be lower than daily rent. At the same time, on these platforms themselves it is not possible to rent at the stated rates. Therefore, you can check the availability of a room, indicating a long period of time, make sure that the room is available, book it for the first few days, arrive and agree on a monthly tariff on the spot.

I rented my apartment using a regular Internet search engine. I was completely satisfied with the ad, but no one answered me, so I found this place on the map, arrived there, met the gardener, took the owner’s number from him, contacted her and agreed on payment and check-in. I still live here, and everything suits me.

The place is called Canggu. It is more like a village or village-type settlement. That is, the development is rustic, but there are supermarkets, trendy bars, cafes with palm trees, tennis, a skatepark and even a riding school. The most comfortable balance between city and countryside, even the roosters crow in the morning!

About life in the country

In Indonesia there is only one bank that opens cards to foreigners without a residence permit (it is called KITAS). To receive a card, you need to be vouched for by an Indonesian citizen who already has an account with this bank. For a small fee, a guarantor can easily be found through the same chats.

It’s impossible to get around on foot in Indonesia, so I had to learn to drive a scooter. The locals are wonderful: for the most part, friendly and cheerful people, but poor. One of them pulled out a backpack from my trunk in the parking lot, which contained my passport. I had to fly back to Russia and restore.

The biggest fear here is health problems. There are frequent cases of Dengue fever (transmitted through mosquito bites), and every day after sunset you should treat yourself with mosquito spray. For now, the plan is to stay here as long as possible. If tax problems arise, you will have to look for other options.

From Moscow to Nice

Stories of Russians who left for a long time

Gulnara Galeeva: moved to the south of France with two children

It was very difficult. The most difficult task was finding adequately priced air tickets. On average it was about 2,000 euros per person, so I monitored various sites in search of the cheapest options. In the end, I found it for 80,000 rubles for three people with luggage. We flew on Iranian airlines via Tehran to Istanbul, and from there to Nice. 

We took the maximum amount of luggage (30 kg), and sent the rest of our items via Kazakhstan, figuring that it would be cheaper this way. But it was a big mistake, as it turned out to be much more expensive. For example, an additional suitcase would cost us about 200 euros, but a transport company transports the same suitcase for about 500 euros. 

About housing

We settled in Antibes. Finding short-term accommodation is not a problem here; the city is full of hotels of various levels. But renting an apartment for a long time is much more difficult, because you need to provide salary certificates. The fact is that if people here stop paying rent, it is very difficult to evict them, especially with children. According to local laws, no one will kick tenants out onto the street, so landlords act very carefully. 

About difficulties

Russians may have difficulty opening a bank account due to sanctions. However, France has a very flexible bureaucracy, and you can always find a way to get around it without breaking the law. For example, in the summer, when I lived here without children, I had a tourist visa, and it was possible to withdraw small amounts with restrictions. But when you live permanently, you need to open an account. One legal scheme will come to the rescue: first you need to visit two banks and ask for a written refusal to open an account. With these documents you need to go to the Bank of France, provide a rental agreement and birth certificates for schoolchildren who need to pay for food and other expenses. In this case, they will not be able to refuse you and will open an account. 

During the months of living in France, I realized that there are no unsolvable issues here: you need to be able to achieve, talk and make friends. 

Children have the right to free clubs and, of course, to education. I managed to enroll my son and daughter in a local school, and they have already started classes.

The main problem is earnings. To find a decent job, you need a good knowledge of the language. Another option is reliable and highly paid freelancing. However, in France there are many easy jobs for all ages: for example, you can go wash dishes for three hours a day or walk someone’s dog. This is a democratic country, there are minimal restrictions on the cost of a working hour, so three hours of daily labor (45 euros) is just enough to buy quality food for the children and me for the day in a good store.

Here you seem to reset and start all over again. I like the climate, I like the people and their attitude towards each other. The place itself is very energizing. I understand that it will be hard, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I want to live here with my children and I realize that we will succeed.

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