The main bureaucratic problems of immigrants in the United States and how to solve them: lawyer's advice - ForumDaily
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The main bureaucratic problems of immigrants in the United States and how to solve them: lawyer's advice

Millions of immigrants from around the world live in the United States, and hundreds of thousands of new immigrants arrive annually in the country. All these people have broken all social and economic ties with their birthplace and are trying to start their lives from scratch. In their native country, many of them left relatives, property, documents, graves of relatives.

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American life absorbs a person completely, without leaving a gap in his already tight schedule: work, study, life, family ... Few can afford to regularly fly to their homeland. In this article we will talk about the problems that most of the immigrants from Russia have to face in the USA, as well as how to solve them. Although these problems are common and come from Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and so on. But I, as an expert on Russia, will dwell on solving precisely the problems of Russians.


If you arrived in the United States from Russia after February 6 1992 of the year, then regardless of the presence or absence of US citizenship, you will retain the citizenship of the Russian Federation. It is very important that your Russian documents are always in order, because if the validity of your Russian passport expires and you do not issue a new one in time, then you will encounter bureaucratic difficulties. Therefore, the first recommendation is to keep track of the validity of your passport.

You can get a new passport at the Russian consulate. Now in the market of near-legal services, brokering activities in obtaining passports have become widespread. Beware of contacting intermediaries, draw up documents legally. To legally apply for a passport, you need to make an appointment with the Russian consulate or embassy, ​​fill out simple forms, provide the necessary documents, pay the consular fee, arrive at the appointed time and apply for the passport.

A similar procedure is valid for obtaining passports at consular offices of Ukraine. The significant difference is that the Russian consulate can send a ready-made passport to you directly at your personal application. This means that you do not have to go to the consulate again. The Ukrainian Consulate does not send ready-made passports to its citizens, so Ukrainians will have to come to the consulate a second time in order to receive the coveted document.

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The only legitimate alternative to obtaining a Russian passport outside the consulate is to obtain a Russian passport at the FMS (Federal Migration Service Office) in Russia. Personal appearance of a citizen is required.

Power of attorney

Of all the documents that I have to draw up daily for my clients, the most common is the power of attorney. In accordance with applicable law, a power of attorney is a written authorization issued by one person to another person or persons for representation before third parties. The power of attorney is notarized.

But what if you did not think about it beforehand while in your country, or if the term of the previously issued power of attorney has expired? Contrary to popular belief, a power of attorney can be certified exclusively at the consulate, it can be done while abroad, without contacting the consulate. An alternative to a consular proxy certificate is to issue a power of attorney with a notary licensed in your state of residence, followed by an apostille with the secretary of that state.

American notaries, unlike Russian ones, only certify the authenticity of the signature on a document, therefore, not a single American notary will draw up a power of attorney, and will not be entitled to draw it up. Accordingly, you need to go to a notary in the USA with a ready-made document. The form of power of attorney can be given to you from Russia or, if necessary, I, Karina DuvalAs a Russian lawyer working in the United States, I will be able to expertly prepare any document for Russia.

According to a similar protocol, other documents are compiled for Russia: permits to travel abroad, applications for inheritance, applications for deregistration, and much, much more.

Karina Duval. Photos from the personal archive


A lot of Russians are faced with the problem of deregistration at the place of residence on the territory of the Russian Federation. Leaving Russia, few are puzzled by this problem, and someone consciously keeps registration at the place of residence. But quite often life makes its own adjustments: for example, the apartment in which you are registered needs to be urgently sold. For deregistration (extract) there is no need to go to Russia and do it personally. An application for deregistration can be made in the United States, notarized, apostilled and transferred to your representative in Russia, who will complete the necessary formalities.

Receiving documents from registry offices

Obtaining documents from registry offices in the Russian Federation is a more than common problem. Without these vital documents, it is impossible to change immigration status, enter into a new marriage, divorce, accept an inheritance. Birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce certificate, death certificate, documents confirming kinship with grandmothers and great-grandmothers - this is not a complete list of what clients contact me daily.

For example, if you need to change your immigration status in the United States, you will definitely need a birth certificate. If you were previously married, even if the marriage was short and frivolous, you will have to submit documents about this marriage and divorce to the American Immigration Service. If your husband or wife is dead, respectively, you will have to provide a document of his death. When filing a lawsuit for divorce, you should document the fact of your marriage, as well as provide birth certificates for the children. When you enter into the inheritance by law, you can not do without documents confirming kinship with the deceased.

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The list of cases where you may need to obtain evidence from the registry office is endless. All these services are provided by my office: we request documents from registry offices not only from Russia, but also from Ukraine, Uzbekistan and almost all other countries of the former USSR. We will also receive for you any document in the United States. Remember that documents issued in the United States for use abroad, in particular in Russia and other CIS countries, must contain an apostille and a certified translation.

Certified translation

What is a certified translation and who can arrange it? If you are preparing a translation of official documents for use in the United States, then a translator who is fluent in English and the language from which or into which he is translating a document can certify such a translation.

My office, in particular, prepares certified translations from any language to any. However, it must be remembered that these transfers are accepted only in the United States. If you need to complete the translation of documents to use them, say, in Russia, then such translations need to be executed on the territory of Russia or at the Russian consulate. For example, you have a child born in America, and you want to get him Russian citizenship. When applying to the Russian consulate, you need to provide a birth certificate with an apostille and a notarized translation into Russian. In this case, you need to complete the translation of the birth certificate according to the rules established in Russia, that is, the signature of the translator must be certified by a Russian notary public, whose role in the United States is performed, according to the Vienna Convention, by the Russian consulate.

Karina Duval, a lawyer licensed in the United States as a foreign consultant, with more than 20 years of experience. Photo courtesy of Karina Duval.

Citizenship for minor children

Great difficulties for my clients and readers are questions of Russian citizenship for their minor children. So, consider the following situations:

1. If both parents are citizens of the Russian Federation, the child acquires the citizenship of the Russian Federation by birth. Some parents mistakenly believe that if they did not apply for a passport of a citizen of the Russian Federation for children, then they would have no Russian citizenship. And then these children are denied visas to Russia, which causes outrage, bewilderment, etc.

In fact, a Russian citizen can freely enter Russia at any time and for any period. Therefore, he does not need a visa to the Russian Federation, he should have a Russian passport.

On the subject: Registration of Russian passports, powers of attorney and pensions: a lawyer responded to questions from ForumDaily readers about receiving documents for Russia and the USA

In general, contrary to a common misconception, the absence of a passport does not mean the absence of citizenship, therefore, documents should be kept in order from the beginning so that if you need to travel to your homeland it does not turn out that the passport has expired long ago and it is difficult to obtain a new one.

2. If the only parent is a citizen of the Russian Federation, the child acquires the citizenship of the Russian Federation by birth. It is very important to know those mothers who decide for themselves to have a baby without a father. If you have already made such a crucial decision, then go all the way and grant your child Russian citizenship before the American father voluntarily or forcibly establishes paternity. From the moment paternity is established, your child will need a written consent from the father to obtain Russian citizenship, which is difficult and sometimes impossible to obtain.

3. With different citizenship of the parents, one of which is a citizen of the Russian Federation, a child can obtain Russian citizenship only with the consent of the American parent. The exception is cases of a child's permanent residence on the territory of the Russian Federation. However, in order to reside in Russia, you must first be able to leave the United States, without violating the law. You can read more about this problem in my previous blog.

If you have any problems with these or any other questions, the office of Karina Duval will help in resolving them as soon as possible.

The column was prepared by a lawyer, a notary public, an expert in international law Karina Duval.

Attorney registration: # 78 / 857
NYS registration: 4665086
Notary public, registration: 02DU6376542

You can ask your lawyer a question by mail: [email protected] or get advice by phone:

  • in the USA: (212) 205-2211
  • in Russia: + 7-495-662-8721

ForumDaily is not responsible for the content of blogs and may not share the views of the author. If you want to become the author of the column, send your materials to [email protected]

Your question Karine Duval

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