Blog - Citizenship (3)

Added on Thursday, 2013-03-14 15:16 CET in category Moscow

Nope, not just yet…

When I managed to apply for citizenship last August, I did so at "big UFMS" - the migration services office for my administrative division of over 1.7 million people. Every foreigner there who wants to apply for a residence permit or for citizenship, has to go to this one small office. That does explain the lines, doesn't it?

They told me that under the short track the process would take max. 6 months. Also, you can imagine how happy I was, when I was told that after that I didn't need to go to big UFMS anymore either :)

Having come back in February, although I remembered about not having to go to big UFMS anymore, for the life of me I couldn't remember anymore why… So I went there anyway :)

Turns out that when you're granted citizenship, you don't receive your passport just yet. You simply receive a "spravka" stating you are now a Russian citizen, and that's it. "This spravka will be sent by post to place of registration", they told me.


A spravka is, bluntly put, a document or other piece of paper attesting to some information. It may be a doctor's note stating you're fit/healthy to go swimming, it may state your application has been accepted, or in this case, it may state I have indeed obtained Russian citizenship.

Spravkas can come in mighty handy in some cases, because they prove you're right. "What do you mean I 'never applied'? My spravka says otherwise!" I guess that's why Russians love them so much :) (Especially when they've got stamps on them :P)

But if you don't have your spravka, well, they even got a saying for that: без бумажки ты какашка, а с бумажкой - человек (without any papers you're nothing but shit, but with papers you're a person). … It sounds better in Russian :P

Post and small UFMS

I kept checking the mailbox for a while, but no spravka… That in itself is not too surprising, knowing Russian post's horrible track record for late delivery and losing mail. But still, no spravka. Then it dawned upon me I might've misunderstood. The spravka wouldn't be sent to me, but to "small" UFMS, by my place of registration. D'oh… (Small UFMS then being the migration services office for my district, of which there are 16 in my administrative division.)

All anxious I go to this small UFMS, which, by virtue of it being in one of the smaller districts, has barely any lines at all. I inquire, and find out the decision hadn't even been made yet :( They were still looking into my wife's and parents-in-law's background, so I was told to try again in a week. So I did, but still no dice. "This Friday we'll know for sure", they said.


And indeed, just three weeks after their deadline, lo and behold, it was done! Well, i.e., I was granted citizenship, or so I was told, but still, no spravka…

It took another two weeks for the spravka to finally arrive today, due to said very slow Russian post, and a "glitch" in UFMS' mailing. But, from this moment on, I am now officially Russian! :)

Although, "officially"… To make sure their statistics aren't too screwed up, the date of me having been granted Russian citizenship had been retroactively updated to 2013-02-08, the very last day the decision should've been made… So back then, I wasn't Russian yet, but now I was :P


One of the prerequisites of having Russian citizenship is being able to apply for a Russian passport :) As it turns out, this is really quite easy. I had already gathered the required documents, handed them in, added the current date and signature, and that was that. In two weeks it'll be done :)

Registration, international passport, army booklet, work contract

This wouldn't be Russia if that was really that. I may soon get my passport, but that doesn't mean I'm done. Stay tuned ;)