The day I finally arrived in Ulan Ude (24 hours after Vanessa arrived), we had a few things that we needed to do besides going through the stash I’d hauled over to Russia for Mark and Charlene and getting a meal at Marco Polo. We had to visit the travel agency office in UU which had sponsored our Visas in order to have them register us as being in UU. We traveled via public transportation — here seen in the back row of a mini-bus.
Never mind that it was more complicated than we’d anticipated and it actually took a second trip with more paperwork than we had with us the first time. We had to present our passports with the paper we’d filled out as part of our immigration process along with a copy of the passport of the man who owns the apartment where we were staying and a letter from him (notarized) giving us permission to stay there. That’s what I remember. Maybe there was more.
Essentially when anyone moves around in Russia, they have to register in the place they move to if they stay there for more than three days. This is not just for foreigners who visit; it is for everyone. I think if I lived in Russia this rule would tend to make me plan my travel so I didn’t actually stay anywhere more than three days unless I stayed significantly longer.
This is a great example of a thing that I would not think of having to do unless someone told me it was necessary because it’s not something I’ve had to do before. Mark and Charlene were telling us of a conversation they’d had with a bank employee in Ulan Ude in which Mark was asked where he was registered in the States and he had to explain that we don’t do that in the U.S. Just like I would not think of needing to register since I don’t do that where I live, this man would expect that everyone has to register their movements since that’s what he’d known all of his life.
When we went through Passport control on the way out of Russia, they collected the paper with the registration indicated on it as proof that we had, indeed, registered our stay as required.