Saturday, 26 March 2016

Visa hassles

Mark and I picked up the car from Stewie’s last Thursday and while we didn’t drive it very far, Mark made the comment “I think we've run out of things we could do to the car!”.  The car, apart from a final pack, is ready to go.  We will go for one more drive before we call it ready.
The major work is now applying for visas for some of the countries we are going to visit.  We haven’t been able to do this until now as we had to wait for ‘invitations’ which the ERA have organised for us.  Now we have invites for China, Mongolia and Russia so the paperwork fun has started. 
The Mongolian one looks the simplest so we’ve left that to last and started with the Chinese one. First visit to the consulate, in Sydney, didn’t go well last week. We went to the wrong office – it didn’t deal with visas.  We were re-directed to one in the city, and our 2nd try involved taking a number and waiting. After about 45 minutes I was called up and a lady took all the paper work. Hopefully Mary will be able to pick them up next Tuesday while Mark and I go for a final test drive.  
If the Chinese visas happen as scheduled, Mary will then high-tail it across to the Russian consulate  at Woollhara and apply for Russian visas. Applying for a Russian visa is done by filling in a form online, submitting it to them, then printing it to send in with your passport.  The online quiz asks a lot of questions not normally asked. Names and contacts for last 2 employers, full itinerary with hotels but best of all, every country you have been to in the last 10 years and for us, that’s a lot.  Besides all the countries we did on London and Cape Town and Sydney to London, both Mark and I have been going lots of places in between times.
This is page 3 of the Russian visa application. There were 45 additional entries on a separate sheet to cover 10 years of travel.

So this week should see the car ready once and for all, visas starting to come in and the carnet submitted.  The Carnet is like a passport for the car.  It’s done via the NRMA in conjunction with the RAA who have reciprocal deals with motoring organisations in the other countries.  At least we don’t have to go to multiple organisations for that one.

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