Do I have to go to Russia? The jpoc guide to postal relationships with women from russia and other eastern european nations.

This depends very much on your home country and circumstances.

If you live in the US, you will need to provide proof of having met when you apply for a fiancee visa. In Germany, I was not asked to provide this proof but then again, we did walk into the German consulate in St.Petersburg together and Maria had previously been granted a tourist visa to come to Germany at my invitation.

In general, in most countries, a fiancee visa will not be granted without the couple having met unless there are strong cultural reasons for this. It is normal in some societies for a man and woman to marry through an arranged match without their having met before. These customs are normally respected but they will not apply in the case of a man from the Western world wanting to marry a woman from Russia.

That should answer the unwritten part of the question. Unless your cultural rules forbid it, you must meet in person before you receive a fiancee visa.

If, for some reason, you are unable to visit your girlfriend's home country, then you will have to consider an alternative destination which will allow tourist entry to you both.

Note, I said tourist entry not visa free entry. For example, Bulgaria will grant a tourist visa to a Russian visitor on demand and at the point of entry as long as a few simple formalities are met.

The world's visa rules are subjet to frequent change and I will not attempt to give a list of all of the possibilities here. However you should certainly consider Jamaica, Bulgaria, Turkey or Thailand. These are all tourist destinations which are subject to few visa restrictions. Note that one or both of you may need a visa but they will be straightforward to obtain.

OK, as long as you are prepared to traevl to a country such as those above, it is possible to satisfy the meeting requirements of the fiancee visa rules without travelling to russia or whichever country is your fiancee's homeland. However, I feel that I must issue a warning against this course of action.

You have a much better chance of getting to know your fiancee if you spend time together in her country. If you meet on holiday somewhere, you will never get to know each other well enough to be sure about marriage. You will not see your fiancee with her family or with her friends. These things all matter as they will help you to make the right decision for your future.

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