So You Want to Find a Russian Bride?

Most divorced and separated men, usually after a period living alone, reach a stage in their life when they think about starting a new relationship, with a view to settling down again. At that point most will have tried finding a woman by the usual and more often than not 'hit and miss' social contact route, introduced through friends and collections, or chance meeting down the pub, or at the supermarket!

For many the opportunity to meet someone is strictly limited, perhaps through busy work schedule, or there are children to look after from the previous relationship.

Lots of men will try the personal ad route in their local paper, either advertising themselves or responding to ads. Some will 'graduate' to dating agencies and spend time on internet dating sites, trying to meet someone special.

Sooner or later an advert will appear on the computer pointing towards website offering "Beautiful Russian Brides" or similar. Clicking on one of the very many websites available will immediately display a range of stunning looking ladies, often working as lawyer, doctor, dentist or simply well-qualified professional.

At this point I need to own up that the previous scenario describes my own personal situation perfectly. Through benefit of experience, both good and bad, I am going to point out some of the pitfalls and traps of embarking on finding a wife from the former Soviet Union countries.

The first thing to remember is that there are a lot of highly skilled and practiced 'scammers' to be extremely wary of. Most of the dating agencies providing the service will ask for payment up-front to allow you to contact some of their clients. It is worth asking for references from other users before making any payment.

Once you have access to the site and start making contact, you still need to be aware that many are 'honey-traps' set for you to fall into. Some of the ladies will not be 'real', insofar as photos of a beautiful young lady will be displayed on the screen, behind which will lurk a scammer, usually with reasonable grass of English, waiting to lure you into the trap.

The best way to avoid this pitfall is to stretch out the communication and wait for the moment when the subject of money will arrise. When it does, the chances are you are being set up. You will probably be asked to send money by cash transfer to pay for: air fare to meet you; urgent medical treatment for your virtual date or their family, or money for a range of other reasons. My advice to you is to be careful, as you may be about to get scammed.

By trial and error, the chances are you will always meet someone on the net that will not ask you for money, which is a good, positive sign that they are likely to be genuine.

Finding a lady from former Soviet Union is always going to pose a risk. At some point you will feel positive about the lady you have met and you will want to meet her. This will usually require a significant investment in time and money. Obtaining a visa is an onerous task and can be time-consuming for some states. Make sure you do not book your flight until you receive your visa. If it's delayed for any reason you will probably lose the price of the air fare.

Hotels can be very expensive, especially in Moscow. It may be worth arranging to rent an apartment instead of paying for hotel.

Make sure your first trip to meet is not for too long. Book your trip for just a few days, or maximum of one week. If you do not hit it off then spending two-weeks on your own may leave you wishing you had not booked your trip for more than a few days!

The first meeting can be an extension of the honey-trap. I have spoken to people that have flown to Moscow and been fleeced by a woman that has conned them into asked going on expensive shopping trips, and for dinner at extortionately priced restaurants. If this happens to you then you need to spot the 'writing on the wall' and make your retreat as best you can.

I met my wife in Tashkent in Uzbekistan, which is a particularly repugnant, dictatorial, police state. The people are very friendly, generous and kind, but the administration is particularly difficult for westerner to tolerate and it can be quite scary! Make sure you do your homework on the country where you plan to travel before you decide to apply for the visa.

Assuming that you meet the woman of your dreams and you feel you are a good match, the natural conclusion will be that you will want her to come and live with you. This is where things really do start to get difficult. Obtaining visa is a minefield.

Many men are surprised to find out that you can not simply marry abroad and bring their new wife home, to both live happily ever-after!

The easiest and cheapest option is to apply for a tourist visa. This will require your lady to have evidence of income such as bank statements etc. As embassies are so low in Soviet countries this may prove very difficult to get, or be sufficient to satisfy the Embassy, ​​which will jeopardize chance of getting a tourist visa.

It is possible to get a 'fiancée' visa. In the UK this will allow you to bring your lady to the UK and give you a chance to get to know each other before tying the knot. To obtain a 'fiancée' visa you will need to ensure you have kept full records of all your telephone and email contact, evidence of visits such as flight tickets, photos, room bookings. It is illegally that you will get a 'fiancée' visa unless you have met previously.

You should not expect much assistance from Embassy staff. It is their job to make life as difficult as possible for you! Remember they can refuse your visa application for myriad of reasons, so ensure you do your research on what is required to avoid disappointment.

If you can overcome all the bureaucratic obstacles and historically manage to get your lady back home to your country and marry, like me you will not regret the difficulties endured dealing with seemingly implacable Embassy staff and Government Agencies.