Russian passports for adopted children are valid for five years. If a person was born in Russia, they will not be given a visa to enter Russia on their New Zealand passport, but must enter Russia on their Russian passport. The only exception is if they have gone through the formal process to renounce their Russian citizenship, a process that can only be done once they are adults (over 18) and make this choice themselves. ICANZ does not recommend this, as adopted children as adults typically value their heritage and dual citizenship.
Renewing a Russian passport is a complicated process and takes some time for a child or adult over 14 years; several months is common. Do not make plans for travel to Russia unless you are certain your or your child’s passport will be ready in time. Renewing a passport for a child under 14 years is much quicker, often only a few weeks. NOTE Additional time and cost will face those who have let their Russian passports expire, as Russian citizenship must be confirmed, an additional step.
You must first complete the webservice on-line application form, in Russian language only. The website and all instructions are in Russian, so you will need a translator’s help. This section of the Embassy website does not show up if you change to the English version. The Embassy website provides an example of how to fill out the form on their website, in Russian. Your translator will be able to find this. You will find using www.google.com/translate helpful to get a rough idea of Russian website pages, but this sort of translation is not good enough for submitting a passport application; you need a translator with accurate Russian.
Once the on-line form is received, after a few days, one parent (or the young person themselves if over 18) must make an appointment by email or telephone with the Russian Consul in Wellington, to visit the Consulate in Wellington to submit in person the Passport application. Make an appointment in advance to visit the Embassy by telephone. The lines are busy and you may have to persevere for several days to get through. It is far better to get your translator to also make this appointment as only some of the Consular staff speak English. Or email the Consulate requesting an appointment, and suggesting several possible dates well in advance - up to a month or two in advance is often needed.
When you attend your pre-arranged meeting at the Russian Consulate in Wellington, you must take
- 3 copies of the on-line form, with the application number issued when you submitted it online, printed double sided, signed,
- all the original Russian adoption documents including the expiring Russian passport, NZ Citizenship Certificate, NZ passport, plus as the parent of a Russian child, your own NZ passport as identification,
- Photos - not needed, as they will be taken at the Consulate. If it is a child's renewal, check whether the child must attend the interview to have photos taken.
- the current fee in cash or bank cheque. These requirements may change; please check the Russian Embassy website and confirm when you make your appointment.
The appointment itself will only take 10-15 minutes if everything is in order, but sometimes there are long delays and a queue, so allow an hour or two. You'll be given an on-line tracking number for a website tracking system. It's in Russian, but use google translator to track the progress of the passport.
The passport will be sent to you by courier once it has been processed if you supply a pre-addressed return courier envelope (record tracking number).
Applications for children over 14 and for adults (over 18) must be sent to Russia. These applications are only sent off every couple of months, so naturally the process takes time - 3 months is a minimum you should expect, but some have been 5 months. Add this to the time taken to get a translator to fill in the form, get an appointment, and you'll see why it's unwise to book travel until you have the passport.
Once documentation has been approved in Russia and the Russian Embassy in Wellington notified, there is still some processing to be done here before the passport is available for pick up.
NOTE: in order to renew a passport, the child or young person must also be registered with the Russian Embassy. This has been a known requirement for all adopted children since March 2000. If you adopted your child before March 2000, you may not have known to do this and you need to do this now. It can be easily done by using courier post - enclose a bank cheque (50 NZD for each form), the child’s Russian passport, the child’s original post adoption birth certificate listing you as parents, original certificate of adoption, certified copies of your own passports as the adoptive parents, 2 passport-sized photos of the child and a pre-paid courier envelope with your address. The form for this is on the Russian Embassy’s website, in English.
This information is provided in an attempt to help you renew your or your child’s passport. Requirements can and do change. This document is not official information and does not replace information given on passport renewal procedure on the Russian Embassy website (in Russian) Use www.google.com/translate for an approximate translation.