The Next Step. Traveling to Russia
Visas and Immigration
Are your all services free?
Membership is free, and so is sending messages and smiles, and viewing people’s profiles. However, you will be charged for opening women’s letters after you write to them for the first time. We also have additional paid services like setting up interpreted phone calls or delivering gifts/flowers to ladies.
How can I purchase credits?
You can pay online with a credit card, which is the quickest way to purchase credits. We accept Visa (with the exception of Visa Electron), MasterCard, American Express and Discover. There are also other options available.
What is the credit conversion rate?
This depends on the amount you buy:
100 credits or more: $1 per 1 credit
55-99 credits: $1.09 per 1 credit
20-54 credits: $2 per 1 credit
What will show up on my credit card statement?
The name of our parent company, "1st International Marriage Network".
The cost of correspondence is different for each woman, why is that?
The cost depends on the woman’s popularity, her English skills and whether she has private Internet access, and can vary from 0.5 to 20 credits per letter. Once you have opened the first paid letter from a woman, all her subsequent letters will cost the same amount you paid the first time.
How do I contact someone directly?
If you want to get a lady’s direct contact details, you will first need to fill out the IMBRA form, if you haven’t done that already (this concerns US citizens only). After that, there are two options. The first one (recommended) is to open 15 (fifteen) paid messages from the lady (the messages that you open before writing to a lady for the first time are free and don't count); at this point you have the right to request her contact details (or your money back, if for some unlikely reason they cannot be provided). To do this, go to her profile and click the button that says "Send contact info request". The other way is to pay a $50 fee, whereupon we will contact the lady and ask her permission to send you her contact details, but note that this money will not be refunded even if the lady refuses to disclose her contact info. Therefore you should make sure you have her consent before you proceed; if you haven't opened at least one paid message from the woman, you cannot apply for this option. Please note that exchanging personal contact information through our messaging system is not allowed, even if you do have 15 opened messages from a lady; if you want to exchange such information with a lady, contact us.
We do not allow contact between members outside our website before they have officially exchanged contact information. Outside contact includes our competitor websites, social network websites, skype, etc. Outside contact violates our Terms and Conditions and may violate the IMBRA law, which may in turn jeopardize a lady's chance to get a US visa in the future and men's chance to sponsor a K-1 visa. It also opens possibilities for fraud. We do not allow our ladies to contact men outside the website, or to respond to men's attempts to circumvent our rules. If you are contacted outside our website by someone claiming to be a lady from the website, please be cautious as this could be a scam attempt. All of the above applies only until you have officially exchanged contact information. After the contact exchange you are free to communicate without our involvement.
What do I find in Requested Contacts?
The Requested Contacts page (which can be accessed from the Member Menu) lists the women whose contact details you have requested. The contact details will appear there once your request has been processed.
What is the Friend List?
Pretty much what it is on any social network or similar website. It is a list of the people that you feel a mutual interest in, or mutual affection for. You can add people to your Friend List by going to their profile and clicking “Friend Member”, but they won’t actually appear on the list unless they add you in turn. You can remove people from the Friend List from your Communicator. The only practical advantage that being someone’s friend offers is being able to view their private pictures without requesting access.
What is trust level?
The trust level is a credibility rating given to a female profile by our staff. A staff member can rate a profile on one or more of multiple scales: passport scans, live meeting, phone conversation, video, correspondence. Some are rated according to the staff member's own judgement (such as passport scans or phone calls), and others (like correspondence or meetings) according to the feedback we receive from our male members. Combined, these ratings make up the trust level. Each category carries different weight (e.g., feedback on a meeting is more important than the passport scan); the exact formula is complex and classified, so it cannot be used to artificially raise the trust level. A trust level of 100% means that we have received definitive proof that the woman behind the profile is a real person, and all her communications originate from herself. This doesn't mean, of course, that anyone with less than 100% is automatically fake or dishonest, although you should be wary of profiles with a trust level of 40% or less. Note that the absence of a trust level is not the same as a low trust level. A female profile doesn't have a trust level by default and may never get one, unless it gives us a reason to rate it.
How can I view a lady’s private pictures or give her access to mine?
When you try to view somebody’s private photos, you will see a window that will require you to enter a password or request access. Click “Submit Request”. If access is granted, you will be able to see the member’s private photos. If you want to grant someone access to your pictures, they’ll need to send a request in the same way, and you can then grant them access from the Communicator.
Can I talk to a lady on the phone?
Yes, you can. You’ll need to contact us at least 24 hours in advance and tell us who you want to talk to, and at what time (have both your and the lady’s nicknames or ID numbers ready). If the lady agrees, our interpreter will call you at the scheduled time and connect you to the lady while staying on the line. This service costs 1.8 credits per minute (1 credit per minute w/o translation), so make sure you have some credits on your account before ordering a phone call.
Can I videochat with my lady?
Yes, you can order an interpreted videocall. You can make your request by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (USA toll-free: 1-866-Y-SINGLE (1-866-974-6453), UK: +44 (0) 2030261229). The price for videochatting with the lady is 2.5 credits per minute. The minimum call duration is 10 minutes, which means that the system will charge your account for the first 10 minutes automatically when you start talking to the lady. Please make sure you have enough credits on your profile account before starting the videochat. We need time to contact the lady’s local agency, or the lady herself, and make sure she will be available at the desired time therefore the videocall should be ordered in advance. Please note that exchanging personal contact information during your videocall will not be allowed.
How do I know those women are real?
Most of the profiles are submitted by our partner dating agencies and are not approved without passport details, so you can be sure that the majority of the women are who they say they are. However, due to the huge number of profiles, it is impossible to ensure that everyone provides accurate information about themselves, and, of course, we cannot know other people’s true intentions. We do have a guide for spotting scammers, and we urge our clients to report any suspicious cases to us.
Has your website actually helped someone find a wife?
Yes, it has. Feel free to read their testimonials.
Why haven’t you answered my email?
We try to answer all emails within 24 hours. If you haven’t received a response, make sure to check your Junk/Spam folder. If you can’t find our reply there, contact us by phone or in the chat.
I can’t seem to send a message, why is that?
It’s either because your profile is in Approval/Suspended/Rejected mode, or because you have more than one unopened letter from the member you are writing to. If you have deleted unopened mail, please contact us.
I’m receiving too many letters, how do I stop that?
Put your profile in Invisible mode. When your profile is Invisible, only the people you have already contacted before can write to you.
Why was my profile rejected?
If your profile has been rejected, it must have violated our rules or seemed suspicious to the moderator. There are several things you can do to ensure your profile is not rejected next time:
- Post a picture. It must be a picture of yourself, with your face clearly visible. No nudity or private contact information on photos is allowed.
- Write a longer description. A profile with no description (or a meaningless or obscene one) will most likely be rejected.
- Enter your private contact information (such as email address, phone number) only in the fields specifically provided for it.
- If you are currently located outside the country you chose from the list as your home country, please indicate that in your description.
- Provide your phone number.
The Next Step. Traveling to Russia.
Is it safe in Russia/Ukraine?
Pretty safe, as long as you are not careless (in which case you are not safe anywhere). Just abide by the basic safety rules, don’t advertise the fact that you are a foreigner and have a reliable local companion at your side, if possible. It is a good idea to have the woman you are visiting pick you up at the airport and show you around.
Can I bring my laptop to Russia?
There are no legal restrictions on bringing your laptop across the Russian border, but you may need a simple adaptor to be able to use it. Standard voltage in Russia and all other European countries is 220 volts (as opposed to 110 in the USA), but laptop chargers are usually able to take in any voltage between 110 and 250 volts. The acceptable voltage should be printed on the charger, so make sure to check it before trying to use your laptop! However, even if your laptop can take 220 volts, you still need a simple adaptor, because the Russian electrical outlet has 2 round sockets, while the American plug has 2 flat prongs. You can buy the requisite adapter at $1-$3 at many places, such as RadioShack, Sears, or even your local WalMart. Network and phone connectors are the same as in US. All of this applies to all other countries of the CIS.
How can I connect to the Internet in Russia?
If you are staying in an expensive hotel in a large city, they may have Wi-Fi connection. If they don’t, there are plenty of Internet cafes in almost every city of the former USSR. The fee is usually about $1 per hour. If you want to go online from your own laptop, it may be more difficult. Unfortunately, no CIS country has a nation-wide dial-up Internet provider, like AOL in the US, so you would have to use a local provider (it would be a good idea to find one on the Internet before your trip). You’ll probably have to prepay your Internet access in cash, because local providers normally do not accept credit cards. The rate is usually $0.50-$1.00 per hour. You could also take your laptop to the nearest Internet cafe and ask the staff to connect it to the Internet. They are always willing to do so at a regular hourly rate.
Will my radio/CD player/ other electronics work in Russia?
Yes, but you’ll need an AC adaptor. Standard voltage in Russia and all other European countries is 220 volts (it is 110 in USA). This means you will require a step down transformer (an adaptor that changes voltage) for electric devices other than a laptop. Those can be bought at Sears or Radioshack at $20-$30.
Will my cell phone work in Russia?
It depends on your provider. All European providers use the GSM standard, so if you are from a European country, your phone will work fine in Russia. However, you should expect premium roaming charges, so please check with your provider. They may have a calling plan that covers Russia so you won't incur roaming charges.
American providers such as Verizon, AT&T and Sprint use the older CDMA standard. Those phones WILL NOT work in Russia at all. On the other hand, T-Mobile and Cingular use the more widely accepted GSM standard and will work in Russia. The most widely used frequency in Russia is GSM 1800. Most GSM phones available on the US market can operate on this frequency. In some places in Russia you may encounter coverage by the older GSM 900 standard. To get a signal in these locations, you have to have a phone that supports this frequency. To find out what frequencies your phone can operate on, consult your phone manual or call your wireless service provider.
With providers like T-Mobile and Cingular, your roaming charges in Russia will be high (about $1.50 per minute). When calling a Russian number in Russia from your US cell phone, you will also incur international long distance charges. But there is another way. You can buy a SIM card in Russia and insert it into your US phone. The SIM card comes with a unique Russian cell phone number, and if you buy it in your destination city, you will get the local calling rates. SIM cards are sold at every wireless store and cost about $5. There is a catch, though. To prevent their customers from switching to a competitor, T-Mobile and Cingular "lock" their customers’ phones so that a SIM card from a different provider cannot be used. To use a Russian SIM card you’ll have to "unlock" the phone. You can find such a service locally (usually in cell phone repair shops) or on eBay.
Russian cell phone providers offer prepaid services only. Local calls cost 5 to 15 cents a minute, long distance calls are 15-80 cents a minute. International calls can be as expensive as $3 per minute. Calls made from 9 PM to 6 AM are about twice cheaper than daytime calls. You can prepay any amount at a wireless store or bank, or a terminal in many stores.
There are several cellular service providers in Russia, and while we would not want to advertise any single one of them, MTS is probably the best for a foreign visitor. While not the cheapest, it has the best coverage and offices everywhere. Besides, it also operates in Ukraine and other CIS countries.
How do I call Russia and other CIS countries?
Usually, you need to dial 011 if you are in the US; next the country code, then the area code and phone number. The country code is 7 for Russia, 380 for Ukraine, 375 for Belarus . If you dial directly from your phone without using a calling card or signing up for a special international call discount program with your long distance provider, the rate may be very high ($2 per minute or even higher).
Remember, if you get stuck, you can always call our bilingual operator toll-free 1-866-974-6453 and have her dial the number for you. She will stay online and interpret your conversation if necessary.
Visas and Immigration
How long does it take to get a visa to Russia or Ukraine?
If you have a passport that does not expire for at least six months from the final day of your stay, we will fax you the invitation you need to apply for a Russian visa within 1-2 business days. You will then need to mail this invitation, along with your passport, consulate fee and 2 passport-sized photos, to the Russian Consulate responsible for your region. Visa processing to Russia takes about 2 weeks, but for an extra charge you can have it ready on the same day you apply. Factor in the mailing time. They accept express delivery, including FedEx the next day, and can send you the paperwork back the same way if you include a prepaid waybill. You can go in person to a Russian Consulate in New York, San Francisco or Seattle and get the visa the same day. It will cost around $300. Processing time is similar for a Ukrainian visa. Note that the citizens of many states do not require a visa to visit Ukraine; see the list here.
How do I bring my future wife to my home country, and how much will it cost?
What follows concerns only the United States. Other Western countries have similar immigration laws, so if you live outside the US, you can use the information as a guideline.
IMPORTANT: Never send money to people you haven’t met in person, and even if you have met them, think twice. Internet scams are common these days, including various visa and ticket scenarios, where a woman claims that she needs money for her visa/plane ticket. 99% of such claims are fake. If a woman asks you for money, please consult us before you send it.
Bringing a woman you haven’t met in person to the United States is nearly impossible, since her chances of getting a "tourist" or "guest" visa to the US are very slim. Your best best is to apply for her "K" (fiancée) visa. You’ll be required to produce proof of having met the lady in person (pictures of the two of you together, tickets, etc). Usually, the man travels to the lady’s country to meet her there. Some of our clients choose to meet in a third country, like Cyprus or the Dominican Republic, that Russian citizens can enter without a visa. It doesn’t make any difference as far as applying for a K visa is concerned, but it makes you vulnerable to possible scams, as you will probably be expected to pay for her ticket.
After meeting the lady you will need to file a petition with the USCIS, known as form I-129F. You’ll need to file the petition with the USCIS office that has jurisdiction over your state. On average, it takes about 6 months for the USCIS to approve it. The current fee is $455. After the petition is approved, you mail it to the lady and she takes it to the US Consulate in her home country and applies for the visa. Combine the USCIS fee, postage, visa processing fee, and you get about $650 for that step. Contrary to tourist visas to the US that are notoriously hard to get, K visas are usually granted without a problem, provided that the paperwork is in order, the woman does not have a criminal record, and neither of you has violated any Immigration law provisions in the past (i.e. overstayed a prior K visa). If one of you has applied for a K visa in the past, it may serve as a ground for the denial of the current application.
You will most likely have to pay for her plane ticket. You do not have to travel to her country again to accompany her, but it would be a nice gesture, provided that you can afford it. A one way ticket will set you back around $600-$900. If you decide to accompany her, your two-way airfare could be anywhere between $1000 and $1800, depending on the season and how early in advance you buy your ticket.
Once she arrives, she has 90 days to marry you; if you haven’t married by the end of that term, she’ll have to leave the country (in that case, you may be obligated to pay for her return ticket).
When you do get married, you will need to apply for a permanent resident status for her. There is a special form for that, and an application fee. When you get to that point, you can give us a call. This is going to cost about $1000 in fees and required medical tests, if you fill out the forms by yourself.
You should not have any problems with most of the immigration forms, but in certain matters you may require the assistance of an immigration attorney. While our company does not have its own immigration attorney, we can recommend one who is very competent and consults us on a regular basis. His name is Gary Bala, his phone number is (610) 446-VISA. You can email him at garybala@VISA-Attorney.com
How long does it take for a Russian woman to be issued a US visa?
Two weeks from the day she files her application, if there are no complications. US Consulates don’t offer any kind of expedited service, so the waiting times are the same for everybody.
What if a marry a woman in her home country?
You can do that, but in that case she will have to wait for her permanent residency papers in her home country, and not in the US with you. The process is lengthy (up to 6 months), so you really need to take this into consideration.