The government has asked Moscow not to repeat what it said was negligence in directing Taiwanese to apply for Russian visas at a Russian consulate or embassy in China, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said yesterday.
“Although there were just a few cases, we hope that it will not happen again,” Lee Rem-loong (李仁隆), deputy director-general of the Department of West Asian and African Affairs, told a regular news briefing.
There have been several recent cases of Taiwanese being told in their letters of invitation to collect their Russian visa in Shanghai, Beijing or Chongqing, Lee said.
All Taiwanese wanting to travel to Russia require a letter of invitation certified by a licensed Russian organization to obtain a visa, in which the Russian Federal Migration Service specifies the city where the applicant can pick up their visa.
The ministry expressed concern about the situation to Russia last week via the Representative Office in Moscow for the Taipei-Moscow Economic and Cultural Coordination Commission, Lee said, adding that the ministry has not heard back.
A visa application may be denied by the Representative Office in Taipei for the Moscow-Taipei Coordination Commission on Economic and Cultural Cooperation if the letter of invitation says the bearer must apply to a Russian consulate in China, Lee said.
The ministry advised travelers to check their invitations before applying for a visa.
Lee attributed the problem to Russia’s vast size and a possible lack of geographical knowledge on the part of migration service officers in remote cities, but dismissed the possibility that China was behind the incidents or that they reflected a change in Russia’s cross-strait policy.