2 Filipinos in trouble with Russian gov’t for visa violations
MANILA, Philippines —A Filipino may face possible criminal charges after he was caught allegedly carrying an altered visa in Russia while another was barred from exiting the transcontinental country after she violated the terms of her e-visa.
Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta disclosed this in separate social media posts, which were also shared by the embassy’s official Facebook account on Thursday.
According to the embassy, a Filipino man had been initially detained and is now under investigation for violations of Russia’s criminal code that carry a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.
Citing initial information, the embassy said the Filipino had allegedly paid a large amount for his altered visa with the help of another Filipino and a Russian national.
“The Philippine Embassy had immediately made representations with the concerned Russian court to allow the Embassy to take custody of the accused Filipino while under investigation. The Court allowed the Embassy to take custody under strict conditions of confinement,” the embassy said.
The Filipino is currently staying at the embassy shelter, it added.
“The Embassy hopes to continue having custody of the Filipino if formal charges are filed and while facing trial,” the embassy further said.
Sorreta, meanwhile, appealed to Filipinos not to violate Russian laws in their desire to stay or travel to Russia.
EMBASSY WARNING: USE OF ALTERED VISAS CAN LEAD TO CRIMINAL CHARGES, IMPRISONMENT. The Philippine Embassy is currently…ADVERTISEMENT
“We also once again call on Filipinos to stop exploiting and victimizing their fellow Filipinos,” he added.
He further warned Filipinos that using a fake or altered visa “is a serious criminal offense” as he admitted that it had been “difficult to portray Filipinos who knowingly purchase such visas as innocent victims under Russian law.”
The embassy said it has repeatedly advised Filipinos in Russia or planning to work in Russia not to use illegal visa agents to acquire fake travel documents.
‘Violated terms of e-visa’
Meanwhile, a Filipino woman violated the terms of her e-visa and was not allowed to exit Russia, the embassy said.
“The Filipino is currently at the Embassy Shelter while Embassy personnel are working on her case,” the embassy said.
According to the embassy, the Filipino entered Russia through St. Petersburg using an e-visa, which allowed her to enter and exit only through the same city.
However, she proceeded to Moscow and was detained when she tried to exit through one of the airports in Moscow instead of complying with the terms of the e-visa.
Sorreta reminded Filipinos to observe strict limitations of the e-visa saying that the new e-visa system would allow for greater people-to-people contact and increase understanding between the two countries.
“We would like to ask everyone who will avail of the Russian e-visa to fully understand that there are strict limitations that must be followed. E-visas are city specific and exclude all other parts of Russia,” he said.
Filipinos interested in visiting Russia on an e-Visa should carefully examine all conditions under it, he added. /jpv
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