Document Dilemma:

Travel Across Region Brings Legal Ordeal or Costly Risks

 
What’s Available on the Dark Side PDF Print E-mail
Written by OCCRP   
Saturday, 28 November 2009 13:20
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Milorad Lukovic, also known as Milorad Ulemek, but popularly known as the mobster "Legija (the legionnaire)" is shown in a diplomatic passport from the Serbian government of Slobodan Milosevic.
Investigations across the region by reporters with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) have turned up many ways to bend or break the law in obtaining identity documents, as opposed to using the regular legal procedures.

Here are just a few of their findings:

• In Moldova, those who desire a Schengen visa may arrange it for €2,000 and just supply a passport and an ID card, and one company said its representatives take care of all other necessary documents, and solve visa problems through the Kiev consulate. They even teach applicants how to answer interview questions at the consulate.

• In Russia, where the Federal Migration Service says 9,902 people in the country were revealed to have forged documents in the first 10 months of 2009, compared to 6,475 in all of 2008, a six-month business multi-visa to Germany is available from one country for €900. No visit to the embassy is entailed. The official visa, which would require many other documents and at least one visit to an embassy, would be €35-€60.

• In Serbia, visas to some EU countries (France, Germany, Sweden) are available, said one employee, through someone “who works at the embassy, someone who can also arrange to pull back” a rejected passport before it gets the black stamp.

• In Macedonia, a visa to Norway costs €1,700 and visas to the USA and Canada up to €8,000, but there is no guarantee they are authentic.

• In Bulgaria, agencies offer forged certificates to prove Bulgarian ancestry for someone seeking Bulgarian citizenship.

• In Bosnia and Herzegovina, where residents cannot look forward to visa-free travel soon, one company offered to make a caller a member of a board to qualify for a visa.

• In Ukraine, a representative said the one company’s €242 package carried a 99.9 percent guarantee of getting a visa to the UK for someone who had been denied before, and would offer a coaching session on how to act at the visa application center and an escort to take the client to the entrance.