Exit Fees from Russia
(Hastings Nebraska USA)
I have a pen pal from Tver, Russia who had a trip all planned out, including airline tickets. Anyway, she said she couldn't come because there is a $1240 exit customs fee just to make sure she didn't decide to stay here in the USA when she got here.
I know there is a fee to enter Russia but I didn't know there was one to exit.
Was she just making an excuse to not show up?
She also wanted to know if I could send her the difference which was $640 really starting to sound like a scam or at least an excuse not to travel.
Bob's Answer: Hi Kenneth, thanks for writing. There is no such thing as a "customs exit fee" imposed by Russia as you explain. There isn't even an entrance fee for Russians. And the only thing close to an "entrance fee" is the price for a non-Russian to obtain a tourist visa to enter Russia (less than $200).
This is DEFINITELY a Russian dating scam! You will never meet this woman, and if you do, it will be because you traveled to Russia to meet her, and there you will be scammed out of as much money as she can get.
Besides the fact that this Russian woman is obviously lying to you about the "exit fee", the reality is that she almost surely does not have a visa to enter the U.S. It's actually the U.S. who is more concerned that such visitors would not return home, and to solve that problem they simply refuse visas to high-risk people, like single Russian women.
I know what your gut will probably tell you... "Get her to PROVE her story by sending scans of her airline tickets, passport, etc." Don't bother. A sincere Russian woman would be so offended by this demand that you would never hear from her again, and a Russian scammer will actually cooperate with your tests and pass them with flying colors. That's right... A Russian scammer probably already has scans of fake passport and airplane tickets ready to send to suspicious victims.
Whenever I get things like this, I mess with them. I AGREE to send them money via Western Union or Money Gram, and I send them a FAKE claim number. Hey, fair is fair... if they want to try to waste my time, it's only fair that I try to waste theirs!
Fortunately you have stumbled upon my site where one of the most prominent subjects is Russian Dating Scams. Click on that link and read EVERYTHING there and you will forever be insulated from this kind of thing!
Good luck, and feel free to post other questions as the need arises.