We have already taken for granted the simplicity of acquiring a long-term visa from the majority of European Consulates and have easily forgotten how, 10 years ago, we used to wait at least three months even for the possibility to apply for an Italian visa for 1 week of vacation in the high season. But we do still remember the feeling of humiliation, a permanent companion to any red tape process in Russia, while carefully completing an application form.
My recent visa application experience proved that today, the process of getting an Italian visa is more like a visit to a contemporary art museum. A building with huge minimalist light fixtures, big windows (come by sunset – they say the view at sunset is truly amazing) and Kievsky mall location. Not to mention the charming café at the entrance, the mannequins wearing chic couture from adjacent TSUM, the shoes of Aleksandersiradekian artistically positioned (you can even try the most attractive pair), free Internet access and nice waiting area (you do have even vip-zone – in case you desire to drink a cup of coffee), parking spaces for 50 rubles/hour and, instead of the stereotypical Italian imagery of pizza, pasta and Sanremo of the 80s, you get the eye-popping homage to Russian contemporary art from a private collection (the wife of the CEO is one of the most well-grounded people in contemporary art here in Moscow). Don’t miss the brave installation on drug control by Alexandra Galkina and the collection of art chairs – all different, arty and expensive. All the materials for interior decoration were brought from Italy with money as no object. In all, it is far from the experience that visa application process is normally associated with by most Russians. It is impossible to feel stressed or to find yourself humiliated here— everybody is nice, helpful and smiling. It was so unexpected, I decided to learn more about the company, Visa Management Service.
Why process your visa here? It is rare to find a document application service with such a personal touch. «After some age you just want to be very proud of what you do in life» says Nicola Mavica, the CEO of the Visa Management Service, a company which currently operates 30 Italian Visa Centers and 34 Estonian Visa Centers in Russia and other countries. The icing on the cake is the 8000 square meters of space on the upper floor of Eataly with the best bread in the city, delicious pizza, fresh oysters and nice cafés where it is easy to forget about the purpose of your visit.
The good news is VMS has won the tender for German visa services in Iran, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, as well as Turkey and Ukraine, and has become one of the major supplier of German visas in the world. They also plan to expand with 20 offices into Russia, the United Kingdom and Belarus. The German Visa Center in Moscow will open its doors in February, 2019 alongside its Italian counterpart.
With the VMS services, your unforgettable trip begins even before you leave Moscow!