I’m seriously into the “What’s in my bag?” posts. Call it nosy, call it a way to discover someone else’s much-loved products, call it what you will… I love it. I’ve never done it in the past because I’m frankly not that interesting and my bag usually resembles an explosion more than a curated collection.

But tomorrow’s my visa interview for what feels like the 10,000th time and I thought it might be interesting for you guys to see what’s in my bag for that. Luckily for you all, I switched out to a larger bag so you can miss out on all the receipts and various detritus that’s usually in there.

The Non-Essentials


Sony tablet (highly recommended!) for those boring down times.

The Visa Essentials

Letter of invitation from my new employer
Visa application (available here since it’s kind of hidden in the Russian Embassy’s website)
Criminal-looking passport photo
Cashier’s check ($250 for a 3-day rush)

So that’s my bag! The visa process is kind of tedious but really not that difficult once you get the hang of it. It’s mostly just a time suck if anything. I’m interested to know about all of you other expats working abroad — what’s the difficulty level of the whole process? I’ve only ever worked in Russia, but I’m thinking of new places to go in the upcoming year and I really have no concept of how other countries’ processes work.