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Stories From The Field

This is a section for real entrepreneurs running real business in Moldova to share their experience, frustrations, lessons and insights with the community at large.

Category contains 27 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Stories From The Field
On Stamps

So here's a topic that will look very familiar to anyone who's lived in the post-Soviet space but seem totally nuts to everyone else. Stamps - what are they for? Well in Moldova the answer is "literally everything." I first came in contact with this when I went to Kazakhstan as an English teacher and my packing list included "stamps for grading papers." My first thought was "I thought I was going to be teaching high school - why do I need smiley face stamps?!" The reasoning is because no matter how silly looking the stamp they make things "look official."

To understand this you need a little background on how things become "official" here vs. in the states. In America your signature is your bond. Furthermore your word can be your bond in contract law if it is deemed a verbal contract. I am not a lawyer but the gist is that in the US agreements can range from silly-informal to super formal. In Moldova they are always super formal. In theory this is to "control" the process ("control" being a translation from Russian for something like "oversight on steroids") and to prevent fraud and forgery. In practice this is a system of red tape unrivaled by even the darkest fears of government fearing anarchists. It is literally like buying shotguns to kill flies. 

 

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not only is this a real product but you too can be killing flies
with a shotgun for the low price of $39.95. I fucking love America.

 

So we get to stamps here because every legal entity must have one. In order for something to be official it MUST be stamped and signed by the company administrator (post on administrators coming soon). This is not just true of contracts and such but literally EVERYTHING. For a restaurant menu to be official every single page must be stamped with the company stamp. Every one. For a receipt for goods your company buys, say for example onions, you not only need their company's stamp confirming the sale but you also need to stamp it confirming that you purchased it (this is called a "factura fiscal" and will get it's own post later). In order to open a bank account here they needed to print off some ungodly document that actually required 27 stamps (yes I counted). The crazy part? It was an internal document. It wasn't even for us. They stamped it 27 times and put it in a drawer. I imagine that you're beginning to see that this system is a little "troubled."

 

In the interest of keeping this blog constructive and semi-helpful here are a few practical changes in your thinking that need to occur in order to do business here. These are the primary ones as I see them but feel free to add thoughts in the comments.

1.) Never leave the house without the stamp

It is as important as wearing pants so in the interest of sense (and decency) forget neither. That example about buying onions? not made up. You really need the stamp for everything. The question of "who is actually empowered to wield this powerful tool" is something I will write on later. 

2.) Anything can become official with a big enough stamp

Anything. A careful read of my past posts will show that stamps trump almost anything else (top examples are the US Embassy Affidavit in place of a criminal background check for the visa and Appostilles that technically only certify the identity of the signer being taken in Moldova to certify the contents of documents). The problem is that without a stamp things cannot be official here. For a Moldovan SRL this is easy. Follow step 1 and always have the stamp. For an American company needing to do business here (my Virginia LLC) this is a problem. Most officials kinda understand that American company's don't have stamps but they don't really trust it. Partly this is conscious and partly it is subconscious. Either way it is a solvable problem. You just create a stamp for yourself. Here is a picture of the stamp created by our corporate embosser purchased by the nice people at Ideal.

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so beautiful I might cry...

In America this stamp has no legal significance whatsoever (you could empower it but it's all very old school). In Moldova however it turns heads. Not only does it actually emboss the paper instead of a simple ink stamp but take a look how it compares to the plastic Moldovan stamp:

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yes the other items on my desk are a knife, duct tape and a tape measure. I like projects

 

This big metal thing is intimidating here. Think in these terms, as a teacher in a school the grade I give doesn't derive as much authority from the fact that I'm the teacher as it does from the fact that I stamped it with a ---- stamp. Now realize that my company stamp is metal and imprints paper. This is psychological warfare and this stamp is a big big weapon. 

 

3.) Expect this process to cause countless delays and hidden costs 

That first image at the intro to this entry is how official document packets are bound here. There is this fine thread that they tie through and then stamp so that you know it's original. That particular example is our company's operating agreement but they do this for many many things. When we got documents translated they had to be bound by the notary like this. Even xeroxes aren't deemed original without a stamp. You literally need to go to a notary for an "original copy" xerox. I know this is done in the states too at times but here is it constant. Furthermore not everyone has stamping authority so if you need to buy those onions and there's no one there to stamp your receipt you aren't getting one. You'll need to come back on another day. Imagine the delays this causes - not to mention the fees. It's death by a thousand cuts because you need to pay everyone for this. The amounts are typically small but with how constant it is they build up. Oh, and you want to get an original copy of a company document? That's 10 lei for the copy + you need to come back tuesday for a stamped receipt certifying that you purchased the original stamped document. 

 

 

To conclude I'll leave you all with this lovely stamp:

 

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if only absolute athority could be wielded with such mundane items in America... 

 

 

 

Tagged in: Bureaucracy Stamps
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Of LLCs and SRLs Part #2 - Banking and Conclusions

This is Part 2 of the process of introduing a US based LLC as a parent company of a Moldovan SRL. Find Part 1 here.

 

Note: this post is mostly a wordy, if humorous, take on banking and wire transfers in Moldova. If you would like to jump to the recommendations section for Parts 1 & 2 of this post do so here

 

**Update Nov 15: we just finalized all of the papers so this process is over. Once we got through the lower level people to the department director things got much easier. This is in spite of the fact that they royally messed up our paperwork. The director fixed it all himself and was not only professional but extremely pleasant to work with. It's always a wonder when you find someone in the government who really wants to help and make your day easier. Today, at the end of this mess, I have a lot of respect for the State Registration Chamber. Also we discovered that we can in fact have multiple "Administrators" of the company. Post coming soon...

 

Section 4: Wire Transfers and a Note on Banking in Moldova

 

This section is about the process of the wire transfer from the American bank (we use Wells Fargo) to the Moldovan bank (Mobias Bank). I know this seems like a pretty trivial discussion and perhaps even a waste of time, after all wire transfers pretty standard procedures. This is true, however there are enough nuances that it's worth mentioning here. Additionally I'll mention a few notable differences in dealing with banks here vs. in the states. 

Ok, so off we go. 

The first step we did was to go to the bank and ask what we should do. The basic procedure that was presented to us is this:

  1. Initiate the wire transfer from the states. It was mentioned in passing that the money should be indicated for statutory capital in the wire transfer (more info below). 
  2. On reception of the funds in Moldova come to the bank and present it with documents proving the purpose of the money. In this case that purpose is "to increase the statutory capital of the Moldovan SRL" and these documents are decisions by the companies to invest in/be invested in.
  3. Receive from the bank a confirmation of the money transfers reception with a value for the money in MDL (in our case we have a USD account at Mobias Bank so this reflects the amount the money was worth on arrival and will determine any profits/losses the company will incur as a result of currency fluctuations).
  4. Request from the bank a document confirming that the money was received for the purpose of statuatory capital. This is basically a form letter and the silly process of getting it I will mention below. 
  5. Bring these documents to State Registration Chamber so they can enter it into the statutory capital. 

 

So this is what we did with one notable exception. #1 says that we need to indicate that the money is for statutory capital. What they mean by this is writing something in the comments box of the wire transfer form. I forgot to do this and assumed that this is fine because they have ample proof in the form of contracts / us being physically present telling them things. It seemed a little silly that the comments box, used for things like "happy birthday sweetie!" on your Western Union transfers could be such a big thing. You know where this is going...

In fact, this is a very big deal in Moldova. After the received the money and we came in to stamp lots of documents and such they called us back in later in the day to resolve the comments issue. They told us that we need to amend the comments within 36 hours or they would send the money back. We were obviously startled by how serious this seemed to be and asked if something else was possible, maybe more papers from us (after all it IS OUR MONEY) or a call from the bank in the US or literally anything. Nope. It needed to be changed. We explained that wire transfers aren't like facebook wall posts that can be edited after you sober up. They remained adamant that it needed to be done. 

 

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admirable in so many circumstances... of which this is not one

 

So we called up Wells Fargo and (predictably) they said, "ummm the comments box? really?" to which we replied "yes. This is Moldova. If there is literally any tiny spec of a process that does not have bureaucracy in it they will find a way." We asked them if there was anything at all they could do. They responded "I don't know sir. Let me find someone who does and get back to you." Hearing those lines over the phone in Moldova is more refreshing that you can possibly imagine. Our bank here (Mobias), despite charging us an arm and a leg above Wells Fargo on constant fees responds to those questions with "I have no idea." full-stop. Wells Fargo called back and said that transfers can't be changed past 30 min after their departure. We explained to them that this was critical to us. Not only did our money hang in the balance but possibly our visas (the upcoming post on Visa Part II will explain this). They said, "ok sir let me call our wire department and see if we can't figure it out." After the process in Moldova this was literally music to my ears. 

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you get me kid

 

 

It turned out they could somehow. Basically they sent a followup message somehow. Wonderful customer service Wells Fargo.

 

...back to Mobias. A few days after the transfer went through, they called us and asked if we wanted a confirmation from them that the money was in the statutory capital (#5 above). We went into the bank thinking they needed more paperwork from us but she just asked if we want this document. We were like "why do we need it?" She replied "I don't know." Didn't see that coming did you?

 

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eventually rightious anger fades to mild indignation and then just 
bitterness with a faint notion that somewhere things aren't like this...

 

We asked why she called us in then. She said "lots of people get it." We asked "how much does it cost?" She said 200 lei (~$13). We were like "you want us to spend 200 lei on something we may not need for a reason you don't know." She said "well... it could be 60 lei." Not the answer I was looking for (at least it got less expensive I suppose...). 

We called our lawyer and he recommended we get it because more documents is always superior to fewer documents in Moldova (also not the answer I wanted but sadly very true here). As icing on the cake with this exchange the following happened. While she prepared the document she asked us "where did the money come from." We said "our American company." She said (while pointing irritatedly at the wire transfer confirmation form) "where does it say that here? I don't see your company's name at all!!" (a mix of irritation and triumph on her face for finding our "mistake"). I numbly pointed at the form where it has Wells Fargo and the relevant account numbers and such. She was looking unsatisfied so I decided to show her my best "I have no idea how to process this. I did not invent the wire transfer system. Furthermore, you have already exlained that you do this process many many times. What the #*$% are you #*$%ing talking about!!!" face. It looked like this...

 

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oh how you undertand me internet...

 

In a brief summary of other differences between Mobias Bank and Wells Fargo...

 Mobias Bank Wells Fargo 
Hard questions confuse them and get no answer.  Hard questions get the response "let me find someone who can help you with that" 
Mistakes they make are your fault*  Mistakes you make are going to get their full attention and never an accusation (see above wire transfer story 
Their "bank client" for managing your account online a.) does not work b.) can only be installed on Windows XP or earlier c.) looks like it was made in 1993 and d.) doesn't have an installer, opting instead for 2 convenient videos (read huge filesize, available on cd only and without explanation, captioning or sound) explaining hot to manually install the program dlls in the system32 folder. This was literally the first time in my life I was unhappy not to find the README file.  Has wonderful online banking 
Their policies are 100% uncompromising (even if they differ as you talk to different people) You are a customer and your needs are treated with respect. If they can help you, they will. 

 

*At one point this mislabeled a deposit we made to statutory capital - aka they forgot to mark what it was for. They then told us that we made a mistake and that they clearly "thought it was a loan." We said "we have done a loan and you needed a ton of contracts for that too so there's no way that's true." They said, fix it - not my problem.

Final note: In defense of Mobias Bank I can say that the following 2 things are true. 1.) The Moldovan Government has saddled them with a whole lot of silliness to deal with in terms of regulations so this isn't all their fault and 2.) all the other banks here are likely just as bad. That said, I am a customer. I have put a lot of money in your care. At least give me enough respect to realize that I did not either invent the banking system or study it in school. I'm not stupid for not knowing things, especially things that you don't know. So find me the person who does please. 

 

Section 5: Conclusions and Recommendations

 

1.) Just an SRL or SRL / LLC combo?

What do you need? If you need to manage anything more complicated than a company that you form in Moldova with your personal money (aka - no investors, no sale of shares nothing) then you should not deal with the SRL system. Found your company somewhere sane and manage it there with an SRL here to conduct the business. Let me stress here (because I think I forgot to earlier) this is not a tax strategy. You will likely pay more taxes this way because you pay US taxes on top of Moldovan taxes and even if you can fully write off the Moldova taxes (posts about this later when we manage our taxes) US tax rates may be higher than Moldovan taxes if you are talking about an LLC because profits are passed through to the indvidual who are subject to their personal tax rate. This is solely about your sanity. 

2.) Thinking about changing anything about the Moldovan SRL's statutory capital?

Hire a decent lawyer unless it's as easy as selling some shares to your cousin Ivan. Even then, hire a lawyer. 

3.) Apostiles and Documents

In Moldova there is a paradox. More documents is always better than fewer documents. However, whoever is reading your documents believes everything contained therein is their business. Our strategy was therefore find out what happy middle ground would pass muster. That said, because of the time delay involved and in spite of the cost we got Apostiles for MANY MANY more documents than we ultimately needed. $10 more up front is better than $10 + lost time + another $100+ DHL packet later.

4.) Time time time

Allot so much more time than you ever thought would be necessary for literally everything

5.) Wire transfer - check well in advance with both banks to see what is needed

Ideally have the Moldova bank write it down. They probably won't because it gives them deniability later (or they will but without a stamp they can deny it anyways). 

6.) Moldovan Banks - watch everything

Mistakes are your fault and it's your money so don't make them. 

7.) Next time you think about being short-tempered or rude to an American customer service representative don't.

Seriously. You have no idea what a wonderful job they are doing in spite of dealing with people like me (ask any one of my college roommates). Possible exceptions here for the robot (yell away) and anyone who works for Comcast or Verizon who, while possibly being nice people, are in the employ of satanically evil companies and thus forfeit some of their protections under this recommendation. 

8.) Keep your head up. 

Everything in Moldova is far harder than it should be but ultimately solvable. We're doing this because we believe the rewards outweigh the challenges and have some hope for change. You aren't alone being frustrated but just think of how funny this will all be in retrospect? right...?

Tagged in: Banking Bureaucracy LLC SRL
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Posted by on in Stories From The Field
Of LLCs and SRLs Part #1

Note 1: This post is an update to our first post about organizing a company in Moldova. While that post was pretty general and explained our initial reasoning this one will attempt to explain the results of that reasoning over the last few months and a few preliminary recommendations for other entrepreneurs (ok, this got long. Conclusions Recommendations will be in Part 2 [COMING SOON]). We will be writing a further update on this topic later on with more solid recommendations. (small update below)

Note 2: This post is covering quite a lot of experience had over a long period of time. The topic is dense and often technical. Please comment if things are unclear and I will add more information. Also, as usual, please feel free to tell us how stupid we are. Everyone can learn from that. 

 

Jump to... (note to use these section links open up the full version of the post by clicking the title or on "Continue Reading" below)

Section 1
Basic Organization 

Section 2
Selling Shares vs Adding a Founder: 
Section 3
The Necessary Documents for Adding a Founder
Section 4
Notarizations, Apostilles, Translations and DHL 

 

 

So Begins a Tale of SRLs and LLCs...

 

 

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The path to success is almost self evident!

 

 

Section 1: Basic Organization


 

I'll begin where the last post ended which was with a discussion of the process that we decided to embark upon. That was to organize the companies basically as follows:

 

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I'll let you all guess which silhouette represents which manager...

  

So to describe what you're seeing there we founded a Moldovan SRL called "Smoke House SLR" (they refused to believe it was one word and we didn't fight it). Additionally we founded an American LLC called "The Moldova Company LLC" in Virginia. The purpose of the LLC, as described briefly in the previous post, is to escape from some of the more challenging bureaucratic differences between a Moldovan SRL and an American LLC. These all...

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Hard Times Always Reveal True Friends

While I'm not sure who wrote the quote I've used as the title for this entry I'm sure we've all seen it circulate around the internet. In this process of starting a restaurant in Chisinau we have run into roadblocks in the strangest places and more ambiguity than I can quantify. If one were to identify a single thread of anger, disappointment and exasperation that pervades my postings (and much of my work right now) it is ambiguity. In most countries there is an easily understandable lines between what is and what isn't permitted. Furthermore, it is pretty easy to figure out where you will encounter difficulties. If you were opening a restaurant in NYC for instance there are numerous resources that could help you find the information on the startup process you need. In Moldova this is not the case. If I were to sum things up it would be that...

Nothing is easy but everything is possible. 

 

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This is supposed to be inspiring but terrifies me day to day. 

 

Wait, you say - nothing and everything are pretty strong words. Well this all comes from the aforementioned ambiguity. We now know that there are 46 laws governing kitchen construction and equipment. What are they? no idea. I have seen 1 and in 47 pages it manages to say that the windowsills must be slanted so they can't be used as shelves. The others are, to the best of my knowledge, secret. The health department will not share them. There is no "easy 150 step guide." There is no one who has been willing to give us much of a consultation. Kitchens are just one of many many areas like this we have encountered. Ok, we get why nothing is easy but how is everything possible? Because in power vacuums formed by ambiguity in laws a certain type of people thrive. "Fixers," either within the government or without, are how things need to be navigated. This system is effectively putting faith in people with a certain arcane knowledge (and little to no accountability) so it's wise to start educating yourself fast. This is where we have found a number of true friends. Such as... 

Restaurateurs

 

 

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Some are more helpful than others.

 

Yes, other restaurateurs. This class of overworked people, constantly parodied on TV as unable to find time for family gatherings or to lead normal social lives have absolutely opened up their restaurants to us and helped advise and mentor us. It has surprised and overwhelmed me how much they have opened up and helped us. Not one single person has viewed us as potential competition (possibly a critique?) but as someone who will be better for the overall market. If I've learned anything here it's that this business has very little room for bullshit and less in Moldova. If you are running a successful restaurant here you probably understand that more choices are better for the whole market of eating out and that more voices in the restaurant industry will help bring about meaningful reform. Speaking of reform we have some new reform minded friends in...

 

The Government 

 

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source: http://neveryetmelted.com

Did I say the government? I was joking. We have not met anyone sympathetic there (though we are looking and I am an optimist). I meant...

 

MAR

 

MAR (www.mar.md) is the "National Association of Restaurateurs and Entertainers." They are a sector association that is working to promote cooperation between restaurants and to improve the state of the industry as a whole. This includes advocacy work on behalf of the sector and representing the interests of members to the national government. In short, literally a thing of my dreams. We have already received extensive help with contacts to suppliers, advice on the startup process and, critically, help connecting to more restaurateurs who are willing and able to talk to us about the startup process. Just having short informal conversations has been amazingly helpful to understanding how the process works. More importantly it is wonderful to hear someone say "don't worry, it's possible. We can help." This is what friends are for. And we will be remembering these friends when someday we're open and in a position to be helpful to someone else. In a business climate like this it's the only way. 

 

In the meantime, if you're in Chisinau and want to support some really awesome cafes I recommend the following:

Opa Cafe - Excellent Greek food in the center

KIKU Steak and Wine - interested in a small intimate cafe with excellend food and a high class feel? This is your spot

Oky Doky - Real American donuts and bagels. 'Nuff said. 

Trattoria - moderately priced, delicious food and great service by the state university

 

 

 

 

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Applying for a Visa to be an Entrepreneur in Moldova

Update 29/9/14: it seems that Americans (and possibly other countries but I have no idea which) are allowed to apply for 5 year visas instead of just 1. This was conveyed to us by one of the branches of government tasked with approving our visas. We are trying to alter the documents post-submission but are unsure if it will succeed. Stay tuned. 

So if you're not a Moldovan and you're going to try and start a business in Moldova you will need a visa. This is an interesting process and by "interesting" I mean basically horrible. Firstly, here are the top-level requirements:

 

If you are from a country that has visa-free entry to the Republic of Moldova (like America and Most of Europe - a list is provided here but I have no idea if it's up to date)

  1. You can enter Moldova for 90 days without a visa
  2. While in Moldova you cannot work but CAN found a company (but don't forget the rules of foreign ownership)
  3. You must apply for your visa while you still have 30 days left on your visa-free stay
  4. They will evaluate your visa for 30 days. After that you go back to the office and they tell you yes / no

If you require a visa to enter the Republic of Moldova - good luck. I encountered a lot of the paperwork for this process and while it seemed straightforward it's a fair bet that it's anything but. Anyhow, I have no experience with it (if you do please comment below)

 

Ok, so you need a visa. How hard can that be? You're an entrepreneur after all! you have money you want to invest in the economy! you are an engine of change that will help Moldova by employing people and paying taxes! surely they want you to be here.

 

Well actually their attitude is more like...

 

 

 

IEpxyFr

...and you are nothing.  

 

 

Sooo.. our adventure first begins with figuring out the requirements for applying for such a visa. This brings us to the always exciting topic of government IT. Now I know that probably caused anyone in the US with a familiarity with the government to chuckle because we all know things are bad in that sector. Here in Moldova someone once had the intention to build a lot of great websites. They built them in Russian, Romanian and English. Wonderful! So we start at the homepage for the Bureau of Migration. You first notice that whatever language you have selected recent postings to the site are in Romanian. Understood, it's the state language but there are literally no other updates in the past few years. Troubling. So we go to the top to site items - the search bar and the "Questions and Answers" (FAQ) section. The FAQ doesn't exist (in any language) and we don't have privileges on the site to search. Not a good start. 

So you stumble through the menu items for a while to try and find the visa requirements and eventually find the application for the "Temporary residence right for immigrants workers" which helpfully says that it applies to migrant workers, border workers (?) and heads of economic units (me!). I quickly review the list and see that most of it is pretty easy. Some things like proving higher education don't apply to "heads of economic units" and much of the other work is just filing the company's papers. That said, I've been in Moldova a while so I decided to go to the office, helpfully (or comically?) referred to as "One-Stop Shop," to see get a consultation. There a very helpful woman goes through your documents, tells you if they are correct and eventually refers you to the appropriate counter. My documents were not correct. It turns out that that English version of the list online is old. She gave me a new Romanian version which I immediately noticed only had 11 items instead of the previous 14. I explained that I don't speak Romanian and she handed me a Russian copy with has 14 items on it - but they are different from the English copy. Hmmmm. I retreat to my house to look over my documents and figure this out. 

I decided that the best option is to get back on the website and use google translate to translate each language and see where the discrepancies are. This is a problem because the site creator maintainer utterly failed at cross-linking pages. That means that when you are on the page you want in one language and change the site language it redirects you to the homepage. I was able to blunder about in Russian to find the same information (in a totally different spot of course) but without the benefit of search the Romanian page eluded me. Since then I've become convinced that it doesn't actually exist on the site at all. 

So then. I've already made the mistake of giving my landlady my only copy of the Romanian documents so she can use it to go get a proof of residency for me. I decided to follow the Russian list and hope it just had some extra stuff. It took almost a month to get all of this figured out for reasons I'll explain below. When I finally applied, proudly holding all of my documents in hand the immediate reaction was - this is totally wrong. It turns out, the Romanian list is ALSO WRONG. There is no correct listing in any language. Furthermore the nice woman who consults you and sits day in and day out 20 ft from the application window is more or less fluent in the requirements as listed by law but as those are evidently designed to give you a sample of what is eventually required this is not enough. 

 squirrel-facepalm-473

facepalm or crying? I'll let you decide

 

I won't go through the rest of this process here play by play as it was too tedious. On my second trip to the actual application window (my 6th trip to the office) there was a wonderful woman there who helped to explain exactly what we needed. She even spoke some English and really did her level best to help us understand what she needed. Like so many other things in Moldova an accurate brochure would have been a lot easier than stumbling about blindly hoping to find the correct person to ask. That said, it's wonderful to find such a person. 

Ok, I'm going to list the English Language version of things below and correct it. Before I can do that though I need to explain a critical caveat to this whole mess. As I said above you can found a company before you get your visa. For people who read previous posts here that is what we did. That makes me a founder / investor in the company. It does NOT make me an "Administrator" of the company. This title cannot be held by someone without a work visa. Therefore when Matt and my visas are awarded we will join Vlad as "Administrators" in the company by altering our registration. It therefore stands to reason that as an Investor / Founder I am by default a "head of an economic unit." If not, why in the world would there be exemptions in visa law for them? they literally could not exist?! Can you guess where this is going? Yup. It turns out I am NOT a "head of economic unit" until AFTER I receive the visa. 

Ok, on to the list:

Legend

original text 
general clarifications
regarding number of documents / copies

 

1.Application form; --- the version on the website is only for workers. If you are an investor you need to get another copy (only available at the office) that is a little more tailored --- 2 original versions - no xerox

2.Approach of the company / organization / institution; --- 2 original versions - no xerox. Company stamp required

3.Passport in original and a copy of it, with corresponding entries applied by the control body of the state border (which confirms the date and place of the border crossing), and a copy of the long stay visa (for foreigners entering based on visa); --- 2 original versions - no xerox

4.Favorable note regarding the invitation of applicant to work from the State Register of enterprises and organizations (except heads of economic units); we did not need this

5.Copies of constituent documents of the company (registration certificate, statement from the State Register of enterprises and organizations, license on the type of activity);

6.Individual labour contract for workers (except heads of economic units); we did need this despite being the company's owners. Basically we hired ourselves as "Administrators." This turned out to be unacceptable as we are not yet Administrators under Moldovan Law. We were told to use literally any other word. We chose "Director." When we returned with new contracts a different woman was working there and was very concerned about this. She wanted to know what we were directors of. I replied "the company" but she was unsatisfied. She eventually let it go but only after trouble. It seemed a bit like she was unconcerned about it from an application standpoint but was trying to keep us from shortchanging ourselves by not having a good enough title.  --- 2 xerox copies. The original has to stay with the company

7.Documents confirming the activity of the company (certificate issued by the State Tax Inspectorate on lack of debts to the government budget, a copy of financial report for the last reporting period); - 

8.Copy of studies or other evidence that confirms the qualification of the specialist invited to work, tranlated in the state language and legalized/apostil according to the legislation in force (except heads of economic units); we did not need this

9.Evidence of living space (the owner’s place agreement drawn up by the notary/tenacy/contract of sale (donation) of the home); this is a notarized declaration by your landlord, or whoever you are staying with that you stay there --- 2 xerox copies. For some reason they won't take the original

10.Criminal record from the country of origin, legalized / apostilled (as established), translated into language and legalized by the notary or consular; This was hilarious. The US Embassy doesn't help you get FBI Background checks. I called the FBI and they reluctantly insinuated that I *could* fingerprint myself and mail it to them. They would then do the check and I would have to figure some way to then get it from them to the Department of State for an Apostille. Whole process? ~$50 and over 1 month. Before doing this I decided to ask some friends here. Turns out there is another way. If you go to the US Embassy and swear an affidavit that you are not a wanted criminal they will certify the statement. The Moldovan government accepts this.--- original + 1 xerox

11.Medical certificate showing that the applicant does not suffer from diseases that may endanger public health (m. Chişinău, av. Grigore Vieru, 22/2); This is stipulated as an HIV/AIDS test online. The Romanian and Russian versions do not have it however and only require a blood typing be done. It turns out this is the real version. The address they give is rather hard to find though and after wandering haplessly through a large complex for a while where absolutely no one had any idea what the hell I was talking about I found a small room with a bored woman in it who did blood tests. Total time: 3 min. Total cost: 35 lei ($2.40) or 54 lei (3.50) if you are Matt for who knows what reason.

12.Copy of health insurance valid for at least three months; At the desk the woman made it quite clear that my international insurance was no good here after those three months they mention (it is) and that I need to go by Moldovan insurance (which is good nowhere, especially here). Anyhow, I will clarify when I pick it up but I believe that this is legally required. 

13.Evidence of maintenance funds in the amount corresponding to the category right of residence requested; we did not need this
14.Two coloured photos, size 3x4;

 

So what didn't they mention here? That you need to also go to the bank and deposit a ~140 lei in one account and ~1400 lei in another. That seemed kinda suspect but the bank knew exactly what was going on and gave us the appropriate receipts to return to the office. Around $110 bucks is a bit steep for all the "getting screwed" that it seemed to buy me but at least the papers are in. 

Oh yeah - and here's a major disclaimer. Probably none of that is really true. It was true for the woman I applied with. Funny how these things seem to change based on which deity is behind the desk. Anyhow, please take this as a statement of what they finally accepted from us. Not as "the real requirements." As to those...

 

Aufkleber ChallengeAccepted

I am quite confident that the information you request does not exist. 

 

 

I'll update this on October 9th when we hear our results. 

 

 

 

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