Many citizens of Ukraine, both refugees and people who have lived in Greece for a long time, face a serious problem in obtaining the document they need at the Ukrainian consulate.
It is worth starting with the fact that the reception is conducted by electronic appointment, which, in general, is designed to facilitate visiting the diplomatic mission. If not for one “but” … Making an appointment is almost impossible. When trying to clarify the situation on the phone, a pleasant male voice explains:
Due to the huge number of Ukrainian citizens who need help, it is very difficult to sign up. Try to do it at 12 o’clock at night (!), when new dates available for visiting are published on the site.
However, the “voice” is cunning, which showed a week-long “duty” in a futile attempt to choose the day of the visit. There is no choice – neither at 12 o’clock, nor earlier than this time, nor later. Why – it will become clear later.
By some miracle during the day (not at night), once again going to the page of the embassy, we managed to “catch” a day for visiting – probably someone refused the meeting scheduled earlier. And it doesn’t matter that she had to wait more than two weeks – the main thing is that the goal has already dawned on the horizon.
The next step was a direct visit to the consulate. Despite the specified time, they had to wait exactly 45 minutes – before the manifestation of completely legitimate indignation: why then set the time? At the same time, people who came later calmly went inside, explaining to the guard (who they are, it will become clear later).
By the way, about the guard. The question has long been of interest: why does a person who does not know a word in Ukrainian work in the consular office of Ukraine? But it is he who, after explaining the reasons for the visit, decides who to let through and who should wait. But what about the refugees who had to flee from their native country to Europe and do not yet know a word in Greek? How can they explain to the guard the reason for the visit?
After expressed indignation, the “guardian” lets the inside of the room. And here, at the treasured window, a new trouble overtakes. It turns out that the cost of a power of attorney for receiving a pension in Ukraine, which 3 years ago was 28 euros, has now jumped in price by 3 (!) times and is equal to 73 euros. And this despite the fact that the amount of consular fees, as explained by the third secretary for consular issues of the Embassy of Ukraine in Greece, who performs notarial acts, did not change after 2018. When trying to figure out why the cost of a power of attorney increased so much, the answer sounded something like this:
There are fixed rates posted on the website of the consulate. They have not changed since 2018. And if they do not suit you, you can try to solve the problem elsewhere. I don’t know who issued you a power of attorney in 2019, and why it cost 28 euros.
But allow me, judging by the signature on both documents, the power of attorney was issued by the same consular officer. To my assumption that the price might depend on the person for whom the order is issued (a close relative or just an acquaintance), the answer was: maybe … That is, the consular worker does not specify who the document is issued for, and the visitor does not know that the cost of the service depends on this factor.
As it turned out, to confirm the “kindred ties” (the power of attorney is issued to the son), you need a notarized birth certificate. It is problematic to do this in the conditions of hostilities in Ukraine, and even more so to quickly send it to Greece. Another question arises, again rhetorical: why was a birth certificate not required in 2019? For the power of attorney, I still had to pay 73 euros, exactly one and a half of my monthly pension …
And now a little about why it is so difficult to get an appointment at the Consulate of Ukraine. Opening the website of the department, on the page https://greece.mfa.gov.ua/zapys we see an announcement:
What happens in reality? But in reality, the same thing happened three years ago: the vigorous activity of a certain B., representing an intermediary firm and generously distributing business cards to everyone. His clients do not wait at the entrance, having a priority right to service, and even more so they do not watch free dates for reception at night – this is the care of the intermediary.
Undoubtedly, it cannot be denied by any means that it is much more convenient for many people to pay an intermediary firm or, as in other cases, a private lawyer, and draw up the necessary documents. But… Why shouldn’t the consulate, which encourages the company’s activities (the security guard even personally distributes business cards, praising its work, promising speed and quality in solving all problems), not set aside a special day for serving its representative? And in others – to serve the citizens of Ukraine, who will be able, in this case, to make an appointment online without any problems. After all, there will be much more free dates if a special day of the week is determined for intermediaries.
In the meantime … Well, what is happening so far is described above … Without in any way detracting from the competence of the consulate staff and respecting their difficult work, I would still like to make visiting this institution easier, and the cost of services was available to everyone.