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Russia blocks French tourist entry over passport sex error

The Kremlin in Moscow
The Kremlin in Moscow Open access/Quistnix

A French tourist arriving in Moscow was astonished to be told that he must prove that he has had a sex change if he wants to enter Russia. A mistake on Patrick Samborski’s passport and his visa declared him to be a woman, a statement that customs officers noticed was untrue.


“The customs officers tell me that I’m illegal and that I must prove that I’ve changed sex,” Samborski told the AFP news agency.

He claims never to have noticed that his passport gave his sex as female and to have made several voyages to Russia, Ukraine and the US without encountering any problems.

On this journey visa authorities in Marseille repeated the error, Samborski, who lives in Thonon-les-Bains in central France, says.

On Friday morning a representative of Russian airline Aeroflot took the confused tourist’s passport and officials later told that they did not know where it was.

“I’m afraid it is lost,” he told AFP, adding that he cannot even get his suitcase to change clothes, having arrived at Moscow Sheremetyevo airport in shorts and sandals.

The French consulate is trying to sort the situation out, an anonymous source told AFP.

Russian officials may be a bit on edge on gender issues these days.

When the French parliament was discussing its controversial gay marriage bill, Moscow banned adoption from a number of countries where same-sex marriage is legal.

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