5/05/2017

Today I applied to renew my visa

Given the noise about Trump's wall and illegal aliens, I'm going to write about what I'm going through to renew my visa. 

Earlier this week I scanned one of my passports (I have two), all 50 plus pages, mounted two pages on a PowerPoint slide and printed it, and I printed my other passport copy which I had scanned two years ago (that's two passports fully printed). I also copied my local ID card, and placed it in the carpet with the passport copies. I think they want the passports fully copied so they can track my travels? I'm not sure. 

I think it was on Tuesday that I had to go trough my tax returns and print enough detail to show I'm a worthy contributor to the local economy (the way it works, if I'm not causing enough economic activity and paying taxes I'm not worth the visa). I also printed or copied enough paperwork to show I'm worth enough to keep around (I'm not sure if they have a minimum, but they do need to see how much money one keeps in the bank). Finally I copied my health insurance cards and the associated contracts (that's so they know I won't be a burden if I get sick). That day I also accessed the form I have to fill out asking them to please renew my visa, and printed two copies. 

This morning I went to the local municipal office and got a standard letter which confirmed I live where I do. The way it works here all non citizens had better keep the local police and municipal authorities aware of any address changes, so that letter will be used to cross check what the police file says about me. Afterwards I went to the bank with a properly filled out form, and paid the fee for the visa renewal process. 

The line at the inmigration office 

Then I went to the inmigration office, stood in line, took my turn, and eventually got to sit in front of a very nice lady who reviewed my originals (including a page by page review of my two passports) and stamped all the copies as verified. This ended step one of my review process. Part two is a separate review by police authorities. 

If the main office gets a positive police report and confirms everything is fine, in about 45 days they send me a letter saying I am worthy of a visa renewal, and in a couple of months I should be at the police office with my new photos, to be fingerprinted and sniffed over by the local police so I can be issued the ID we non citizens have to carry and show for almost every activity. 

I've already gone through this process several times, so by now I'm used to the lines, and I actually feel a sense of companionship with the Africans, Arabs, Chinese and assorted South Americans I hang around with during the visa renewal process. And if all goes well I won't have to go back for two whole years. 

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