Sunday, September 02, 2007

How things work around here: Passport/Visa edition Pt. 2

I thought things couldn’t get more difficult as far as my visa went. I should have known better!! On Thursday I followed up with our HR director to make sure that I had everything ready to submit the visa once I got home. She handed me a memo and said, “Oh, I just got this today.” The memo said that in order to process ANY visa, the passport needed to have at 18 months validity until it expired. My passport, of course, expires in 11 months.

Oh, the confusão!! I’ve read several articles about how the new requirement of a passport to enter the US from Canada and Mexico has put a major strain on passport agencies and people have had to wait several months for passports. So we called the US embassy to see what we could do. The solution to the problem is so incredibly complex and will literally cost hundreds of dollars. Here it is:

· Fly to Luanda Monday, instead of Wednesday as planned. Renew passport at the embassy. They will hand it back to me right then and there with a receipt which must be presented with my current passport to get the new one. Thursday I get on a plane and go home.

· But wait! If my current passport is with me in the US, how will my colleague in Luanda be able to pick my new one up? Upon arrival in the US, I will have to DHL my passport to our office in Luanda.

· But wait! How will I get my new passport, which I need to process my work visa? Our office will then DHL both passports back to me in the US. I’ll submit my new passport for the work visa.

· But wait! How will I travel to the US if my new passport is in the Angolan embassy (or who knows where it will be)? They don’t actually need the passport after the initial processing, so they will release it back to me and I’ll travel back to Angola using my current visa (visto ordinário). When the actual paperwork is done and my work visa is ready, I will DHL it back to the US so it can get the work visa put in it.

· But wait! How will I use a visa that is in my no-longer-valid passport? Allegedly, I can just present the valid visa in the old passport along with my new passport and I will be let in the country.

I am extremely suspicious of this last part. I don’t see how this will be accepted by the Angolan government, but many people assure me this is very common. We’ll see.

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