Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December 16, 2009: temporary success at immigration

As an aside, I find it rather unfair to be being dive-bombed by mosquitos while I'm freezing! Cyprus has a lot of great things--mosquitos in December is not one of them.

Efficiency doesn't happen to be one, either, but we did get a temporary reprieve at Immigration today. No real progress, but the good news is that I'll be able to leave Cyprus in two weeks without being given the third degree about why I've been here longer than my three-month tourist visa allowed, and I'll be able to re-enter once, by the 15th of February. (We get back the 12th.)

This morning my husband headed for Immigration in Nikosia and took our 7-year-old, some books, and as advised, my passport and our marriage certificate and lots of time, and he also took every other single bit of paperwork we've ever had, which we always do when doing anything like this. I've always said that walking from the car to the embassy or consulate or some other official place would be the best place to mug us, because our entire identity is contained in whatever bag we're carrying.

The first person he talked to didn't think that what he was saying made any sense, but finally told him to go to "Block 7"--the complex apparently has something like 9 buildings--which is where they deal with non-European foreigners. So Jörn went there and found it was closed. He got in a side entrance and was told that really, they're closed until January, as they're in the process of moving. (The only surprising part is that this is practically the first place in Nikosia that we've been to that had not YET moved from the address we were given...) No, of course they won't give letters saying that my application is in process--who told him so? Does he have a copy of the application? Good, because as they're in the process of moving, they don't know where anything is. (See, this is why we always take EVERYTHING, not just what they say they'll need...) The friendly lady made a copy, talked with her boss, and came back and said no problem, they can issue me with a one-time, re-entry visa. Where are the stamps, please?

My husband asked what stamps, and was told that he needs "revenue stamps from the post office, worth €10.27." So then Jörn asked where the post office was, and the lady said that she had just explained it to this other applicant, in Greek, who was standing next to Jörn, so Jörn could just give her the money and she could get the stamps for both of them. Jörn politely declined handing over the money, but did walk out to the parking lot with the lady and asked her where the post office was. She said she had no idea, somewhere near the Presidential Palace, but she didn't know where that was. Jörn did know, however, so was able to tell her, and then they drove off in their separate cars.

Nothing else too exciting--Jörn found the post office (after parking at the parking lot behind the Press and Information Office, where he'd had to pay a lot of money to get the children's birth certificates translated in the summer), got the revenue stamps, returned to Immigration, paid, and got the visa in my passport.

However, I still don't have a yellow slip (the registration paper, giving me permission to live here indefinitely), and the lady seemed to think it amusing that Jörn even asked her when that might happen. She told him to come back when we get back to Cyprus in February--at their new premises in the Old General Hospital. At least I do know where the Old General Hospital is, as I had to find that in order to find the Ministry of Health, and I imagine that we can count on Immigration not moving AGAIN before we can get there, so that's good...

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