Sunday, November 27, 2011

Permanent Residency Visa and Thanksgiving Weekend

So it's that time of the year again.

What am I referring to, you may ask?  It's time for me to go through the visa process again, but this year is different.  I'm applying for a permanent residency visa.

The word permanent sounds, well ..... permanent.  My plan isn't to be here permanently, but the appeal of being considered a permanent resident and having a visa that is good for 5 years is very attractive to me.  It always seems like the visa process in Chile is never easy, and so if I can minimize the need to go through it I'm more than willing to do that.

So about 2 weeks ago I began compiling the neceesary paperwork.  Here's a partial list:

photocopies of my passport pages showing my previous visas
photocopy of my Chilean ID card
photocopy of my registration with the International Police
a report from the International Police showing I haven't committed any crimes
a report of all travel completed in the past year
recent photos with my ID number on the bottom with my name
photocopies showing my income with the boleta system
a letter stating why I'm applying for permanent residency
my college degrees approved by the Ministry of the Exterior

They also required proof that I had paid taxes and such in April, but by then I hadn't had my boletas and didn't have to file, so I included a letter stating so.  The same thing happened with a few other requirements.

I was anxious about missing some important piece of paperwork due to what happened this time last year.  As I was at the airport going home for Christmas last year, I got a call telling me that my visa was rejected because I didn't include all of the paperwork that they required.  The missing paperwork was easy enough to get, but I had to wait until I was back 6 weeks later to gather it and get my visa approved.

So I double and triple checked that I included everything that they said I needed before heading off to the post office.  I gave the woman there the envelope and asked for it to get certified (as requiered), and she spent a few minutes typing things up.  She gave me the paperwork for the confirmation, and she spelled my name wrong.  I pointed it out to her, and she had me correct it on the paperwork before I signed it and before it was formally submitted.

I've done everything I can, and so now I get to play the waiting game.  Hopefully by the beginning of January I will have the official letter telling me that it has been approved and is being processed, or en tramite.

With having the paperwork completed, I was able to enjoy the weekend without having it hanging over my head.  Saturday was the TeachingChile reunion, and it was great seeing everyone again.  It was on Bruce's rooftop, and there were burgers, snack, drinks, sunshine, a swimming pool, and good company.

It was really great catching up with friends I hadn't seen in a while, and we found it hard to believe that we are going on two years here.  I also met some new people that are looking to stay in Chile beyond their time with TeachingChile.

After a quick stop home I was off to a coworker's apartment for Thanksgiving Dinner.  It was mostly Americans, but there were a few people from England and a few Chileans also.  Here's what we had to eat:

Turkey casserole

carrots and sweet potatoes

spicy potatoes

mashed potatoes

mac and cheese with tomatoes and bacon, based on my Mom's recipe
Needless to say, I had a huge plate of food.  Even though we're far from home, everyone agreed that they enjoyed the dinner and it was a really nice event.  The Chileans and British also enjoyed having their first ever Thanksgiving.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  For now I think I'm going to go lounge by the pool.  ;-)

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