November 9th, 2001

krazy kat

So finally did my Visa Run yesterday

That's what they call it.

The "Visa Run" is a quick trip out of the country and back in. Since people in the UAE need to have a visa to be here, which is only valid for one specific purpose, this visa run is needed to change the visa. For example, since I arrived, I've technically been here on a Tourist Visa, which I needed to change to a Student/Residence Visa, now that the school FINALLY issued one to me on Wednesday.

Now in most sensible countries, you just take a quick trip to the dept. of immigration building, show them your old visa, your new visa and your passport, and get them stamped, collect a couple of signatures, and you're done.

Except that, not here. They don't have any facility to do that, so as I mentioned, you have to fly out of the country (hence getting your old visa cancelled), into another country (Qatar is common, because it's nearby and cheap), where you get off the airplane, get their stamp in your passport, turn around and get right back on the airplane, and come back into the UAE to get your new visa authenticated.

A pain in the ass, takes half a day, a couple hundred bucks and some shitty airline food, but that's the way they do it.

So yeah, I finally did that yesterday. Except when I go to leave, they explain that I overstayed my Tourist Visa by a couple days, and charge me about $CA 700. Oh, fuck. Like I have that kind of money to throw around at this sort of thing.

Dammit, I had told the visa issuing people at AUS again and again that I needed my visa SOON, because my old one was going to expire. "No Problem!" they say.


Oh, yeah, and in addition to paying all this money, the guys at the airport (did I mention they were all wearing military uniforms and had big-ass guns slung under their shoulders?) hassle me to the point that I miss my 1:30PM flight. So by the time I get past them, I have to re-book my flight (costing me more money, of course), to a 10:00 PM flight. Meaning I don't get back to Dubai until 2:00AM. And by the time I get back to the University, I get issued a warning for missing curfew (3 warnings in a term and I'm on academic suspension).

Yeah. Right. Whatever.
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