Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Racing against the clock

I've been back-tracking a bit to explain the process I went through to receive temporary residency. After waiting almost 6 months I got the permit, only to learn that there was another packet of documents needed for registration, and not much time...

Date: Friday, Oct. 15
Residence permit: Received
Registration: Application in progress
Old registration expires: Tuesday, Oct. 19th
Working days left: 3
The line: Miles long

On Thursday, I had done my best to pull together the rest of the documents before finally going to bed around 4 am. Then I was up by 7 the next morning to try to get to the office when it opened.

I had already signed up the previous day, but you can never be sure...
read more/-

The office was open for four hours that day. Things were progressing at a snail's pace, and I was still waiting for my friends to bring the rest of the documents I needed. They called me to see how things were going, and I assured them that there was no rush.

I sat and sat and we continued going down the list very slowly. My friend did come with the documents, but they weren't completely in order, so I would have to just use this day for a preliminary inspection of what I had so far. During the last hour I was already posted by the door with the other urgent cases. I also peeked at others' documents to try to determine if I had filled out my forms correctly.

We were all panicking to the point of discussing what fines would be issued for overstaying our registration.

Then suddenly (well, not suddenly, but incredibly) #16 went in, and there were still 30 minutes left. There was hope!

The minutes ticked by.

The girl who was after me was practically in tears, yet seemed hopeful that she would make it in. She had the same deadline as I did. I didn't want to tell her that I might take a long time. I felt a tugging on my heart as I wished for my turn to come. I hated seeing everyone else sitting there with their sad eyes. There really wasn't any hope that any of them would be seen today. I had a sudden urge to give up my spot and let everyone go ahead of me. But I had to think practically. I couldn't save everyone in the waiting room, and it would be inconvenient to myself and others if I had to pack my bags and take a trip somewhere for a new visa.

We agreed amongst ourselves that we wouldn't make a list yet-we would do it on Monday morning. This was important because it was the weekend, and it would be hard to have a sign-up sheet if the office was closed.

There were a few minutes left, and I gave up. I could have fought to get inside, or tried to raise my voice above the crowd and gotten my questions answered. But it was pointless; I needed more time than was available. And besides, I was missing a stamp or two on the housing forms. So I walked away.

I went to worship rehearsal that evening, but I was already feeling a lump in my throat that wouldn't go away. Then I went on bed-rest for the weekend. I didn't even go to church, and the word spread that I was ill, but absolutely HAD to physically show up at the registration office on Monday. I didn't have a choice.


  1. You DO have a way with the cliff-hanger ending!

    Oh, my! Here's my question - what ARE all these "documents" that you needed, and how hard was it to get them.

  2. -Application form
    -Copies of specific pages in passport
    -Apartment deed plus copy
    -Signed/notarized agreement from the owners
    -Form asking for personal data for statistical purposes (confusing: "place of birth" -what exactly does that mean? or "previous place of residence")
    -Some other form asking a lot of the same personal info, even more confusing
    -Form from the apartment owners listing everyone registered to live there
    -Receipt from the bank, has to have the correct address that I will be registered at


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