Friday, June 26, 2009


Today was a good day in Asunción, Paraguay. After three months of running around and collecting all that we needed, Cat and I turned in all of our documents to the Paraguayan Immigration Office and they were accepted! That's right, we were not given a new list of requirements to fulfill, we were not turned away for whatever reason, we were not told to come back tomorrow. Instead, we handed in our paperwork and immigration kept it.

Of course it couldn't be quite that easy. When we first arrived and asked to speak to the man--i.e. the director--who we were told to ask for the day before (when we were told to come back today), the guard told us he wasn't there. Instead, he told us to talk to a different guy in a different part of the building. We found the other guy who, at first, handed us the same list of document requirements that we received three months ago when we started this grand adventure. We quickly informed him that we had all of the necessary documents. Whatever we said must have triggered something because he immediately called someone and talked for a few minutes.

When he hung up he told us to follow him. Any guesses as to whose office we went to see? That's right, the first person we asked for when arriving, the director. Apparently, we needed a letter from him stating that our FBI fingerprints were in transit from the US Embassy and to go ahead and process our visa request. (The whole fingerprint ordeal is another story.)

Letter in hand, we returned to the same place we were only a few minutes before (the first office we went to today) to present our documents. Of course. Why have it any other way?

Everything seemed to be going smoothly as the worker flipped through all of my documents until the very end. He told me that I was lacking my financial guarantee. I quickly showed him my letter from Rotary stating that I was to receive money for my year abroad. He reviewed the letter and then asked who I can only assume was his superior if the letter would be sufficient to satisfy my financial guarantee. After discussing the letter for a few minutes, the supervisor said that I would need to show an ATM receipt. As bad luck would have it, I don't carry them around with me. However, since I keep all of my ATM receipts, I was left with one alternative: go home and get one to prove my financial solvency. And, I only had 20 minutes to do so or be forced to return tomorrow and start the whole visa presentation process over again.

I told Cat to start her visa application while I run home and grab a few receipts. I literally ran down the street, grabbed a cab, ran up the stairs to my apartment, rifled through my receipts, found three that would work, ran back down the stairs, ran down the street, grabbed a cab, and made it back to the immigration office with two minutes to spare. Mission accomplished. Or, mission accomplished?

I had to then have the ATM receipts copied and notarized. Thankfully, there was an escribiana (notary) across the street. I completed that and handed them in. Finally! The worker signed off on my documents, handed me a bill, and put my documents aside.

Next, Catherine. While I was looking for old receipts the worker went through all of Cat's documents and found that she was lacking nothing. However, for whatever reason two notarized copies of my passport was needed to go accompany Cat's paperwork. I crossed the street once again and got two copies of my passport. Once I handed them in, the worker signed off on Cat's documents, handed her a bill, and put her documents aside.

We were given temporary 90 day visas. These will hold us over until our temporary resident visas are ready. When I asked if the immigration office would call us, the woman said it would be better if we called the office. For some reason that did not surprise us. She also said that the visas will be ready in about 15 days. Based on everything I know from obtaining all I need for this visa--from the health certificate to the police record to the tourist visa authentication to everything else--15 days is an optimistic estimate. I'm guessing the visas will be ready in 30-50 days. Guess all I need to do now is wait.

1 comment:

  1. I was amazed at your resolve to get our paperwork turned in. I cannot tell you how happy I was leaving the immigration office WITHOUT our paperwork. Thanks for being so wonderful!