Thursday, March 16, 2006
i've spent the better part of the day traipsing about the city trying to get an extension on my visa so that i can stay until may. when my visa was issued, they gave me a standard 90 day visitor's visa... they also told me (and this is the 'they' that they talk about when they talk about 'them') that once i got here, i could just go the bureau of consular affairs and get a stamp that gave me an extension. well... not quite. it turns out that i have a "personal" visa, different from a work or student visa, and they won't extend my visa without changing my visa type. this requires some official paperwork to say that i'm a student or i'm employed or some other such thing. this would be fine except i don't have any kind of paperwork like that, since it was easier for me to come here without any (my university makes you jump through a ton of hoops if you officially go abroad for study).
thankfully, there is an easy, albeit not super convenient, loop-hole in the system. if i leave the country within the 90 days and return, my stay gets extended another 90 days from the day i re-enter the country, since it's considered a new visit. thankfully my visa does allow multiple entries so it looks like i'll be taking a short trip sometime very soon. apparently this is very common.... and even locals who have foreign passports use this option in order to live here without official papers. students and professionals alike just take a weekend trip every three months and there is no problem.
more as the story develops... and sorry for the double posting earlier... i took down the duplicate so unless you check daily you probably have no idea what i'm talking about.