Sunday, April 3, 2011

Working through my Resident Visa

Yes, I've been here now almost 3 months and still don't have my resident visa! To get a visa in UAE, you need to be sponsored by either 1) your employer, 2) your parents, or 3) your spouse. Obviously, I fall into the 3rd category. Brian has been coordinating all the visas for the Epic team, which had some bumps, but now is a relatively painless process and takes less than one month, so the newest members here haven't even had to get a visitor visa extension, which is great. Unfortunately, a spouse-sponsored visa is a totally different process and since it's our first time through it, it's taking a while.

The first step was to get an attested marriage certificate and my college transcripts over here. I don't technically need the transcripts for the spouse visa, but since I plan to work, I'll need that in the future so we got it at the same time. This requires sending the docs to the US Embassy in DC, then to the UAE Embassy in DC and then onto UAE. I mailed these docs at the end of December and we FINALLY received what we needed just two weeks ago. Until we had those docs, we couldn't even begin the process over here.

The next step is working with our Public Relations Officer (PRO). A PRO isn't required, I don't think, but they know the legal ropes and regulations and can get paperwork through MUCH faster than if you tried to do it yourself. Some things in UAE work on what they call 'wasta', which you can kind of think of as clout or negotiation power. PROs have that wasta and as such can help you get things done. So, the PRO helped Brian complete the paperwork for my visa and then they had to go to the Immigration office in Dubai to submit it.

Strike One - Apparently, we're missing a necessary stamp. (sigh) So, the PRO has to work through that and when it's again ready, Brian will need to make another trip to Dubai to try again. Unlike the business visas that the PRO can work through the process, Brian has to be there in person for mine since he himself is the sponsor - what a pain. The worst part is that my visitor visa expires on the 15th and I don't want to have to do a border run to extend it. I've got all fingers and toes crossed that things will work out by the end of the week!

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