The study abroad office here at Tec was supposed to be tracking the progress of my visa application for me, and they had been doing an alright job. Supposedly everything was done, and I just needed to pick the final document up. Well, I had been in that state for 2 months without hearing anything. So I headed over to the study abroad office, sat around for 10 minutes, and finally talked to someone who said that they were checking every day. Upon hearing that I had been waiting for 2 months, he advised that I go to the immigration office to look for it (they recently relocated their offices, and I've heard of a few people who had their things go missing).
So went straight to the immigration office. As I walked in the door, a voice in the back of my head whispered, "passport." Oops, I didn't have my passport with me. Surely I wouldn't be able to get the visa without my passport, but I figured I would see how far I could get. First the guy working at the desk told me to go check the list on the wall (a list of visas that are ready to be picked up). So I got over to the wall, and there was a list of numbers. The second time through the line (another 10 minutes), I got my number, and found out my name was on the list.
There-in lies the mystery: I assume this is the same list that the study abroad office at Tec checks. Why didn't they know it was ready? Well anyways, I waited in a new line (with chairs though) for 45 minutes until my number was called. I walked up to the desk, and the lady asked for my passport. Uh-oh. I said no, but she picked up my file anyways, and made me sign the photocopy of my passport that I had on file (as some kind of substitution for not having the passport). Within a few minutes I was on my merry way, visa in hand. Mission successful.
And good thing too, because I got back to my dorm room to find that I was scheduled to fly out the next day.
Alas, I'm not the only one with such troubles. A friend just sent me an e-mail warning of the difficulties she had with processing her visa upon leaving the country. Hopefully I can learn from her mistakes.