Today I had to get up early to go to the Immigration Office. Early for me is 8:00am. The reason I needed to go there is to convert my tourist visa, which I got on the airplane, to a student visa. This is actually a pretty long process. I needed to get together about 10 different documents and copies of this and that. Here's what I can remember off the top of my head:
- Copies of every page of my passport, even those that didn't have anything written
- on them.
- Copies of my credit card and back statement.
- Copies of my tourist visa.
- An official letter of residence from the Residence Hall Office.
- An official letter of enrollment from the International Office.
- Two forms, which had to be printed both sides on legal-sized paper. Luckily, the local Internet cafes are pretty good about helping students do that.
So, that is what I've spent some of my free time for the last 3 weeks doing. I guess it really isn't all that bad, but just seemed like a lot of unnecessary paperwork. Now I have to call the office in a couple weeks to check on my application's status. Then I need to get my fingerprints taken, and then finally pick up the visa.
Most people had the option of getting their student visa before they left the USA (or their respective country), and a few did with the thought that they would have to do less once they arrived here. It turns out that they needed to do pretty much the exact same thing though. They weren't too happy about that.
What I think is kind of funny about the whole thing is that by the time I'm done with it all, I'll be half-way done with my stay here.