Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Visa nightmares

I've known for a while my residency permit expires September 20th. I tried to hand in my passport last week, but the office lady told me to bring it back a few days later. Well thanks to the three day weekend for Mid-Autumn Festival, the next available day was today. Four days away from the 20th.

Chinese law states that whenever you come to China, you have to register with the local police station within 24 hours, or 48 hours, something like that. I moved into my apartment over two weeks ago and still have not done that because our landlady is out of the city- or country- I'm not really sure. Obviously there's also a problem with language since my one roommate (the one who dealt with the contract) is in Korea for the month, my Japanese roommate and I don't speak much Chinese, and my other Japanese roommate doesn't speak much English but speaks fluent Chinese. Oy. In any case, none of us registered because your landlady needs to come with you to the police station, so figured we'd all just wait. Except they luckily all have visas that can wait until she comes back from wherever she is.

So my school couldn't process my visa application until I had proof from the police station of my registration, which I couldn't do because 1. I have no idea where my landlady is 2. I have no idea where the police station is and 3. I have no idea how to register because my Chinese is barely conversational. I was freaking out all afternoon, because if I don't get this sorted I'd have to leave the country in order to do so- the most popular option being Korea, which is still a good 200 USD round trip plane ticket. I'll save my money woes for another post, but long story short I have nowhere near that kind of spare cash.

I finally reached my landlady though; the school office said she needs to grant 'official permission' to someone to bring me to the station on her behalf (she needs to show that she's allowed to rent the space, and get taxed on it, etc) so she asked her sister to do it. She's taking me tomorrow morning, which should be fine because apparently if I get it all completed by Friday at the latest the school can still renew my visa. Why some things in China only take a day and other things take months is beyond me, but I won't complain in this case. They may fine me for staying in the country without proper registration, but if they do they hopefully won't go by the on-the-books 500 RMB/day. The only silver lining to all this is since I'm going tomorrow at 10 am, I get to sleep in and skip both my classes.

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