Tuesday, August 31, 2010

If your visa runs out, just breakdown and cry

At my last visa run to the border last month, I was asked to go to the immigration office after 30 days to explain why I have been in the country for 2.5 years on a tourist visa! Fair question, no idea how I was going to explain. They suggested I took a lawyer along as things were serious enough to be kicked out of the country if I can't justify my "over stay"...Shit, I thought.

I never met this 'lawyer', the guy dealing with our company registration process provided him and said he is "very good". We sit in this cold room with a stiff-looking immigration officer and the lawyer and my hangover makes me super patient, I was proud of myself for looking totally unmoved by the whole thing. I calmly explained to the officer that I had my old passport stollen and it had a residency permit (a big lie and praying he doesn't dig into my file to look for the evidence), and I act all victim and poor-me, I have worked damn hard to set up companies in this country with no support and created jobs and the visa and residency permits have gone up a 1000% and what am I suppose to do now, bla bla bla. I figured if I am gonna get kicked out, I might as well exit with a bang (pathetic loud cry, in my case).

Poor officer fell for this and was totally kind and sympathetic and asked if there was anything he could do to help!! What? This is so cool. He was trying to calm me down and offered to charge me the old visa price of $25 instead of the current $82 fee!! Wow! My day is suddenly much brighter and I feel like I have just won the lottery. One more worry-free month in Maputo. Gives me time and space to focus on a more basic challenge of sorting out a housing arrangement.

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