Thursday, December 29, 2011

UDI - visa renewal

Earlier this year we had a torturous ordeal at the immigration office (UDI) where we waited the entire day to hand in our paperwork to renew our visa, only to be sent away at the end of the day because they could serve everyone who came that day. It's experiences like this that make many people dread going to UDI. We've heard stories of people giving up their university jobs and leaving the country because they can't tolerate the process.

So it was with a sense of dread that I got the letters saying our visas had been approved and we need to come back to UDI to turn in our passports and some photos for the visas. Would we have to wait in line all day? Does the whole family need to come? I gave the office a call and was encouraged to fill out a visa application online and then I can schedule an appointment.

Yes! I felt like I was doing something wrong filling out the online application at – I had already filled out and submitted a paper version back in August. There was no other way to just schedule an appointment, though, so I went ahead with the form. It turned out to be short, much shorter than the paper application, and it only took 10 or 15 minutes to enter the info. At the end of the process I had the opportunity to pick an appointment time.

Our appointment was today at 11:30. We showed up at the police station, signs directed us to the window, and right on schedule at our appointed time we were able to hand our paperwork. We were out the door 15 minutes later. Hallelujah! The have a special time next week that we can pick up our passports with the visas inside, no waiting.

I'll definitely be doing electronic applications for next year. I'll have to fill one out for each member of the family, but they are much shorter forms and we get a scheduled appointment time. Nice!

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