About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Visa Limbo Hell

This past 2 weeks or so, I’ve been in Visa limbo hell. The amount of confusion and stress has been paramount and for a few days there I was up to my neck. The weekend allowed me a break to regroup my faith and energy, let go of making things happen (which they really can’t) and wait. And then Monday happened.

It all seemed easy enough. I’ve had so many visas through my years of traveling I wasn’t prepared for this kind of colossal state of confusion.

Amy the Taiwanese women who hired me told me to call TECO (Taiwan Embassy) in Kansas City and ask what all I need to do too get a visa. So that’s what I did. I asked how to get a work visa and ARC (Alien Residence Card); I didn’t say my name---big mistake! I was told I cant apply for a work permit until my future employer sends in the paper work for the work permit, upon which I’m given a single entry 3 month work permit visa that’s changed to a ARC when in Taiwan. So begun the confusion. A few days later this same women receives me and Zenaida’s application for a 60 day visitor visa. I get a call bright and early, “I thought you wanted to work there?” I replied, “I do”. “Then why are you applying for a 60 day visitor visa?” yadayada.

Basically every foreigner who intends to work there gets in on a 60 day visitor visa and the school they work for does the paper work, sends it back to TECO offices in the US to get authenticated and its a lot simpler, the health check is done in a Taiwanese hospital too (as was my experience last time)

TECO KS has been stickler for following every detail. Which is costing a bundle, 130US per application, 15US per document to be authenticated (my diploma, transcripts, Zenaida’s health check and birth cert), plus over night postage there and return.

Good news is after such a hassle and prayers from friends and family, the woman at TECO (Jan) has had a change of heart. I was this close to having to change my flight, and it looks like I don’t have to. The final monkey wrench was Monday afternoon as I sat in the waiting office if a Dr for my health checks. I called my insurance (Medicaid) and found out I have not been covered since March 31, 08. I was very overwhelmed, thinking about sky high Dr costs ad lab work costs. I called Jan in KC and told her, listen my Medicaid expired and I don’t have insurance, and can my health check wait till I get in Taiwan? And she said sure.

Phew! So it works out even better because the lab work (HIV, urine and feces tests, other junk) the results would take a week, and I don have that kind of time. Having no health insurance turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Today I sent the doc to be authenticated for the work permit. Jan told me I will probably get a 90 day visitor visa (upon approval from her boss). Amy has been very good about getting the paperwork done on her end too and called KC despite the time difference.

So even though if I could do it again I prob would have kept my mouth shut and got the 60 day visitor visa, there are now advantages for having been transparent about my intentions to work there. The paperwork is getting authenticated now, Zenaida’s health check is done in her familiar Dr’s office, and she has gotten some vaccinations she needed. The process for the work permit has already begun in Taipei too. So when I arrive the ARC card and process will happen a lot faster. If I was working w/o my ARC card, I would be deported, now it looks like I will have my ARC by my August 4th start date.

I am looking forward to having TECO KC return my passports with big fat 90 day visa pasted on a new page by the time its time to leave.

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