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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Visa Troubles

Since my last entry, I've canceled my visa left the UAE, and started a new job. I wanted to chronicle that whole bundle of headache, but because I had so much going on at that point, I never found the time. I will summarize by saying that the financial benefits of canceling the visa and having my new employer sponsor me made the trouble that I had to go through well worth the hassle. The other option was to just switch the sponsorship of my visa to the new school, but I don't know if that option would have been that much easier and it certainly would have earned me less money.

That said, I actually thought that I had gone through the worst of the process in getting my final clearances. I hadn't anticipated the potential problems that would arise with my school applying for my visa during Ramadan.

Companies need to apply for visas within 30 days of the new employee arriving. My planned arrival of late August put the day to apply for my visa at the beginning of Ramadan. The process generally takes two days, but because it was Ramadan when people are tired and hungry and thirsty and are dying for a cigarette, nothing gets done. (For a recap of some of my difficulties cause by Ramadan when I first arrived in 2009, click here.) Some of my cohorts' visas took a week, some two weeks and others three weeks. Mine and another new teacher's visa was not done within the three weeks so was not available before the Eid holiday when I planned on arriving. As a result, everything got pushed back by two weeks.

Because my family and I were in the U.S. staying with my parents, there was no real financial strain. The only strain was limited to straining my relationship with my mother for overstaying our welcome. The problem was that even though I was pretty sure that our visas would come through eventually, I couldn't help thinking that there was a reason that they were delayed and that there might be some random reason I was not being granted a UAE visa. Had this been the case, our lives would have been turned upside down.

Fortunately, everything came through and we were able to arrive last Friday. I have been fortunate that everyone has been so helpful in helping me cover classes while I have been running around getting re-established. Still, I missed out on the orientation and have sort of been dropped into the thick of things.

An additional consequence  is that I lost two weeks salary and am looking for an apartment after all of the best places have been already rented out. I will try to later recap my adventures of apartment hunting with a two-week deadline before we get kicked out of the hotel my school is putting us up in.


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