Saturday, June 12, 2010

Adventure #036- The Visa

After many trips to Bratislava, I am finally legal!!! My visa is good for 6 months, at which point I will have to get a renewal, which is much easier than the first time.

In order to stay in the Czech Republic, I needed to have a job. So I got a work contract from my employer and went to the office to file the application with my TEFL certificate and Bachelors degree. Turns out that the paperwork had changed since the month before. So I went back to my employer and got the right paperwork. After a second waiting period of almost an hour, the work office gave me a piece of paper saying that I had applied.

Armed with this, a housing permit, the translated, certified and notarized copies of my degree and criminal record, and passport, I went to Bratislava to turn in my paperwork. The office is open from 9-11am for applications M-Th. I took a Monday off work and caught the 5.30am train, with a delay for technical reasons I barely made the time slot.

When I got there and gave the woman all my paperwork, it turns out I didn't have a copy of my work contract. I needed this for the short term visa (because I was getting close to the end of my 90 day tourist visa). I couldn't fax them a copy though. I had to bring it to them in person. So I only turned in my application for long term.

The following week, I went down with my contract and a friend who needed to turn in his paperwork. We took the 12.30am train, because we didn't want to worry about the time again. There were so many people on the train, we were stuck in the aisles for the 4 hour trip.

One month later, after a scary visit from the foreign police, I got the call that my short term visa was ready for pick-up. With my friend (whose visa was also ready) we went back down to Bratislava. Trip #3 was on the bus this time. It is a cheaper method of transport, although the times aren't so great. Our window to pick up the visas was between 13.30 and 14.00.

Trip #4 to Bratislava happened one month later. I picked up my long term visa and said good-bye to Bratislava for hopefully the last time. I have a friend there and I had visited him just before starting the whole process of the visa. It is pretty safe to say that I won't be returning to Bratislava unless forced!! The renewal process can take place in Prague, thankfully!

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