Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Visa Extension...

Today Andrew and I went to get our visas extended. We bought our initial visas at the airport for 10 JD a piece, but they are only good for 30 days, so in order to stay in the country legally you have to, as they stamped in our passports, "Contact the nearest police station within one month." Since we arrived on May 3rd and tomorrow is June 1st, we decided that we should probably do that PDQ! It was quite an adventure.

I left our apartment just before 1:00 to meet Andrew at the University after his class. From the University we took a taxi to Sweilah because that is the closest police station to our neighbourhood. At least, we thought it was the closest one since that's where Levi got his visa extended and he is only a 10 minute walk from us. Sweilah isn't exactly in Amman though, it's suburb of Amman (kind of like Sandy to Salt Lake City) and only part of the people in our neighbourhood, Tela al-'ali, are allowed to register there and we live in the other part, I guess. So, we get to the police station in Sweilah and talk to some guards with big guns and then go into the station. We met a really nice man from New Jersey...

He is a used car dealer, but the FBI is on him because a lot of the cars that he sold were shipped to Iraq and used by suicide bombers. The FBI tracked down the VIN and since he sold the car, he got questioned...it probably doesn't help that he is Palestinian, but as he said, "I sold them the car. I asked for money. They gave it to me, I gave them the car...does that make me a criminal?" He was really cool.

After we were told that we couldn't extend our visas in Sweilah he gave us a lift to Tela al-'ali where we tried to find the police station...but there is no police station in Tela al-'ali so we then took a taxi to Shmeisani, the next neighbourhood over. Our taxi driver was really quite nice but he had no clue where the police station was. He took us to the military base with armored guards everywhere who told us to go to the American Embassy. Andrew told them that we had to go to the nearest police station because that's what it says to do in our passport. I was getting nervous with all the guns around, getting poked by them occasionally and everything. Finally the guards got frustrated with us and told us to go to the other gate and talk to the guards there. Those guards told us to take a taxi to the police station. We were frustrated because we had been trying to find that police station for some time. But, we caught a taxi anyway and asked the driver to take us there. This driver actually knew where the police station was and dropped us off about a block away because he didn't want to turn around. So, we walked up the street to the station and then asked the guard where to go. He didn't actually know where so we followed some people around to the back of the station to a room with a bunch of people waiting in it to get their visas.

There were a lot of Iraqi refugees there registering their passports. Their process was a lot easier than ours. All they had to do was provide a telephone number. We had to give our address and the name of our landlord (which we don't know, interestingly enough...we've never met our landlord). Since Andrew didn't know the name of the landlord he explained this and then said, very sheepishly, "Is that a problem?" (in Arabic). Everyone in the room laughed at him. He sounded rather nervous. It might have been all the guns around...

In the end we got the visa extension and were then sent upstairs to get it signed by the head-honcho police man. He had an air-conditioned office. It was nice.

Now we can legally stay in the county until August 3rd. Slightly problematic since we are here until August 16th. I think since we are going to Egypt in July we will just get another visa and then register that again. Hopefully that works. :) If not...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This Blog is the coolest!
Thanks for the pictures you post!
See you guys later!
-Steven

peter said...

Hi Nice Blog. A Egypt visa is issued to travelers who wish to temporarily enter Egypt, to visit family/friend, sightseeing, or a private purpose. An Egypt visa is valid 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years with multiple entries.

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