Friday, October 28, 2011

An Illegal Love Affair- the technical details

Dear Ukraine,

Please, please, please, I really wanna stay! Don't make me leave you! I even got an 8-month job here so as to not just be a bum, so that you would think I had some redeeming qualities. My school emailed me today, confirming that all of us need new visas to stay here. I would gladly pay the massive $400 (school-recommended religious visa) - $800 (actual work visa) required to live here legally but sometimes I suspect that fate has different plans in store.

I arrived on Aug 30th with a $140 multi-entry business visa. Twelve days later you declared that you were consolidating all visas into 3 types: transit, short-term, and long-term. For the next month, no one really knew what was going on. Now all the details are out and they make my head spin.

New Ukrainian Visa Rules for Long-Term Visitors – Message for U.S. citizens – U.S. Embassy Kyiv
Embassy of Ukraine to the United States of America

The idea behind the business visa was always that I'd still have to leave the country every 90 days, but the visa would *usually* allow teachers to re-enter immediately and not necessarily have to follow the 90 days in-country/ 90 days out-of-country rule. Now you say we *may* not be readmitted to the country with the said biz visa if we've already been here 90 days...and boy, that would suck, getting stranded in Poland or Hungry for the next 3 months, with all my personal possessions here in an apartment in Ukraine. So, the proposed solution is to travel abroad and get a new visa (why can't this just be done in-country?), return to Ukraine, convert the new visa into a long-term visa. I like the sound of that, except that the next chance I'll have to travel out of Ukraine is over the Christmas break, which is already past the 90 day mark. It's true that there's a break coming up next week, but in yesterday's email the school said they need at least fifteen days to get the paperwork together for the new visa so even if I left now, I might get stuck at the border trying to re-enter on the biz visa. 

The good news out of all of this- in an effort to defray the costs of these new visas (especially on our small teacher salaries), the school is giving us a 60 cent per hour raise. Yeah! That's about an extra $15 a week!

To sum it up, Ukraine- I am trying to follow all your rules so that we can have a healthy relationship, but please give me just a little bit of wiggle room...

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