Friday, March 23, 2007


I'm trying to decide what my deal is. This could be a lifelong process, I'll grant you, but at the moment I'm focusing on relatively narrow questions: Do I come back here after I go to the States in a few months? Do I try to hang on to my apartment here while I'm in the States? (My landlord has offered to let me sublet the place if I can find someone trustworthy.*)

If you thought I already knew the answers to any of the above questions, you were right. I did. But now it's all up in the air again. That said, it's getting to be decision time. One of the things I want to do is make sure I have as many doors open to me as possible.

That's where my visa comes in. It expires in June. Or July. It depends on which piece of paper you look at. One says 7/6/2007 and the other says 6/7/2007. Naturally.

The process for renewing the visa is remarkably simple. Get a police report verifying that you have no criminal record in Argentina, sign a sworn statement you are not using illicit means to support yourself,** pay your 300 pesos and that's it.

But. . . .

All of this can ONLY be done the day before your visa expires. Setting aside for a moment the fact that my visa's expiration date is a matter of opinion, I am planning to be out of the country for both of those dates.

This is a two-year visa. . . it's good for 730 days. And they have chosen to make it renewable only on one day.

So I called immigration.

I have some sympathy for the people who answer the phones there because it's probably pretty stressful dealing with foreigners all day. The guy I spoke to seemed to be wound remarkably tight. When he asked me when I planned to leave the country and I hesitated before I answered, he all but shouted into the phone:

"¿Cuándo? ¿Cuándo? ¿Cuándo?"

Eesh. I heard you the first time.

Anyway. He said to come in as close as I could to the date(s) of my visa's expiration and bring a plane ticket to prove that I wasn't going to be here. Sounds reasonable. Who knows if it will work, but it sounds reasonable.

Then I asked him if the renewal paperwork was going to be issued immediately or it would take, ahem, a few days to process, in which case how would I re-enter the country if my old papers were expired and the new ones were waiting for me in Argentina in the immigration office?

His response: "That's a good question."

Thank you. I thought so, too.

*E-mail me if you know someone who wants to live here for several months. Really.
**I bet they catch a lot of crooks that way.

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