Joburg Expat: I'm REALLY pissed!

November 7, 2011

I'm REALLY pissed!

Just about a week ago, when musing about our upcoming South African visa renewals, I was joking - JOKING! - that maybe the Department of Home Affairs would make us go through the whole circus of police clearances and medical certificates again. But of course I was very secure in  my assumption that of course a mere RENEWAL would not require the same steps as the ORIGINAL visa.

However, it now turns out that they do indeed want the same exact crap again, at least that is what our consultant tells us. Which  means that we will have to get fingerprinted, again, and send that off with pages upon pages of forms to THREE DIFFERENT COUNTRIES, accompanied by three different money orders, and I will have to drag everyone in  my family to the doctor again to be assured, black on white, that we are not crazy (not kidding!) plus have all our chests x-rayed. Or, in other words, I'm going to have to once again sacrifice another few weeks of my life for stupid paperwork and run-around.

I'm majorly pissed. Please someone tell me there is another way! Please? Anybody?

10 comments :

Mireille said...

NO, you have to go through it again!! And you are not the only one! We went through it again, last year and now FINALLY after waiting for a WHOLE year and not getting it, asking hundreds of time what took them so long... they finally CONFESSED that they LOST all our paperwork and guess what. We have to go through it again for the THIRD time, everything, the whole shebang just because they lost it!! AARRGGHH!!!

Jozie Days said...

Sorry Sine, that is just the way it is! We had a 2 year inter office, renewed it for a 3 year work permit and then renewed it for another 3 year permit. My doctor just shakes her head when we come in with the medical forms that declare that we are not crazy! We had to go through the whole thing again when we applied for permanent residence and my poor 18 year old had to be finger printed for police clearance, medical report and X-rayed for his UCT study permit which almost did not come through in time for the start of the year. This despite him being one of the top students in South Africa with 10 distinctions, we also pay almost double the fees as we are on Italian passports and they offer no scholarships or bursaries to foreigners! You can just imagine annoyed I am!! But despite all the paperwork - and the medicals, fingerprints, x-rays etc I still love being in South Africa, and my son is incredibly happy at UCT!

2summers.net said...

I would like to chime in with my own woeful tale.

I have been fingerprinted four times since I came here, gotten two medical certificates and two chest x-rays. I've probably collected 25 letters of recommendation from all over the world, submitted legal affidavits, resumes, work samples, testimonials, and publications. I've paid nearly $2000 in legal fees, repatriation fees, medical fees, and other fees that I can't even remember anymore. And guess what? I still don't have a visa! I've been here for more than 15 months.

So Sine, we can't really help but at least know that you're not alone :)

nikkimoffitt said...

Us too! Unfortunately we're all in this together. Wait until your current visa expires and your new visa is not yet issued - if you bank with ABSA they will they suspend your bank accounts under money laundering laws. We have had our accounts suspended without notice 5-6 times in the last three months while waiting for our visas (submitted in July) to be renewed. Yesterday's update from our consultants was - no sign of them so far. ABSA are incredibly irritating and even having a 'private banker' does not help. The Home Affairs office won't issue the exact letters or stamps they deem necessary to show we are legitimately waiting for our visas, so they continue to randomly suspend. We have now been given an 'exemption' until Jan 2012 but our visas probably won't be back before then as its now winding down time to Xmas and once again we will be without access to our funds. Sometimes living in South Africa is extremely trying....

Stephanie said...

The only way that I kind of keep my sanity with all of this is to put myself in someone else's shoes here. What if you were a Zimbabwean who had to do this but didn't have access to a printer, medical doctor or transportation to the police station or had to spend your last rands trying to get all of those things in place? At least we understand the rules (frustrating as they are) and have the means to get through all the ANNOYING red tape. When I went and filed all my paperwork to Home Affairs last time, I saw the other confused less fortunate folk and decided that indeed, I was probably better off than most of the folks there. Know you aren't alone and hey, it makes for good blogging material!

Sine said...

Well - first off, thanks everyone for your moral support. It's always comforting to know you're not the only one (whose power got cut off, for instance), even though it doesn't change a thing. Stephanie, I think you put it best: Thanks to all your comments I'm already thinking how it could be so much worse, and am feeling better. The bank problem hadn't even occurred to me. Will try hard not to conjure that up. And losing all your stuff, are you serious Mireille? And yes, I'm the first to say it makes for good blogging material. So keep posted in the coming months:-). Oh, and Jozie Days - congrats to your son for doing so well, that is impressive! It's exam time for us at the moment and I'm still waiting for one of those distinctions!

Anonymous said...

Sine, we follow your Blog daily ever since we were asked to move to JNB from Hong Kong. We are going through the process of applying for our visas and my God is the process complicated and bureaucratic. We have lived in 5 countries in the last 15 years so getting the finger prints, police reports etc is a real nightmare.

Keeping fingers crossed for Friday - when we submit our visa application in HK.

I have lived in the UK, US, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong and we never had to go through the cumbersome process like the one for SA.

Gaijin said...

Oh Sine! My stomach has been in knots for for many, many weeks now. I've done all the document gathering, certification, applications for police certificates, medical reports, chest x-rays etc. All ready for visa application submission this Friday........what are the chances that all will be OK in time for me to leave Hong Kong to arrive in Jo'burg in Mid-December?

Sine said...

Eish - that is a short time. Then again, I think we arrived here without the proper visas as well, we just had temporary ones (my husband also had a temporary work permit) and they let us come into the country on those, then we had six months to switch, and it happened in time. I would assume you can go the same route? Where are you submitting your documents - in the SA embassy in HK or in SA itself? I hear that that makes a difference. We were given the advice to do our renewal through a foreign embassy and that it would be much faster that way, but since we're not planning to leave the country any time soon, that was not an option. Plus, I'd much rather be stuck here without a visa than be stuck outside trying to get in, so we opted for renewing here through Home Affairs, even if it takes longer. However, since you're already abroad, the embassy route may be what you've chosen and it may be fairly quick, at least that is what I heard...

W. A. Jeffrey said...

I'm SO glad I will be doing the temporary and permanent at the same time when my time comes and will hopefully be able to avoid the renewal morass (unless the issuance of the permanent visa takes more than 4 years which I doubt).