Friday, December 31, 2010

Everything you ever wanted to know about Chilean visas

Hello again! I hope the holiday season all went well for you. Here in Wisconsin, at least, we have like forty degree weather. I'm wearing shorts (this is not a lie!), but the reason is related to my packing efforts, not the weather (although that is a story for another time). Today I'm going to talk about my VISA!

For those who don't know, here is the official wikipedia definition of a visa:
A visa (from the Latin charta visa, lit. "paper that has been seen"[1]) is an indication that a person is authorized to enter the territory for which it was "issued", subject to permission of an immigration official at the time of actual entry

So basically, I need a special sheet of paper to live in Chile for longer than 90 days (which I will be doing). However, visas are ridiculously tedious and time consuming, and I can't even fully complete it until I have a family placement and a departure date (neither of which i have).

FUN FACT FOR YOU: all of my AFS information comes from a "portal" through which I applied and pay and get important paperwork. I sign on almost every day, because that would be where I find my host family and travel information and everything. I signed on after Christmas, when it said "new information" under the heading "travel notifications". I was very excited, naturally, because that would mean I have a departure date! Unfortunately, when I clicked on the link, the "new information" was just two words: "No Record". So a lot of excitement for nothing. Oh well, it means I'm having information soon, hopefully!

Back to my visa. There are a few things I can do already, like my fingerprints and HIV test, both of which i completed over break. For my fingerprints, I went to the University's police station, paid $10, and had a scary looking man take my fingerprints for me. I thought it was cool, though, and took a picture, which you can see here (if i figure out how to put pictures into the blog).
We immediately sent the prints, along with the paperwork for my background check, to the FBI, and i should get my results back someday.

Next, I got my HIV test. I had never gotten blood drawn, but it was surprisingly painless and easy. The lady drawing blood was really nice, and they only took out two vials. A few days later, we got the results: NEGATIVE! What a surprise :)

So that is all the visa stuff i have completed so far. I also need to do things like get three passport size pictures, but all of that sort of stuff is easy. Once I get a placement, that's when everything will get exciting.

I'll try to update again soon--I keep brainstorming blog post ideas when I'm bored. Cross your fingers for a placement for me soon!

And happy new year :)

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