Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mom's Visa

Mom's visitor visa is about to expire and we've been waylaid in our efforts to apply for her residency visa by smashed cars and fevers. Initially, when J and Mom went to immigration, she was flat out denied on the grounds that J could not sponsor an in-law (they recently made a new no in-laws rule). After talking to a few people at HR we were told there is an appeal process and we should gather a few more documents including letters stating why we want her here. Mom and I took in our letters that were translated into Arabic back to immigration (J was on the way to the translator with the letters when he was rear-ended).

After reading the letters, the poobah at Immigration that hands out the numbers and sends you to the right counter, told us we needed an mpost and to go to counter 3. This mpost word had been thrown around before and we could not get anyone to explain what on earth it was, how long it would take or how much it would cost. Turns out and mpost is a tiny piece of paper (stamp) that you pay AED15 (about $5) for that says you paid AED 15. Hmmm - I still don't really know what it is, but a least it was cheap and only took us about 10 minutes to get since there is an office on site that does this.

At counter 3 we were told to go to counter 4. The man at counter 4 said that we still needed a statement from J declaring him to be responsible for Mom. Before, we had be told by several people (HR and immigration) we might need the US embassy to write a letter saying Mom was dependent on us; which just didn't seem right or possible, especially since it isn't completely true. Just by changing the word dependent to responsible we saw a ray of hope in the situation.

Mom and I went to the Canadian Embassy and finally had some one who's first language is English explain what we needed. Unfortunately, she said we really needed the US Embassy to do it since J is the one with the work visa to sponsor Mom. Yesterday Mom and J went to the US Embassy with the letter we wrote. They were able to get the US Embassy to authenticate the sworn statement that John signed in front of them (official seals, stamps, embossing, etc).

Today, Mom and I went back to Immigration. This time J was not home to watch the kids, so we dropped Little Girl at school and took Baby Boy with us (not ideal, but it was too late to arrange a sitter and too late to wait for another day). First we drove the rental car (smashed car is still in the shop) to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get the UAE version of authentication stamp. That went well taking about an hour that mom and I spent having breakfast at Carrefour (walking distance from MFA). After picking up the newly authenticated document, Mom and I decided to take a cab instead trying to find a parking spot that late in the day at Immigration.

We found a line of taxis waiting outside Carrefour and went off to Immigration (baby boy fell asleep on the way) We got a number from the soldier next the poobah and quickly realized he had given us a "jump ahead in line" number. The counter was serving 436, but Mom had number 404. The gentleman that held 437 was NOT happy about this, especially since he had been displaced previously by a women with 402. I was across the room with a sleeping baby and couldn't help, but Mom held her ground! Way to go Mom!

Counter 3 guy sent us to Counter 4 guy (maybe he just has better English?) who told us we should have the newly authenticated document translated into Arabic. So we go back out front to the taxi stand. This time there isn't a line of taxis, but a line of people waiting. A woman in an Abaya (long black dress and head scarf) jumps the line when a cab finally shows up, we finally get one and head further downtown to the legal translator. The guy we normally use is booked up so we tried next door and we were able to talk her into doing it in an hour. So again we wait and eat lunch (lebanese shawarma- yum). After lunch we pick up the translation and take another cab back to Immigration.

There was a shift change so there wasn't a soldier next to poobah number guy and counter 3 and 4 had different people. This time Mom waited her turn, but it wasn't long. Again, baby boy had fallen asleep in the taxi, so he was nice and quiet. At counter 3 the man looked through all the papers and actually kept them. Which means we have ALL the papers they want. Whew! It only took 5 tries. I wish I could say that they issued a visa, but they didn't. It has to go to the appeal committee. I certain hope they convene soon (Sunday and Monday are holidays) and decide in our favor.


  1. Thanks for the update! I've been wondering how that whole situation was going. We sure miss you over here!!! We'll keep praying for your mom & that they approve her appeal to stay. I know you'd be so blessed to be able to keep her! Much love and many hugs from Parker!!! :)

  2. Best wishes for a great outcome - it bet it would be so hard for you without your mom! How is she adjusting to Abu Dabi?