This isn’t a normal update – but after the past week I felt I had some good stories to tell :)
Firstly, I went to a huge WEDDING on Saturday! Two of my very good friends, who I met two weeks after arriving in China in February 2004. It was wonderful to celebrate with them – and it really was an amazing celebration! It was also a reunion of sorts, with 14 people from the BLCU small groups in 2004 all there. There were people I hadn’t seen in years – and some friends’ babies I’d never met! I have, of course, included a few photos.
That was only the beginning of my week, though (although definitely the high point of the week – if not the whole month!!)
You see, I’ve had a long week enduring the joys of visas.
On Monday I went to register in Beijing – only to be told that my visa expired last week! Turns out it was a 30 day visa, not a 3 month visa. When I registered in Langfang I guess they didn’t look closely at it cos the expiry date is listed on my police registration as sept 17.
I spent hours going from police station to police station – 9:30-4pm on Monday and 9-12 on Tuesday. I eventually got a ten-day certificate – not quite a visa extension, more of a notice issued by the visa over-stay people to say that I have reported and been punished and have been granted 10 days to apply for a new visa. I could have been fined up to 4,000 RMB ($600) but I just received a warning. The lady at the Immigration Bureau was very nice to me – she was surrounded by foreigners with very little English or Chinese, and no excuse for their overstay. I think she was happy to have someone who could communicate easily and openly admitted their error.
If I overstay another visa I WILL be fined. If I don’t apply for the one-year visa within the next ten days I have to go back to Australia.
Of course it takes 7 working days to get my working permit from the labour bureau (a document required for the visa application), so the agent went straight there. Unfortunately, he was told I already had a work permit from a previous job and had to bring that in. I’ve never held the permit personally – it stayed at BICF – so I contacted BICF, where a friend found the permit, and arranged for the agent to collect it from there.
The agent needed my passport at the labour bureau so I returned to Langfang with only a copy – scary, since at the moment I’m asked to show it very frequently. In fact, I bluffed my way through three document checks before it was returned! The agent gave it to one of my colleagues when he was in Beijing so he could bring back to me, and since I haven’t heard anything else from the agent, I figure things went well.
AND that’s my story. Gotta love China!!