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This morning I dragged myself out of bed ‘early’ to go to the immigration office and extend my E2 visa a whopping six days till Julianne and I leave Korea–and it was an easy and stress free experience (unlike other visits to other offices I’ve done during my time here).
I got to the office about 30 mintues early and there were already about 25 other people waiting outside in the hallway. The temperature must have been 35 or something because after five minutes of waiting I was soaked in sweat. I mean it was so hot and humid in the hallway that just standing there waiting made me sweat . . . it’d be nice if sometime in the future Koreans learn about CENTRALIZED heating and air conditioning, and that keeping windows shut keeps the heat and humidity outside . . . but I highly doubt I’ll be around to witness that paradigm shift.
At about twenty minutes to nine a guy suddenly appears in front of the door to the office and begans handing out waiting number tickets. I was only 8 feet or so from him when I realized why everyone was suddenly swarming around him and I got to him just as he handed out his last one to another guy who had only just shown up, and of course he decides to stand right in front of what I thought was a prime waiting location just 7 or 8 feet from the door to the office–POOH!
I was a bit peeved cause the guy’d only brought out about 10 tickets and I wondered what the point of that was . . . but about two minutes later he reappeared and I snagged #15 in the line up.
Finally, about five minutes before 9am, the door was opened and everybody mobbed the opening trying to get in. I made a beeline for the application paper stations and found the form I needed. I then filled out what I needed to, and walked over to the ‘stamp booth’ (the place you pay for stamps you need to put on your forms). I paid and got my stamps and then went to find a seat to wait for my number to come up.
I waited about 15 minutes which is pretty awesome for an immigration office.
The immigration officer who helped me had good English, and was polite and friendly. This has NOT always been the case when I’ve had to go to different immigration offices and I was really happy that my last interactions with an immigration officer went well. REALLY HAPPY!
As a kind of ‘bonus’ to all this the officer told me that I didn’t have to pay to extend my stay six days. The fee for extending your visa is 30,000won. I guess that only applies to people actually renewing and extending their visa. The officer told me that this was my ‘final extension’–I guess that means if I wanted to stay longer I’d have to redo everything in the application process . . . yeah, NO THANKS!
After finishing typing some stuff into the computer the officer then told me that I’d get my alien registration card back today. I hadn’t thought about the fact that they might need to hold onto it to write on the back that I’d visited the office and officially extended my stay. Luckily, I only had to wait about five minutes and then a guy called out my name and gave me back my passport and alien registration card.
And that’s my story.
There are only 11 days left for me in Korea, and it’s kind of mind boggling. I can’t believe I’m leaving, and with all the different things I still have to left to do in order to get ready to leave I’ve hardly been able to sleep at night–and that’s unusual for me.
Anyways, last night’s walkabout with my camera seemed to help my stress levels a little so maybe I’ll get out and do that again tonight IF the heat and humidity die down a little.
Maybe . . . air conditioning might just keep me in my apartment with Julianne watching Discovery Channel or National Geographic.