Monday, July 15, 2013

Visa Problems

We are way too busy. But it's all for good reasons, so it's working out.

Right now, I am doing double-duty at two Branch projects. I work Monday/Friday/Saturday at one project, and Tuesday/Wednesday at the other. The Assembly Halls are like 10 minutes from each other, which will be good next week when Zach goes back to work for his department. He's going to have to drop me off at one location, go to the other, come pick me up, go back to the other, then go home at some point, which requires passing by the first Hall again.
I want to move our trailer down to the site, know....that involves effort.

It's amazng how many friends come from all over for these projects. There's a ton from Colorado, but that makes sense, since the Aurora Assembly Hall just finished, those friends already know how to get things done.

Right now, Zach has some side jobs going, just that extra little push right before we leave. Plus, he has to finish his Scuba certification before August. We are going to take a trip to Roatan this time around, I'm making sure of it.

I am feeling a little less stressed about my to-do list than last time I posted. We have our plane tickets to Colorado, plane tickets to San Pedro Sula, and bus tickets to La Ceiba all bought. We have a ride from the bus station to our house, which is good since it will be really late at night when we get there. So getting to Honduras is figured out. Getting to El Salvador- not so much. We are waiting to get a recommendation on which congregation we should visit there, and after that I can start planning our border-hop. However, we do know what is happening after our 180 days, when it is time to make the visa run. Hello, Costa Rica! I was thinking a week long vacation would be nice, but now I'm starting to think we might just need to spend three months there too.

At some point, we should probably consider settling down...But thanks to the awesome lack of visa-getting information, I don't think that will happen. Here's the deal. Every country will let you stay about 90 days. Some will let you extend on a per-case and exorbitant fee basis. After that, you have to leave the country if you don't have a visa that says you can stay longer. So I say "Great, I want to stay longer, how do I get a Visa?" The embassy tells me "You are an American Citizen, you don't need a visa, you can stay 90 days." Ok, but I want to stay longer. How do I get a visa? "You don't need a visa." Yes, I do. "No, you don't"
You see where I'm going with this?

The other problem, is a lot of these countries also require you to know when you are leaving ahead of time. So if you go to immigration and say "I would like to stay for 6 months and I have not bought a plane ticket home because you people won't tell me for another three months if I can stay here or not" they may decide not to let you enter the country at all until you can prove you're leaving.

Now, where this gets extra confusing is when you try to travel between El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. See, those countries have a pact to "make travel between neighboring countries easy" where you can pretty much border hop as much as you want for 90 days. Once those 90 days are up, however, you have to file for an extension- which you may or may not get- or leave all four countries for 72 hours. What that means, is we have to go all 90 days in Honduras, and on the very last day, get to the border of El Salvador and plead our case so they let us in. If they don't, we have to immediately buy a plane ticket to someplace far away, so that we don't run the risk of staying in the country too long and getting deported.

And I'm probably missing something important in all that.

Right so... 49 days until we leave for Colorado. 61 to Honduras.


  1. I know about Visa problems. We just got back from a 900 kilimter trip to renew our passports and we may have to do it again soon for our long-visas which the country is refusing to give out right because of up coming elections. It's all such a pain. Can't wait for a world without borders!

    A Missionary's Life

  2. It is the price we pay to serve where the need is greater. At least so far in Nicaragua we haven't had any problem getting the extra 90 days in Managua. This year when we return we will have to go to Costa Rica after the 180 days. Glen and Jenny came to see us in Nica for their 90 day renewal, I think Honduras accepted it as leaving, coming to Nicaragua. You could email them and ask, may help out some.