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Maria called an attorney today that advertised he did immigration law. When she got on the phone and explained our case, he said “I’ve never done that, but I can read the law and help you. Just come here and tell me what to do.” We decided we would stick with the attorney her family knows.
One of the requirements for my visa is a medical exam. Supposedly the Red Cross would do it for me. I went this morning with Maria’s father. I asked at the information desk about having the exam done as well as the necessary HIV test. The lady told me go to another window. I explained again what I needed and she told me to go upstairs. I went upstairs and the lady upstairs told me they only do the HIV test, nothing else, and that I should go back downstairs and pay the required fee. I did, got the test, and left.
We then went downtown so I could pay a fee to the Department of Defense that is required to get the visa. What this fee is for or why it is required nobody can really explain. So I arrived at the information window that is for the public and explained I needed to pay a fee. The official told me that I could only pay the fee if I had a national ID card and a receipt from the Census. You have to register with this Census as a way for the government to keep track of the number of foreigners living in the country. But you can’t do any of this without first having your visa in hand. This I explained. “Asi es,” was the reply. “So it is.” So many things defy logic yet nobody seems to either recognize this fact, or care that there is no logical explanation.
Later we checked with the attorney about these two issues, and he was surprised to hear that the Red Cross would no longer do the medical exam, and also surprised to hear that the Ministry of Defense would not allow me to make a payment. One regular feature of life here is that rules and regulations seem to change arbitrarily from day to day and from person to person.