more entanglements with bureaucracy

Well, I am nearly ready to send in my application for my New Zealand student visa. In addition to filling out a 20 page application, getting passport pictures taken, and photocopies of several official documents detailing my acceptance at Vic and my financial arrangements, I am also required to submit proof that I am a physically healthy individual, unlikely to put undue strain on the New Zealand health-care system, and provide the authorities with evidence of my good character.

In order to accomplish these 2 final steps, I have had to figuratively jump through a number of increasingly irritating hoops.

Step 0 – get fingerprints taken in Illinois last time I was home to send to the FBI for my “police certificate”, or essentially evidence that I do not have a police record and am not one of America’s Most Wanted.

Step 1 – Phone several doctors and clinics to find one that will see me and do the necessary tests. Go to the post office, get a $18 USD money order for $25 CAD, mail to the FBI, along with my finger prints.

Step 2 – Go to the St-Henri walk-in clinic, pay $50, wait 2 hours to see a doctor for all of about 5 minutes, while he looks at my documents, takes my blood pressure, and signs one page.

Step 3 – Walk up the mountain to the Montreal General Hospital, pay $260 to get my blood drawn, pee into a cup, and be given a large orange jug, which I am instructed to pee into for the next 24 hours, and return the following day with the full jug for further testing. They instructed me to keep the jug in my fridge during this time, where hopefully one of my roommates would mistake it for orange juice and drink it.

Step 4 – Ride my bike in the snow to the Montreal Chest Institute.  Pay $35, get my chest x-rayed.

Step 5 – Wait.

Step 6 – Call the clinic to see if my results have arrived. They have.  I prepare to pay another $50 to see the doctor for another 2 minutes.

Step 7 – Call the FBI to check up on my police certificate that I submitted 4 weeks ago.  Hey, guess what, the FBI is so backlogged they still don’t even have a record in their system that I’ve submitted a request.

“Wait a week or 2 and call back.”, they advise me.

“This is the final document I need to submit my student visa application.  I’m leaving the country in 5 weeks and don’t have a visa.  I requested expedited service.  Why does it take so long?”

“Sorry ma’am.  We have a huge backlog.  We can only guarantee 8-10 weeks processing time.”


Step 8 – Wait.  Panic.

Step 9 – Reflect on all of the documentation I’m submitted for this visa, and how money I have spent, now nearly $400, not including the actual application fee to the NZ consulate, and the courier fees for overnighting it to Ottawa and then back to Montreal. Worry that my application, when I do submit it, will be rejected for some inane reason.

Step 10 – Decide I can’t do anything about it, I’ve done everything in my power to take care of all these matters in a timely manner, using my best time & resource management skills (which, according to Susan Miller, Leo’s are great at), and leave it all in Buddha’s hands.

On my mind, throughout this entire process, I must admit I’ve been thinking”No way would Ticker go through with any of this.” And resigned myself to the thought that he probably will never apply for a 1 year working holiday visa.  Who knows, maybe he’ll prove me wrong? Again, this is all in big B’s hands.

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