Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Visa Renewal Time

I'm always surprised by how quickly time passes in Dubai.  I don't know if it's the perpetual sunshine that makes me lose track of time - I honestly couldn't understand why Wimbledon was on last week when it was surely still winter in the UK - but for whatever reason, it whistles past you like a desert shamal.  Hot on the heels of my three year Dubai anniversary, is my three year visa renewal. 

In case you're not familiar with the process, you have to have a visa to stay in Dubai on a permanent basis.  When you first arrive they will give you 30 days grace, which can be extended a bit, but if you don't have permanent residency you're forced to do visa runs every month - not ideal. 

To get your visa you have to submit umpteen pieces of paper, and go and have all sorts of medical checks, including x-rays and blood tests.  If you're lucky enough to work somewhere like DIFC (the financial centre) you simply nio downstairs to their state of the art medical centre.  If you don't work at DIFC (like me) you have to go to some godforsaken hospital in Deira which looks like something out of Platoon.  Less said about that the better.

I was super giddy to get my visa the first time round, it took an absolute age, and caused me a lot of stress as without it I had no bank account, amongst other things.  I used to get paid my monthly salary in cash, in an envelope.  Crazy times.  I also remember looking at the three year expiry date and wondering "will I ever need to remew this; will I really stay in Dubai that long...?"  Now you'll have to force me out by my fingernails....who ever could have predicted..?!

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