Tuesday, July 6, 2010


So while there are a TON of benefits in being an international teacher (the travel, the adventure, the new learning experiences, the cultural exposure and so on), there are downsides too (missing lots of family and friend events, never being really settled, and so on). Right now I am dealing with another major downside: the frustration of dealing with foreign embassies for visas and so on. My newest teaching position is with a wonderful school in Ankara, Turkey. Unfortunately, a lot of the leg work and cost for the visa needs to be done on my side of things. I'm a seasoned traveler and have no issues with applying for a visa etc. I did what I always do: I've asked the questions, done the research (or tried to) on the internet and so on. Well, this time it's not gone so well. The Turkish Embassy website has information about applying and how to go about doing that. It even lists who needs what kind of visa to enter the country. To apply you need to have all the forms filled out, a picture attached, your passport and the cost of the visa... OH WAIT, they don't list the cost of the visa ANYWHERE online. No problem, right? Right! I make the call only to be told by the consulate nearest me that they don't process visas there so they have no idea on the cost. They I call the embassy itself to be told that they don't know either and to call back the next day (um.... HOW. DO. YOU. NOT. KNOW how much a visa costs for your country when you WORK at the embassy?!?!?!!?). I keep it together, say thanks and promptly call back early the next morning. I am then transferred to a consular call center (which I assume - I know, I know... Ass, U, Me - is just for Canada) and am left on hold for nearly an hour. When I do get through, it becomes clear that this call center might be for ALL of North America if not points beyond. I can hear loads of voices in the background answering other frustrated callers' questions. So I ask about the cost and it goes a little something like this:

Me: Hi. I was just wondering how much it would cost for a work visa?

Her: Okay, hang on a second. (she flips through the pages in front of her to find the information) Where are you calling us from?

Me: Canada, near Vancouver.

Her: Hm... okay. Ah, yes, it is $150 for one year.

Me: Well, I have a contract for 2 years. What is the cost for... (I don't get to finish because she interrupts me)

Her: for more than 1 year it is 405.


Her: yes.

Me: um... okay... umm... yea, thanks.

Her: Good bye (all sing-songy and sweet)

Me: yea, bye.

Can you believe that?!?! $150 for a year's work visa and $405 for more than a year?!?! That's some highway robbery if you ask me (which I am sure you didn't). *sigh* So now I don't know what to do and I am frustrated that I have to figure this all out. I've emailed the school's magic worker to see what she thinks and I will follow her advice.

So you see, it's not all fun and games folks.


AprilMay said...

Oh my freakin good lord! It is cheaper just to buy a one-year visa and then another one right? You will probably leave Turkey for the summer anyway? I hope you get an email back soon! Ugh!

AngelaMae said...

I know, right? I hope that they see that it's unreasonable to expect me to pay $405 before getting there. I would get reimbursed but it takes 3-6 weeks to get that back and that's a LONG time when you are starting out in a place.

Shaun Guthrie said...

Like AprilMay said can you just get it for one year, and then re-apply after? Does that work?

If that's the cost that's the cost though. Countries are allowed to do whatever because your entering their country. However, everything happens for a reason so who knows maybe you'll get reimbursed quicker when your over there.

Keep your chin up, it will work out

AngelaMae said...

Hey Shaun... I know it will work out and I don't mind paying for $150 of a visa processing but it seems silly to pay $405 when my passport expires in May 2012 and then I'd have to pay all over again.
I am sure that doing a one year and then another one year would be the best solution as well, but I don't want to decide that and upset my potential employers.

Tassie Rachel said...

I hope you can get it sorted quickly. It is so frustrating trying to get visas and passports sorted. I hope your new school is helpful in getting it sorted.