12 December 2007

a very bad day at the home affairs department

I waited in line another day at the South African Department of Home Affairs. Luckily, Stef was with me and the three hour march of pain went a little faster Tuesday than it did on Monday.

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The good news pretty much ended there. Once we were in front of the officers designated to rule on our visa extension applications, things went rapidly downhill.

They approved us through February 3rd, after which time we will be illegally in the country and, technically, illegal aliens.

They said that we cannot technically be on holiday here for more than 6 consecutive months. We would have to return to our country of origin (USA) and then reapply for an extension, which they may or may not grant.

We asked what would happen if we attempted to leave (flee) the country in March (as planned) if we were illegal. They let us know that we would be stopped at the immigration office and forced to pay a hefty fine. Otherwise, our 5 weeks of illegality would be largely nominal, largely inconsequential.

There was also a slim possibility that we could apply for another type of visa, which would cost us an enormous amount of money (more than a hefty fine) and an enormous amount of time. This option looks highly unlikely.

What hangs over all of this is the rumor that scofflaws (like us) who leave the country while illegal in status will be forever banned from re-entering the country.

We don’t really know what to think. We do know that God has a plan and a purpose and somehow everything will be worked out. In the mean time, we are looking into every solution possible and preparing our hearts for the idea that the costs of this trip (financial and otherwise) may get even greater.

Sigh. Pray and trust with us.

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  1. I had a simular situation in Kenya, except that I wanted my Visa extended for only 3 days. The person behind the desk told me that I was in Kenya illegally and threatened me with arrest and deportation. I was terrified that he was going to arrest me, that I would wind up in a Kenyan jail cell and no one would know where I was. And then we had a staring contest. On the back wall hanging over his head was a sign that stated "Report corruption right away". I'm pretty sure that he was waiting for me to offer money to "fix" the situation but it wasn't happening. He relented, lectured me and stamped my extention request. Whew! All that to say this...Yes, God is in charge of all things. Maybe He wants you two home sooner, maybe He wants you to see how wonderful He is. Who knows, but you are in His hands and it's all good! :)


  2. this stinks...bad. but on the other hand (me being selfish!) i wouldnt mind having christmas in february instead of march!! haha =) i love you guys!