Thursday, August 28, 2014

la bureaucratie m'encule

Today's trip to Immigration felt like a waste of time. I got to the office at 9AM, but that's not early enough: my ticket number was 65, and it took two hours to get to me. When I finally got to sit down with a staffer, he told me I needed to go across the hall to the other room, where they apparently dealt exclusively with E-1 visa matters. He reassured me, though, that the wait wouldn't be long, and he was right: I was helped within three minutes.

But I got bad news: I was, in that most classic of bureaucratic scenarios, missing a document. My papers were not in order, ja? There's apparently a document called an ijeok-dongeui-seo that my previous employer was supposed to issue to me. Ijeok means "transfer"; dongeui means "agreement"; seo means, in this context, "document." So this document was essentially written permission from my previous university to transfer over on the same E-1 visa to my new university. I never got it because I didn't know I was supposed to get it, and no one at my previous job had said anything about it, either.

What's frustrating is that, when I called the 1345 Immigration hotline number, the lady told me I needed to bring a whole raft of documents—about nine—but she never once mentioned the ijeok-dongeui-seo. So I blame her for this fuckup. I asked the immigration staffer, before I left his desk, whether there were any other documents I might need to bring, or was this the only one? He responded like a politician, saying, "This seems to be the only one." Christ, that was frustrating. Seems?

So the plan is now to go back to Immigration next Wednesday. Classes will have started by then, and I'm normally scheduled to work at the Golden Goose on Wednesdays, but I've got little choice but to make Immigration a priority. I had wanted to resolve everything by today, before my previous employer's contract ends, but it looks as though I have no choice but to do the visa renewal/extension after my new contract kicks in.

My brother David texted me to ask what I would be doing for my birthday, which is this coming Sunday, August 31, the day before classes begin. "No money, so not much," I texted back. "Probably walking up Namsan!" And that's very likely how I'm going to mark turning 45. A few days after that milestone, I'll be legal in this country once again.


1 comment:

Max Becker-Pos said...

I remember once I went with a Brit and an American to the Immigration Center in Mapo-gu. We took our numbers and then walked over to some big box store to kill time, After browsing for a while, we suddenly realized we had lost track of time and would soon lose our places in line. We took a taxi on the way back, but the driver was a doddering old gent who could barely negotiate the speed limit. My Brit friend was exasperated at the well-meaning codger's slow pace. In a burst of vituperation, he enjoined the septuagenarian driver: Needless to say, I was quite embarrassed.