From the jaws of victory…

6 Feb

Vicki went to Immigration this morning in hopes of applying for her and the kids’ visas. I decided to go just in case we actually had enough docs together to make the applications today. A native speaker was supposed to accompany us, but she never showed due to problems at her house. Thankfully I was there and could interpret. The good news is that I understood almost everything. The bad news is that there was no more good news all day.

In order to make applications for Vicki the kids, I basically have to reproduce and re-notarize all the documentation that I just did for my visa FOR EACH AND EVERY VISA, plus produce three pay stubs from my Peruvian company, which hasn’t started paying me yet, plus get our marriage and birth certificates translated IN LIMA, plus…. I am ready to leave the country. The paperwork here is inefficient, inane, pointless, stupid, and moronic. The icing on the cake is that I can’t even leave the country WITHOUT MORE PAPERWORK! I have to present a certificate signed by the company’s legal representative showing all the money I have earned in the country, which is, at the current time, a big fat ZERO.

To complicate matters, there is the matter of Daniel’s expired tourist visa. Recall that Daniel received only 90 days because the immigration officer misunderstood me when we entered the country and refused to correct the error once I pointed it out. Based on the advice of another immigration clerk in Arequipa, we chose to pay the small fine ($1 / day) rather than leave the country to renew the visa. There is, of course, no way to renew it in country. What he didn’t tell us was that in order to pay the fine, you have to leave the country and reenter, anyway. I received this news calmly, but as the day continued to unwind, I seethed. To add insult to injury, when I paid the fine today with an anticipated departure date of Saturday, Banco de la Frustración overcharged me $24. No problem, I thought, that buys me 24 more days and maybe I shouldn’t rush into this. But no, back at Immigration they said “oh no, you can’t pay that far in advance. You would need to come back here a few days before you go.” So I went back to the bank to correct the error and then back to Immigration to stamp the passport. Now Daniel *has* to leave the country on Saturday and reenter.

The cheapest way out is the bus to Chile, which runs overnight. I would like to take Daniel myself, but recall that I can’t leave until I get the certificate signed by the current legal representative of the company, who is currently at the beach for two weeks. And of course, I can’t officially become the manager without his signature, either. So it looks like Vicki may have to go with Daniel by herself. Except one parent can’t take a minor out alone by law, so tomorrow I have to go to the notary to authorize Vicki to do it. The final sting is when I discovered that Chile charges a “reciprocity fee” of $160 for US citizens to enter the country, which is 10x more than the bus fare to get there. But there are no better alternatives. Bolivia requires a visa in advance and airfare to anywhere else is more expensive. So we will spend almost $500 and 2 nights on a bus to fix a problem that I detected and could have been solved 5 months ago before it was a problem. THANKFULLY, a friend who has been more than helpful has offered to arrange the travel and accompany them across the border and back.

Some of the people we have met here only come for 6 months out of the year (the maximum tourist visa). I can see the wisdom in that….

I spent the rest of the day with the accountant, lawyer, and others trying to find solutions and lost a day of language class while waiting for Immigration. Thankfully, Vicki did not miss class as I put her on the bus back to class when I realized what kind of a morning it was going to be. Please pray for our spirits and our upcoming travels. I cannot do this on my own and I wonder if I’m in over my head. I really do wonder. I haven’t felt so beaten down since… well, dealing with Immigration in Lima.



5 Responses to “From the jaws of victory…”

  1. Michael Keating February 6, 2014 at 7:02 am #

    David – I am so sorry for such a difficult day. It is interesting to think about what the extreme bureacracy there says about the people’s hearts and perspective but that is for another time.

    We will be praying for you today.



    • David Chandler February 6, 2014 at 8:01 am #

      Thanks very much, Mike. It is an interesting question you raise. I’m not sure that the actual requirements of the law here are much different than they would be in the U.S., but the manner of fulfilling the requirements is very outdated by our standards and requires much more time. The root issue appears to be extreme (and sadly, well-founded) distrust of people to do the right thing. “Common grace” is perhaps more easily understood by its absence.

  2. Paul Robyn February 6, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    David…sorry to hear about the run-around! We’ll be praying for you as you work through these bumps, hassles and irritations. God is sovereign…perhaps there is someone on that bus that Vicki or Daniel is supposed to talk with? Hang in there!

  3. Judy Chandler February 6, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    Yes, Paul, there’s got to be a reason for this extreme hassle and turn of events. Expecting miraculous results for the kingdom from this! Meanwhile, my heart is breaking.

  4. michael CHANDLER February 6, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    Whoa! What a day!  If you weren’t planning to leave Peru for a while, I’d be tempted to just let it ride and let your family hang out illegally.  One wonders how many foreigners may be doing just that. I guess looking back to the clerk who erred 5 months ago, you wish now (if you could have) stood firm that he correct it on the spot.  So sorry this has wasted all of your time.  My experience with other countries as well, has led me to believe the US is no longer the world leader in beauracracy.  We pray the bus ride to Chile will go well.

    Love,   Dad  

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