Where to begin?! Well, as October 4th approached I knew there would be complications. My Residency visa would expire and required some updates. Not only did I have to update my marital status, I also had to update my address, while also renewing my Residency visa. Turkish bureaucracy is a wild and unique beast. It is far from the 9 pages of directions provided by the US government for each document you must complete for any US visa. Instead, the policies change rapidly and there is not one source for consistent and up-to-date information. On top of that, everyone is an expert and you will be told three different answers from three different experts. Additionally, the bureau is underfunded and overworked. So, imagine the fun. We completed my visa application after two unsuccessful attempts. First, we went to the wrong office. The second time, we did not have the correct official documents.
On top of that, there was a lovely little surprise. Remember, there is no clear set of information available about this application. So, we arrive to visit number two, only to learn that I have been illegally in the country for two months. Apparently, when my old employer cancelled my work visa, they also cancelled my residency visa. This minor detail was never mentioned to me. Now, this sounds much worse to American ears. Of course, this is Turkey, and if you talk to the right person and pay the right fee, there is a solution for everything. Thus, we talked to several people and paid the fee of 120 dollars to move forward with the process.
In the end, after obtaining bank information to prove that I had the funds to support myself, visiting two different police stations, talking to more than 4 different police officers, a 20 minute walk in search of the tax office where I had to pay several different and independent fees and a 15 minute conversation entirely in Turkish with the officer responsible for laminating my visa with a machine that was older than him, I picked up my visa on Friday.