Friday, June 21, 2013

Immigration update

It took two more trips to the Immigration office in Cancun, on Thursday and Friday, after Monday's all-day affair, to get Nan squared away with her official permission to leave and return. What we did not realize until Thursday is that in order to get the permission, one must first complete the residency card requirements. They are not completely separate processes, but this was never communicated to us. Instead, we waited (and waited) for one of the officers to approve Nan's documentation (for a second time), with the correct number of copies of everything this time, and to give her a number in line for fingerprinting, which we wrongly assumed was a permission requirement.

It was mid-afternoon by the time an officer took Nan's fingerprints and handed her a paper towel but no solvent. The officer then asked to see Nan's face photos, which we had taken at a photo studio in Isla Mujeres after our first trip to Immigration. She frowned and said the face images in the photos were too small; the photos would need to be retaken. I could see Nan start to lose her composure. Heck, I was losing mine. The officer then asked to see Nan's bank receipt for the 3,130-peso fee for her residency card, which Nan didn't have yet because she assumed she was processing her permission, not her residency card. We hastily thanked the officer and said we would return with the receipt and the new photos. We were both shaking with anger by the time we were back outside. Nan said, "Screw it!", or words to that effect. "I am not coming back here! I will just tell the airport people that I lost my travel visa and pay the fine."

We had cooled down by the time we reached the ferry terminal for the ride back to Isla Mujeres, and we decided that it would be too risky to claim a lost travel visa. What if it caused Nan to miss her flight? Instead, we would go back to Cancun early the next morning when the Banjercito bank opened, pay the fee, make the copies and get the new photos, but not wait in line again. "Regresemos" (We are returning), we would say to the guard, and we hoped he would recognize us and let us in.

Well, it worked. Of course, it took most of the day again, with a two-hour wait for final document processing, but then Nan was the proud owner of a very official-looking document giving her permission to leave the country of Mexico, which she did bright and early on Monday morning. She is back in Wisconsin now, attending to her mother and making plans for her return, hopefully late next week and possibly with Scout.

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