Thursday, August 13, 2009

Suwon Immigration - The Joy of Bureaucracy

Today I was taken, along with Lyndsey, to the Suwon Immigration office. We were picked up at 7:30am outside our apartment by Mr. Bang, second incharge over at the main branch of OES. Lyndsey needed to have her Alien Card application sorted. I had to get an extension on my VISA and a re-entry permit so I can go to China and come back into Korea. Saves me from carting all my stuff with me.
We rock up at the unassuming immigration office just as the doors open. However the doors open 15 minutes before the staff start work. I suppose it gives people a chance to start queuing but doesn't make much sense to me.
Lyndsey and I were chatting away. I commented on the many stamps present in her passport and so she recanted tales of her trip through Africa, which sounded fantastic. In my original plans to go around the world without flying I wasn't planning on visiting Africa as there is a lot of land to cover there and sticking to the north meant easier overland travel but as my visions of future travels are changing I certainly plan on doing some traveling there.
Eventually the desks at the office were manned and, being early birds we were soon seen to. I needed my passport and green card, the forms had all been filled out for me. Mr. Bang told me halfway through the preceedings that I would have to go and buy three stamps. So I went over to a little desk in the corner and bought 3 stamps for 10,000 won each (five pounds). I took them back to the desk where the action was and was duely informed that I didn't need the stamps. Fortunately they were refundable. My only guess is that I needed to prove that I could buy the stamps. Go figure.

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