Sunday, December 16, 2001

Bureaucracy is your friend.


Thought you'd heard the end of me for a while ? Think again ! Scott and I have booked our flights to Toronto for the Christmas holidays.

This wasn't without much hassle. Scott is not entitled to any vacation days until he has worked at his job for a year. His work was nice enough to give him one day off because he had so far to travel. I have accumulated enough days for a longer vacation.

Booking the flights four weeks in advance was an absolute nightmare. The original plan was to fly out on the red-eye on the 21st (Friday). I had the flights all picked out, and was ready to book pending the final verdict from Scott's work. Within two hours, the price for the flight doubled.

So much for plan A.

We didn't have a whole lot of time, as flights were filling fast. Luckily, has the option of reserving seats on flights for a period of 48 hours. We did this for flights on Thursday, which turned out to be our saving grace. The next day, when appropriate permission from Scott's work had been obtained, the prices for the Thursday flights had doubled. Our reservations were given to us at the discounted price.

Were we ready to breathe a sigh of relief ? Nope. I mistakenly booked the wrong flight for myself, leaving at 12:00 noon on Thursday instead of the red-eye that Scott was on. I called Air Canada, begging them to change it, and they informed me I would have to pay an extra $600 to make up for the difference in ticket prices. So much for that idea.

I was informed by my lawyer that we should obtain letters from our employers confirming our employment from them in light of the increased security. I had no problem obtaining this for myself. When I called Scott's lawyer, he had some sombering news. Scott is not yet allowed to travel.

We have sent in, and received the receipt for, the last stage of our Green card process. Because of the type of visa I'm on, I can travel with my visa paperwork and the receipt. However, since Scott is on a different type of visa, he is not allowed to travel until the INS grants him travel authorization.

We applied for travel authorization over 3 months ago. The INS took a month to process the application, then informed my lawyer that they had lost my pictures. I had to have the pictures re-taken. This in itself is not a big deal, as travel authorization for me is merely a formality. However, Scott needs the paperwork to travel on the 20th.

I found through the web that the INS had been processing applications on the date we submitted ours for over a month. I informed my lawyer, who called the INS. The good news: Scott was approved for travel authorization on the 12th. The bad news: If we don't receive the paperwork in our hands by the 20th, he will not be able to travel.

The INS doesn't allow us to pick up the paperwork, nor do they have the option of couriering it for an extra charge. We have to WAIT for them to put it in the mail (which apparently takes "a while"), and then WAIT for the mail to get here.

Let's keep our fingers and toes crossed that we get that paper before Thursday.

As it stands, I will be arriving at 8:00pm on Thursday the 20th, and will be flying out on January 2nd. I will have Christmas and New Year's in Toronto. If all goes well, Scott will be arriving at 6:00am on Friday the 21st, and leaving in the evening of the 25th. For the Toronto people, we will be hosting a party at my parents' house on Sunday, December 23rd at 1:00pm. Please keep that day open if you can. An invite will follow.

Now, for a quick update.
[see next post]


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