Thursday, June 19, 2008

Becoming a Permanent Resident of China (Parts 1 & 2)

Part 1
Most Chinese visa’s are only valid for 60 days, and in order to stay longer you have to either (a) leave the country and return (b) or apply for permanent residence. My visa is multi-entry and is valid for one year from the date I received it, but still only allows me to stay for 60 days. I was lucky to get the multi-entry visa when I did because China is tightening the requirements due the Olympics. Jim had the pleasure of completing this entire process first.

In order to apply for permanent residency, you have to have a temporary residence card first. So the first week I was here, I had to register with the local police department in order to become a temporary resident. Apparently I was supposed to do this within the first 48 hours of being in the country, but there was a mix-up in getting the paper work all together. Instead, the process was completed in about 72 hours, so for about 24 hours I think I was an illegal alien in the People’s Republic of China. (Sshhh… don’t tell.)

Part 2
AMD helps with the entire process and they arranged for me to have my medical examination this past Wednesday… this was a fun experience. My appointment was at 8am, and I was “Patient #5.” I had to supply my passport, three passport-sized photographs and Jim’s company’s business license for being over here.

The exam started with me changing into a hospital robe (booties over my shoes) and putting my stuff in a locker. From there they took my height and weight, and collected a blood sample and took my blood pressure (112/77 – even after having my blood drawn). I had an ultrasound, and they asked me if I ever had any surgeries. When it came time to have my vision checked, they tested to see if I was color blind and to see if I could tell which way the E’s were facing. From there I had an EKG and a chest x-ray.

All of this happened in “a hospital,” and all the other patients were going through the same stuff I was. It didn’t feel like a hospital, but like a hallway with a bunch of exam rooms off of it. Remember I was patient 5, and it didn’t seem that everyone else was going through in the same order I was. I think the women might have been following one path, and the men a different path. From comparing notes with Jim, we did have the exact same stuff done.

Jim compared the process to cattle being herded. Personally, I felt more like a mouse trying to run in a maze, because there was no clear order.

It was explained to me in the Culture Shock class that this is the legal avenue that the Chinese government uses to check if those applying for residence have HIV or AIDS or not. Apparently, a positive test result is the only thing that will have your application be denied.

The results of my exam will be delivered to the apartment next Tuesday. From there I will take: the temporary residence permit, my passport, my marriage license, my exam results, more photographs and some cold-hard cash to some government office to apply for the permanent residency. Like I said, this was a fun experience.

No comments: