Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Visa: It's Everywhere You Want to Be

A minus: 3 Months, 1 Week and 5 Days

I finally got a hold of my new shlichah (Israeli aliyah helper) yesterday. I had been calling my old shlichah, Shiri, who I met at the consulate in San Francisco last September to open my Tik Aliyah (aliyah file), to check about what I should do for my visa. After receiving no answer for some time, I heard from Noah (female), the new shlichah, who informed me that Shiri had left the job to have a baby.

Normally, an American landing in Israel can simply show his or her passport and have it stamped with a tourist visa which is good for 3 months. When I lived in Israel I met several semi-permanent "tourists" who had been in Israel for years. Every three months they would simply drive to the Egyptian border, cross over, then cross back to receive a brand new 3-month visa stamp upon re-entry.

The aliyah visa is a different story. The aliyah visa becomes necessary once in Israel in order to receive one's Teudat Zehut (personal identity card.) In order to receive a visa for aliyah, you first have to be approved for aliyah (which I am.) The visa is only valid for six months, so I had to wait until now to get it to avoid expiration before my departure date. When I last talked with Shiri, she had told me that I need to physically show up at the consulate, which would mean a trip out to San Francisco and missing at least half a day's work. But yesterday, talking to Noah, it sounds like it can all be done by mail. She sent me the paperwork to fill out, so now all that's left is to fill it out, mail the paperwork, four passport photos, and my passport to the consulate, and get it back. At that point, both my shlichah and Nefesh B'Nefesh want copies of the visa for their own purposes.

And the process moves forward...


Toto said...

hey.....just wanted to let you know...I gave the application to the consulate with my passport on Monday; received it just now from UPS, friday at 3!

Ephraim said...

That's a pretty quick turn-around!