We send an email with questions/concerns and set an appointment to see our attorney late Thursday. We inform friends of what sounds like our bad news. As a result our friend JJ sends a personal note to our attorney. Thursday at our appointment our attorney says she is going to the immigration office in-person on Friday and will plead for us to receive September appointments. We agree that since Anne’s degree has been approved by Senescyt I will move forward with the Professional Visa and William will become my dependent. Friday afternoon I receive an email from the attorney’s office that I have an appointment Monday morning and a list of documents I must provide. Yay! Next week sounds like it is going to be a lot better.
Monday I ride with Maria Elaina, an assistant to the attorney, and Janice, another expat, to the immigration office in Azogues, a 40 minute drive. Maria Elaina has assembled all of my necessary paperwork and I provide my passport. After a 45 minute wait I am called to a desk. I sign a form in two places, receive back my passport and I’m done for the day. On the drive Maria Elaina tells me that I will be informed of my next visa appointment via email, but it will be on Friday. I receive an email that afternoon that I am approved and must reappear on Friday to receive my Professional Visa.
In the interim William must extend his tourist visa, as his processing will not be completed before his standard 90 day tourist visa expires. He waits for instructions from our attorney on Tuesday, but nothing arrives by late afternoon so we send her an email and a WhatsApp message. Wednesday morning William receives an email to go to meet Evan (another of the attorney’s assistants) on the second floor of the Cuenca airport at 2:30 pm and to bring his passport and $151. The second floor of the airport is half food services and half government offices, an interesting arrangement. Some forms are filled out, Evan takes the $151 to a bank 20 minutes away, receives a receipt and returns to the airport. He and William turn in the paperwork and the receipt, hand over William’s passport for a few minutes and when it is returned William is told that he has a 90 day extension. If he leaves the country within the 90 days he may not return until next year. No issue - he is planning to have his Professional Visa in the next few weeks.
Friday afternoon Maria Elaina again drives me to Azogues. She takes my passport to a desk along with the confirmation of my 2:45 pm appointment. After a 30 minute stop in the waiting room I am again called to a desk where I sign a form in two places and collect my passport. I am told that the actual visa is now electronic and I will receive it via e-mail. Nothing is physically placed in the passport, though it’s advisable to print a copy and take it along when traveling. The visa pdf is in my in-box before we are back in Cuenca. I need my visa before William can apply for his visa as a dependent and Maria Elaina tells me that William’s appointment will be next Wednesday. He will receive instructions from her next week. One down, one to go!
I decide that it may be time to try out an exercise class both to help me get in shape and to meet new people. I do some research on Pilates and Qi Gong studios in the area, but am drawn to a new fitness gym that is just opening in El Centro. The owner is bi-lingual and claims that he will have classes aimed at gently building strength for expats and Ecuadorians. It’s his diplomatic way of saying he’ll have classes appropriate us old people. He offers four free classes and after that it’s $5 a class. The first class is just myself and Judy, another expat. By the fourth class we have five expats and one local women. I am sore after the Tuesday and Thursday classes, but I am enjoying them so will continue.