I'm in visa limbo right now... how about you?

in #expat9 months ago

I realize that this only applies to a certain portion of population out there and probably isn't even relatable by a lot of my online pals that seem to be content with where they are living and don't move around a ton like I do.

In the past, for those of your that have followed and interacted with me for a while, you are probably aware of the fact that I lived in Thailand for many years and only relatively recently moved to Vietnam. Initially, I didn't want to move to Vietnam but Thailand was making it very difficult for digital nomads to stay in the country.

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In my last 2 years in Thailand, I had a work permit for one of them but it was of, let's just say, questionable legality since I wasn't technically employed by the company in question. The last year, I was on a student visa where I studied at a martial arts school in Chiang Mai. People had been using this student visa as a loophole to get never-ending visas but studying this and that and some of the bad apples didn't ever turn up to class. Schools got raided and found out that the students were not actually attending class and it became quite obvious that the various educational facilities were merely pretending to have courses in some of the worst situations. I went to class every time I was supposed to although I did call in sick a few times when I just wanted to go on vacation.

I possibly could have extended this another year but from what we were hearing from the agencies there was a very good chance that the visa would be rejected and then you would lose a bunch of money and in a worst case scenario not allowed back in the country. They were advising that I return home to USA and get a new passport and then apply for the education visa there. This would all be fine and dandy if it weren't for the fact that I absolutely can not be locked out of the country because of this little fluffball.

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The fear I have of not being able to get back in to take her with me to wherever I end up going is too great for me and causes me a tremendous amount of worry. Therefore I thought it would be better to simply find a new home even though I had called Thailand my home for over 15 years at that point.

I would say we quite like it here in Vietnam: It is cheap, there is plenty of beach space for her to run around, daddy (me) saves a ton of money on rent and especially booze which is basically free here, and the visas for Americans are very easy to accomplish and apparently never-ending provided you are willing to cross a border every so often to renew your stamp - which is something I have never understood and it is not unique to Vietnam. Many countries have this very bizarre policy.

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I will not leave her, even if it means I have to violate a country's visa policies in order to make that happen. Vietnam seemed like a wonderful new home for us and then Covid happened.

At the moment all of us here that were on tourist visas have been privy to an amnesty of sorts since travel to and fro isn't exactly going on at the moment. I knew a few people that were here on vacation and got trapped because borders shut down back in their "home" country. Home is in quotes because their home is Thailand or Cambodia or Singapore or something and those countries do not consider the expat population to be a priority. Sure, they could fly back to their home country (at great expense) but they don't want to live there and it is why they are over here in the first place....

I work online the same a vast majority of the non-retired expat community here in Vietnam and the government is extremely aware that we are not tourists and that we are all living here and working online... They just seem to have a certain sensibility about them where they don't care provided we pay visa fees (which are minimal), don't break laws (shouldn't do that anyway), and keep spending money here.

All of the surrounding countries including the one I was basically forced out of should really have the same policy and I have never understood how Thailand would complain about lack of tax revenue with one breath and then talk about kicking 10s of thousands of long-term expats out of the country in the next breath.


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So the way it is now is that I am very happy to stay where I am. I really like it here in Vietnam but I do have a looming concern that could possibly become a very big issue in the not-too-distant future: What are we all going to do when the visa amnesty period abruptly changes? It's not like I can just fly out of the country and fly back in and get another year visa (which is what everyone has done in the past.)

So that is what I mean when I say that I am in limbo. I do not know what the future holds and yes, I am worried about it. I will overstay and break the law in order to get my dog safely with me to my next place of residence even if it means that I would be blacklisted from this country in the process. I will not be separated from my dog who has basically been my child for the past 7 years.

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There is zero chance that I would abandon this little girl, regardless of the consequences it has on me

I'm sure that those of you out there that have a borderline unhealthy relationship with your dog pals can probably relate to this. For the time being though, I would really like some clarification from the government about what sort of visa options we have but unfortunately, no one really seems to have those answers. Hopefully, once things do open back up, they will provide us with a reasonable amount of time to get our affairs in order before they kick us out.

Seeing as how all of these countries that depend on tourism for their country's income, I would like to believe that sensibility would prevail and they would actually be giving us opportunities to stay as long as we want. However, government is rarely sensible in any country that I've ever lived in and I doubt that this one will be an exception.

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I could totally relate to how loved are the pets to the owner. Government is shady be it of any place.
Hope you find a good way to keep nadi by your side and escape any problems that future may behold.
Have a lovely weekend, keep flourishing :)

I have suffered some similar situation in the Netherlands while trying to renew my visa. But even if your visa gets rejected, you won't get kicked out. They give you time to appeal, and there is another loophole between denial, appeal, denial 2, etc etc.

I hope you can figure something out. And I'd love to read about your experience living over there too.

Best,
:)

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