Our trip there was uneventful. We didn't have any lines crossing the border into Hungary, and despite the heavy fog that morning, we made pretty good time. While our coworker took care of his things at the embassy, Jonathan and I walked around Budapest for a little bit.
St. Stephen's Basilica was just one block down the road from the embassy. We didn't go inside, as it would have cost us to get in and we didn't have a whole lot of time. But the outside was beautiful!
|"I am the way, the truth, and the life."|
|Don't you love the black van obscuring the view??|
After walking around the basilica, we walked up and down a couple of the nearby streets, peering in shop windows and enjoying the gorgeous day.
Soon we met back up with our coworker, made a couple other quick stops, and got back on the road. After a couple hours we reached the border, getting out of the car to stretch our legs while we waited for immigration to process everything for our re-entry. When the officer returned our passports, he declared that I most definitely could not stay any longer than 30 days in Romania. "Thirty days maximum, and then she must return to America." We were quite surprised at his declaration, but thanked him and drove off down the road, figuring he was probably just trying to intimidate us and throw his weight around. Everyone coming into the country gets 90 days... it should be the same for me, too, right?
After we got home, we started looking around online to see if there was some reason the officer would have told us this. And sure enough, a few months ago immigration laws changed so that one can no longer stay more than 90 days in the country within any 6 month period. Once you've been in 90 days, you have to be out 90 days.
This was quite disturbing news, as you can imagine. We hadn't been in any rush to apply for my residency because in the past you have always been able to go out and re-enter the country to get a new 90-day visa. Our plan was to get a fresh 90-day stamp, send my passport in to the embassy to get my name changed, and then begin working on residency stuff. But the Lord had other plans. Instead of 90 days to work on everything, we now had less than 30.
So we quickly got all of my passport documentation together and called the courier to come pick up our package. They said they would come Friday. Friday came and went with no courier. We called again that evening, and they said they had it marked to be picked up on Saturday, and that it would still arrive at the embassy first thing Monday morning. No problem. Saturday we waited for the courier to come, but again, he never showed. We called the office again, only to discover that they closed early in the afternoon. It would have to wait until Monday.
Monday we went into town and dropped our package off at the office. The lady was very nice and apologetic for the mishap. She told us the passport would arrive at the embassy by 10 the next day. Upon leaving the office we walked the couple of blocks to the center of town where many shops, offices, and services are located. One of the requirements for me to get residency is to turn in a translated copy of my marriage license (since my reason for getting residency is because I am married to a permanent resident). So we stopped in to inquire about the service at one translation place. They informed us that they were unable to do it because our license didn't have the necessary colored stamp on it. It is a certified, sealed legal copy, but here the official documents have colored stamps, so they said they couldn't do it. So we walked down the street to another translation office. This one didn't seem to have a problem with our certificate, so Lord-willing when we pick it up tomorrow there will be no issues with it. The rest of our paperwork will have to wait until my new passport arrives so that all the documentation has the correct identification on it.
There will be lots of paperwork and running to and from offices in the next few weeks, but we are so glad we found out about this new law when we did! We had been considering getting my name changed first and then going out of the country when my 90 days were almost up. Praise the Lord we didn't do that, or else we'd be finding out about the law with only a couple days left on my visa to get everything done!