Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Adventures at the misrad hapnim

June 27: Go to the Israeli Consulate in New York and apply for a student visa.

July 18: Get a phone call from the Israeli Consulate saying that they can't give me a visa, because I have had a long-term visa before (a work visa in 2001-02) so I have to go to Israel on a tourist visa, and apply for a student visa at Misrad Hapnim (Ministry of the Interior) when I get there.

July 25: Retrieve my passport from the consulate.

September 5: Arrive in Israel. The person at passport control is confused, because I'm in the computer as having a student visa, but there's no student visa on my passport. (My guess is that the consulate in New York approved the visa before they denied it.) He makes some phone calls, and I'm not in the computer at misrad hapnim. "I've been working here 7 years and never seen anything like this!". He gives me a tourist visa and tells me to go to misrad hapnim (which I was going to do anyway).

September 16: Go to misrad hapnim. An appointment is needed, so they give me one for October 9.

September 25: Leave Israel.

October 2: Arrive in Israel again. The person at passport control is confused again, and makes some phone calls, but doesn't explain the situation to me. I tell her I'm going to misrad hapnim next week, and I get another tourist visa.

October 9: Go to misrad hapnim. My acceptance letter from the university, my student ID, and my transcript are insufficient documentation that I am a student there -- they need to see a letter from the university addressed to misrad hapnim (rather than addressed to me). They give me a new appointment for October 30.

[UPDATE: October 15: Obtain a letter from the university "to whom it may concern". It's a form letter, with my name handwritten in.]

October 30: ???


  1. Ugh. I had the same thing happen to me in NYC (fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, they didn't take my passport, just told me to bugger off on the spot). I haven't had the koah to call Misrad ha-Penim; I'm still stewing over their idiotic policy of only issuing one long-term visa abroad. Thanks for the head's up about the letter, anyway. Grr.

  2. wolfman, are you also NYC->Israel? Do I know you?

  3. The worst part is that its like an international brotherhood of evil bureaucrats.

  4. Yes and Yes. See you Wednesday night. :-)