Bureaucratic Madness Or Why I missed SCALE8x

On my way back from Sweden in November, the border agent told me I should change my Permanent Resident Card (PRC) because it is expiring in December. This coincied with the fact I was already a resident in Canada for the past five years.

So, instead of celebrating an anniversary, I realise the procedure takes for ever, and I risk having papers problems for months and months before I get legal again. So, what's it all about? One of the things is that the renovation procedure takes... 4 months! Yes, you heard well. A simple card, which at other institutions takes 10 minutes to check, photograph you, and print, it takes 4 months to Canadian Government. And yet, the procedure is way too complcated that it has to be.

What have been the implications for me? Firstly, I am called in the beginning of December (on the same day when I posted my papers to Sydney), by the Scholarhip Depa:rtment of my Universtity, who just noticed my PRC is expiring. Meeting. Explanation. Showing other proofs. Requests not to cancel my application. Conditions. Agreement. This repeats about 4 times with 4 different people, on different levels.. and gets me freaked out for about a month time.

Secondly, 1st of February is the PhD deadline for universities. Universities need documents. They need proofs of residency. So, what shall I do for that? Well, sent them my old documents' copies. This means I am in a risk of getting disqualified because of absurd reasons. Moreover the rest of my records, and application documents are all good. Not only, but the risk of getting 3-5 years scholarship and not getting admission... ridiculous.

So, the last, but not least of all the absurds is the confirmation for my speech at the South Californian Linux Expo (SCALE8x) this weekend. Actually, the speech should have been today, 19 of February, on a day devoted to Women in Open Source. So, where if not there to participate and present? By calling every week for almost a month time, I got a lot of information. Most of which useless.

The fact I cannot request an urgent procedure was one. The second, that they cannot even tell WHEN exactly my PRC will be there. That they prioritise a number of cases only from the fact they are sent by recommended mail. At some point, and only once, there was a kind person who let me know I can get out of the country and request a temporary visa-like document from a consulate in LA.

This is all great, and even encouraging, but what happened in the end was that there are a number of problems such as:

  1. no garantee if I enter the country that I will, actually, manage to go back;
  2. no garantee I will be able to present the right documents and not missing anything (no way to go back and take them)
  3. no way to know which exact documents they might like to ask for (called LA consulate at least 5 times in a row)
  4. no garantee of the length of the procedure - might take 2 to 5 days - if everything is OK. But I'll be staying for 3.5 days! Mainly in the weekend. So, risks are really too high I might have to pospone my stay (which I cannot do for many reasons).

In conclusion, I did not get the chance to leave the country. I was hoping till the last moment, because it is my second time to get the chance to go the SCALE, and wanted to hear other presentations, too.

What a chance! Hopefully there's SCALE next year. Let's hope for the best.