9.17.2007

Adventures in applying for a student visa.

Since I'm classified as a student, my allotted time in Slovenia exceeds the three month limit most visitors are allowed. That's why I had to renew my student visa today.

The office that distributes visas are located in a former tobacco factory, so imagine a complex made up of massive brick warehouses and that's where this office sits. I asked the clerk at the International Student Office for directions, and he told me he wrote an exam there while his faculty was being built. That's actually pretty cool. I had no problem finding it - I just looked for the crowd of people clutching their passports and looking distraught.

After asking two people I was directed to the right office. The building's interior is very sleek, painted in pale colours and the offices were separated by glass walls. A very modern facility, by the looks of it. I took a number from a touchscreen computer and waited for my number to come up on a HD television attached to the wall. I waited ten minutes and I had to walk through another set of doors, which were under the television, when I was called. Although I was able to pay for my visa, I required more documents, including a copy of my health insurance in Slovenian. I kept asking myself: How the hell am I supposed to get that? Luckily, the lovely staff at my faculty's international office offered to call the passport office and translate my health plan for me.

So, a warning to potential long-term visitors: make sure you have all your documentation before applying for a visa. Although I was merely inconvenienced, unprepared applicants are in for a surprise.

2 comments:

Michael said...

Was there more documentation needed then what you mentioned? Or was your issue just with a translated copy of your health insurance?

I'm looking forward to the next time I go. I think I may use my new Slovene passport. Maybe not though...call me crazy, but I kind of worry I'll get asked "20 questions" at the customs checkpoint and they'll realize I don't speak perfect Slovene and try taking my passport away. :)

I'm kind of curious if I would still need any extra paperwork if I stayed in Slovenia for an extended period...since I don't have a permanent address there. Any thoughts peng, or anybody else?

Jay said...

If your visit is longer than three months, you have to apply for a residency visa. From I was told by my host university and the passport office, you need:

1. Proof of medical coverage - a translated copy of a letter stating you are covered, and the translation must be notarized.

2. Proof of sufficent funds, like a bank statement.

3. A copy of your passport that has been notarized.

4. A passport photo (35 X 45 mm).

5. A document stating a legitimate reason why you are staying so long in Slovenia, like study, business, research, etc. In my case, I used my university acceptance letter.

And just to reinforce the point because I was screwed by this: all your documents (excluding your passport copy) must be in Slovenian.

I'm not an expert on immigration laws, but I did read on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website that residence permits are granted to those with "Slovene descendents up to three-times removed." Perhaps it's safe to assume that using your passport is fine despite not speaking perfect Slovene?