Pat and I were illegal immigrants for five days this week.  Not by choice.  The immigration office told us that they preferred for us to be briefly illegal.  Let me explain.  Even though my Irish work permit is good for two years, immigrants are required to check in at their local garda station at the one year mark to update paperwork, confirm employment details, etc. The date for Pat and me to renew was the 12th of February.

A friend of mine at work went through this process a few months ago, so I knew that it would require a bit of planning and preparation on my part to make sure all of the paperwork was in order. A month before my work permit expired I rang the immigration office in Cork to get some information on the visa renewal process and to ask if I could come in a few weeks ahead of time.  I was told in no uncertain terms that I absolutely should not come early to renew the visa. A week to 10 days late is grand, but don’t even think of coming in early. I wonder if there is any logic behind this request? If there is a reason, it wasn’t explained to me. I was told that if I arrived early to renew the visa, I would need to have written proof that I would be out of the country or otherwise unavailable on the date my visa expires. Pat has written in previous blogs about the Irish sense of time, and I think this needs to be added as a classic example. It would seem that the Irish government not only encourages procrastination and lateness, but insists upon it.