On Bureaucracy, Boarders, Travelling, and my Egyptian passport


#1

This is just to acknowledge our limitations, and a reminder to keep finding our ways in between the cracks of the current system.

While waiting at the Moroccan Embassy with all my papers prepared.

As any “citizen” I have to deal with bureaucracy; As an Egyptian recently living in between Germany and Egypt, I have to find my ways in between both bureaucracies.

As a non-EU citizen residing in Berlin, I had my share with the infamous Foreigners office aka ausländerbehörder where ironically the employees speak mainly German ( the German bureaucracy is just unbelievable for a leading developed country in Europe )

As an Egyptian, well I spent a lot of time as well making papers in different offices; once I was denied to board a plane because I forgot to bring a paper that allows me to travel outside of the country. (Was a stupid mistake from me actually to forget it, but the fact that I need to make a paper that allows me to leave the country is the point.) And had to go back to Cairo from Hurghada Airport to bring the paper from the assigned office, but this is not the story here.

During the OpenVillage project, we had our share of this mess, with most of the participants traveling form the southern Mediterranean region not being able to get the visa on time for the festival in Brussels, including @zmorda who is part of the OpenVillage team, most of the people attended had already a visa or a residency or another passport, or were lucky and got the visa on time.

Now with Morocco, @bishoyabd can’t travel from Egypt for example as he is a student in the final year and not allowed to travel till graduation (our program doesn’t fit the only exception that was set which is participating in an international competition).

I am not lucky myself till now with the Moroccan bureaucracies, although I am kinda experienced dealing with the Egyptian and German bureaucracies, starting with realizing in August that the embassy in Egypt only opens 2 days a week for 2 hours and realizing that I won’t get the visa on time, then applying in the embassy in Berlin, it took time because apparently this is a new situation for them; Egyptian working as a freelancer in Germany with a company that is not based in Germany going to stay in Morocco without a Moroccan company or entity directly involved, it took time and several visits always with more papers, till finally getting the visa for 3 months but from the date of issue not during the dates that I actually asked for, this made it only 2 months and one week.

Then Eposide III in Morocco, in this had @matthias with my companion as well, after knowing which office to get the forms and which one to apply for, where o fcourse asked for more papers and copies finally applied got a paper proving that we applied where we had to sign in person and we thought that is it, that’s kinda easy if you know what papers to bring and thought we should document this online as we couldn’t find any clear info online. ( but we were wrong )

2 days before my visa finishes they realized that we still need more papers, one of them is impossible to be done, tried a work around on my last day but also didn’t work. I believe this is because also this is an unusual situation so they didn’t check the rules or it is just done on the spot depending on the situation.

So here I am with all my copies, health certificate, Moroccan bank account and have to leave the country early in the morning, luckily found a cheap flight to Germany so I can apply for another one and come back.

Eposide IV: The story didn’t finish yet in Morocco, was very close not to board the plane because again this is not a usual situation for the costumes office.

Checking my passport, things seemed fishy for them, Egyptian passport, staying for 2 months in Morocco which is admittedly long period for an average Egyptian to have as a “vacation”, and traveling to Europe, this residency permit should not be correct. ( specially that I don’t have a “stamp” entering Europe in this new passport )

After some long “chatting” on why and where I live in Morocco and Germany, since internet was not working for some reason there was not good reception in their office so I couldn’t show them the boarding pass entering Morocco they asked for. Luckily since I don’t really have any permanent “home” I always travel with all my papers ( literally all, I filter them every now and then – I also mainly travel with all my belongings in my backpack ) so I found a receipt from the Moroccan embassy in Germany stating that I paid money to get the visa, this was kinda convincing so I was able to board the plane.

Now in Berlin again applied for a visa, this time was prepared with all the required papers, and waiting for their answer, of course no one gave me an exact date but I hope things go faster this time so I can be back as soon as possible.

Traveling with an Egyptian passport is not a smooth process normally, As @HadeerGhareeb once mentioned, yes being a “global citizen” is good and all, but we can’t be like this with our passports. Since no one is expecting a major change soon in the boarders visa issues and with a lot of Egyptians from my generation out of the country now and traveling around I hope things get smoother, this could be done by exchanging tips and sharing our experiences.

Meanwhile, I hope all things are ok in the house, sending my love and “envy” from the cloudy cold Berlin.

P.S.: Would like to share with you some moments from my journey

During the journey of passing by most of the gov buildings in Essaouira, one can encounter some funny comments, my favorite till now was “ this booking is in English ( yes I made an online booking in a hotel for some reason ) we need it in French or Arabic, but then wait comes a better one, “we need also the owner of the hotel to come with you as well”. [Of course this is funny out of context but it makes sense in the actual procedures to register a contract in the municipality.]

I also kinda like the Moroccan security sense, it is much more friendlier than the Egyptian one, asking me to show them pictures of me in Germany :smiley: which I didn’t have actually on my phone, and while I was convincing the officers that my residency is real, “why on earth will I be walking with all this papers in German language unless I am living there ?” which was not convincing at all I guess.


#open village - bitcut - House Sidi Kaouki
#2

What an absurd hassle for you.


#3

I feel you @hazem , I was stranded two times in airports just like Tom Hanks in “The Terminal”, because of bureaucracy…arghhh it’s the worst…good luck! <3


#4

This sucks so hard. We learned a hard lesson in Westphalian geopolitics here. Trying to run Edgeryders as a location - independent company makes sense when everyone is an EU citizen, but that is only because EU member states have agreed to some basic interoperability of their bureaucracies. Everything else is hard.

Let’s hope that Estonia, where we are incorporated, really solves the problem with this 365 days Schengen visa for digital nomads!


#5

Fingers crossed @Hazem - we miss you here. It’s a very important lesson - although I had some adventures with Nepali and Indonesian bureaucracy regarding my extended stays in these countries, it was never as hard. But life can be really complicated also for Europeans trying to settle down in one of these places, especially if they’re not ready to upfront some good money on a business visa (quite easy to get and expensive) or for example come on a retirement visa :smile: to Indonesia, which allows them just to spend their money :smiley: It’s probably very important now to keep in mind to check all these laws before chosing next destinations, not to undermine the whole concept just because the local law made it difficult or impossible to actually happen.

The struggle of glamorous nomadic life.


#6

@natalia_skoczylas yes I heard some stories about the Indonesian visa. Also for the non-Egyptians living in Egypt, they have to pass by ELMOGAMA in Cairo which is not only the foreigners office but the epicentre of the whole country’s bureaucracy, which is not a friendly experience as well.

Hope stuff gets easier for digital nomads at least in the future with the Estonian move.

Meanwhile, still waiting here for the visa.


#7

OMG! All I can do is to cross fingers for the next time, sounds amazing to make this hassle for citizen… I never had those experiences but in the same time I never went outside Europe. I guess it will come one day, because I want to travel more worldwide in the future


#8

Best of luck @hazem


#9

wow
i can only express my empathy for you dear Hazem , and may god help you in your adventures with different bureaucracies . Reading you stories makes me believe that such experiences must be taken as good lessons . hats off