Monday, November 30, 2009

The Topologist's Dilemma

The Topologist is a paperwork-hating mathematician. You know those stories about mathematicians who are so wrapped up in their work that they forget to cash checks and deal with the paperwork of everyday life? He's well on his way to becoming one of those.

He will be travelling abroad a substantial amount in 2010, spending most of the time in Country A.

So now he finds himself with two options.

Option #1: Get a visa for Country A, requiring filling out a form, obtaining two passport photos (with fussy requirements), and providing documents verifying and confirming many things relating to one's financial, lodging, and work situations. Getting this visa requires travelling in person to the Country A consulate, which is located a many-hour drive from here.

Option #2: Get a passport for Country B, requiring filling out a form, obtaining two passport photos (with fussy requirements), and providing documents verifying and confirming many things relating to one's family situation. This can be done by mail.

Citizens of Country B with a valid Country B passport do not need visas to travel to or work in Country A.

Unfortunately, The Topologist has never held a Country B passport. Also inconveniently, Country B is not the USA. Fortunately, The Topologist has many documents showing his Country B citizenship. Unfortunately, he is lacking passport-acquiring documents in one category. Fortunately, his younger brother has succeeded in the past at obtaining a Country B passport and may still have some of the documents in the missing category.

I'm pushing for Option #2, assuming that his hosts in Country A agree with my assessment that citizens of Country B don't need visas for Country A.