An Ending Begins

We have 8 days left in the UAE.

The last week has gone by in a blur as I zipped from place to place after invigilation (which ought instead to be called supervised cheating) at school. But it’s Friday, the weekend is upon us, and I’m ensconced in the Hili Rayhaan hotel, comfortably in a king-sized bed, having spent the morning at a leisurely breakfast and then in the pool. There was even a nap this afternoon. Things are looking up.

Here is what happens at the end of working for ADEC. Unsurprisingly, the resignation procedure is much the same as the arrival procedure, only reversed.

The steps are: wait wait wait wait wait for your resignation (which you submitted in the online system well within the official window of time) to be approved, then wait wait wait wait wait wait some more.

Then with about a month of work left, it’s approved and things start moving quickly.

If you’re me, you print a form that you obtained from someone not your principal (who is supposed to have received said form in his email, but may not be aware of it, or perhaps he was just not at work on the day it was sent). You fill this form out, and then you have to collect about seven signatures from various departments at ADEC headquarters (called “The Zone” around here).

You make a trip to The Zone to get the next couple of signatures, because they’re mostly a formality.

Then you wait a bit, because you’re hung up getting clearance forms (haven’t you heard of those? They’re forms which officially show that you’ve paid your bills and haven’t got any outstanding balance) from the combined power and water company (Al Ain Distribution Company). This requires a visit to one of the AADC places in town. I’d suggest the Al Ain Mall one, or perhaps the Hili Mall one (which is never busy). If you go to the big headquarters near The Zone, you’ll probably wait forever and a half day. Anyway, the process takes a couple of days. You request a final meter reading and clearance certificate, AADC sends you a text message as acknowledgement, and then, if things go correctly, you get a second message to say you’re all set. From prior experience, I can tell you if that message doesn’t come after two days, go visit an AADC office and ask for an update. This all means getting the AADC clearance takes a couple days. Then you’ll need an Etisalat (phone and internet) clearance form, too, and that company forces you to visit the large, crowded, slow office in Sanaiya to get a clearance letter, although it bears noting that you can get service cancelled at several other locations (such as Bawadi Mall). Again, the clearance from takes a couple of days or more. If you’re me, you make no less than eight trips to Etisalat to get this done, and you still have to go collect the form another time.

After you have your AADC clearance form, you can get your apartment inspected. We pay 180 AED to the apartment manager because one of our screens has a dime-sized hole in it (and it might indeed be our fault, so no problem), then he prints a letter declaring that you’re all set, but in iffier English than that. You take this letter down to The Zone and collect another signature.

By now, you’ve dropped off and then collected, a couple days later, your dependents’ passports at the Infinity Services window in ADEC so they can type up visa cancellation forms for you (saving a few bucks), and you take these passports a few buildings over to immigration and have them cancel the visas. You need to show your own original passport, Emirates ID, and work visa there. The guy in a kandora behind the counter glances at your stuff, then stamps the dependents’ pink visas with red ink which seems to read “cancelled” in Arabic. He also collects their Emirates IDs. A couple moments later a text message arrives from the Ministry of the Interior notifying you of the cancelations. This means your cleared for the next step: having your own visa cancelled. This means I turn in my Emirates ID (bye, little card!) and passport for a day.

The next day, I collect my passport, and the guys older guy sitting in his chair takes a box of passports with paperwork attached to them from a locked cabinet. He looks at my picture carefully, at me, back at the picture, and is smiling and the other guy is laughing.  Then they tell me how somebody else who looked kind of like me picked it up earlier in the day. “Same name,” they said, but I’d be floored if there’s a second Shon Rand running around Al Ain. Regardless, my passport is in my hand, and I can collect another signature on my all-important form. So I do.

And I proceed to housing, where I need another signature. That’s fairly easy. He directs me to hand over another copy of my AADC clearance, and then take copies to the Abu Dhabi Commercial Properties building downtown to get my housing deposit back. I notice it’s almost 3 o’clock, and it’s Thursday, and figure I won’t find anyone there if I go now, so I decide to wait until Sunday for that.

As it turns out, I need to make another trip to ADEC anyway, because I need that Etisalat clearance form which I haven’t got yet in order to submit my super-duper important form to the last people–payroll, who will calculate up my End of Service (EOS) payment.

Thus, over the period of about 9 days, an ending has begun. There is very little left to be done, and hopefully it will all be knocked out on Sunday. There has been a bit of stress, like there was in the beginning, but it’s been tempered by knowledge that things move slowly here, especially when you hope they’ll go fast. We have only 8 days left in the UAE. Wow.

Authentication Revisited

Part of the deal with working here in the UAE was getting a whole slew of documents authenticated.  The authentication process is annoying and overcomplicated, but it is necessary.  So I bit the bullet and did it.

If you go through a company like Teach Away, they’ll help walk you through the process.  It’s not really all that difficult, in truth, just annoying.

Teach Away recommends ProEx Courier Service to deliver and pickup documents from the Embassy in DC.  I used them and had no issues at all; they were fast and efficient.

As far as the individual documents go that you’ll need authenticated, that depends on where you’re from and whether you’re married, have children, etc.  We needed our marriage certificate done, my highest diploma, and a couple other things.  I covered all that before, so I won’t go into it in detail.  The irritating part is doing it at three levels, which is where ProEx enters the scene–they’ll deliver documents from the Department of State in DC to the UAE Embassy there, saving you a long trip and a few days in between.

Do the authentication early so it’ll be stress-free, and then just wait.

Once arriving in the UAE, you have to get those authenticated documents translated into Arabic.  Bargain, or ask around for the best rate.  The place that ADEC uses (Infinity Services) actually increases their fee for ADEC teachers.  If you arrive in Abu Dhabi and take documents to them, be sure not to tell them you’re with ADEC.  If you do, they’ll say, “Special price!”  Yeah, special, alright.  We have “sucker” written all over us.  It shouldn’t cost more than 60 AED for documents to be interpreted, so be aware.  There are plenty of “typing offices” that will interpret for the price I mentioned.

When you get your documents interpreted in the UAE, also have your driver’s license done.  If you’ve got any special endorsements, such as motorcycle, be sure to note that and ask that they include that in the translation, or else you won’t get that endorsement on your UAE license (which is good for a full 10 years, by the way).

Authentication Complete

Check it out–my documents arrived from ProEx!  This is a good day!

I’ve scanned copies of each sheet, including the stamps from the UAE embassy, and e-mailed them to Teach Away. Furnished with these documents, Teach Away will now work with ADEC to get visas and such underway.

For the time being, these documents are safely in an envelope on my office shelf.  When I leave, I’ll take the authenticated documents as well as originals.

This hurdle jumped, we can now return to waiting for more information on departure dates, etc., etc.

Playing the Waiting Game

All my documents are still in DC with ProEx. I’m at a virtual standstill with everything now. There is one important thing I’ve been able to take care of, though, in the interim. I went to the Board of Education yesterday and requested the confirmation of employment letter that ADEC will need when I arrive in the Emirates. Now it’s back to waiting.

Money Monday

Well, it’s time for Money Monday.  Yup, I figured anyone interested in traveling or working or living in Abu Dhabi is probably curious about what the proposition costs.  So here we go: today I spent more money than ever before at the Post Office.

Yup, I got my documents back from Atlanta, and turned around a put them in the mail to DC, along with a money order for $239.  The money order covers the cost of document authentication at the State Department and at the Embassy of the UAE.  It also covers a $125 fee for ProEx Delivery Corporation.  Their fee isn’t cheap, but it does expedite the whole process.  I’ll tell you more about ProEx another time.  Anyway, with priority shipping to and from DC, and the money order, I spent $251 at the Cuthbert Post Office today.

Thus far, the authentication process has cost me $30 at the Secretary of State’s office, too, plus shipping to and from Atlanta (which has to be included twice, because they sent it back once and I had to reship it–another $7) at $14, and the total comes to $295.

My next post will discuss the authentication process.  Alright, enough of Money Monday.  Sleep well.

First Fail

Well, actually, it’s not a failure, really, it’s a minor setback.  My documents came back from the SOS in Atlanta today–and lo and behold, they didn’t need a notarized copy of my marriage certificate, they needed the original.  Lo and behold, the SOS website says as much, but I was too hurried to pay it careful enough attention.  Still, I called the SOS office to be sure I had everything done correctly before I mailed it, and I said, “I have copies of my degree, my teaching certificate, and my marriage certificate, all notarized, and a statement from the local Clerk of Court for all of them.  Does this sound right?”  The reply was, “Yes.”  So I figured I’d be good, right?  I mean, I confirmed everything with the very office I was mailing these things to.  I almost included the original marriage certificate when I mailed everything, just to be on the safe side, but then I decided against it.  Silly me.  Now I’m set back about a week. The extra week wouldn’t really matter, but Teach Away has decided to bump the “due date” for finalized documents up to May 9 (a deadline which I can’t possibly make, even if everything is expedited).  So there is a certain stress factor, but I’m determined not to worry inordinately about it.  Things will progress as quickly as possible, and that’s just the way it is.

Heck, I might just drive up there one day next week and hand-deliver everything in Atlanta.  Sure, it’ll cost me $50 in gas, but at least it’ll be done instantly and I can move on.  Or I could just pay another $7.00 and use the postal service.  Comparing numbers makes the post office look pretty good.  Yeah, I’ll probably just mail it all.