When I accepted my English teaching job in Morocco, I was under the impression that the company that hired me would help me through the work visa process. In some ways, this was true, but it was a mistake to think the process would therefore be easy. It was not easy.
Some of my problems were due to misinformation I was given, either at work or from friends. Always with good intentions, but often resulting in frustration and delay. Some of my problems were due to my own flawed assumptions or procrastination. Once my problems were due to a tiny smudge in the handwritten date on a doctor's note. And finally, some of my problems were due to the fact that the Moroccan system combines the worst characteristics of its vestigial French bureaucracy and its own uniquely Moroccan inefficiencies.
All told, my visa application process required diplomas, medical certificates, letters of recommendation, job contracts, rental contracts, a CV, utility bills, two different criminal background checks from the United States, and other paperwork I'm probably forgetting, all translated to French and notarized and copied and notarized again. During the process, I had to move to a different apartment once, leave the country 3 times to avoid overstaying on my tourist entry, visit the Moroccan notary/DMV-type offices between 15 and 20 times, wait in line at the police prefecture 6 different times, and lock myself in a bathroom to hide tears of frustration an undisclosed number of times. I finally got my official Moroccan work residency after 10 months in the country, and the official residency card after 15 months in the country.
I documented this process step by step in a series of blog posts on my original travel blog. To read about it, click the following links to the original Tumblr posts.