Timeline outline

Amazingly enough, we still do not have a firm timeline for our trip.

Partly, this is because the Fulbright grant is not finalized until we are cleared medically. That is, they want to make sure we are healthy enough to live for a year overseas. In both our cases, that involves our family doctor filing paperwork with the State Department. In Kris’ case, I guess because she is “just” the spouse, the required tests are minimal and she likely will not even need a special appointment with our family doctor since she had one recently. In my case, the clearance involves some special tests that are not part of the usual battery of tests in the US. So I go in for a doctor’s appointment next week. No big deal as I was scheduled for a regular checkup anyway. Of course, all of this does not include the immunizations we will need before we go. Once the paperwork is filed, we should get remaining details of the grant.

One can visit Sri Lanka as a tourist without getting a visa before you go. You will be issued a tourist visa valid for 30 days on arrival at the airport in Colombo. But for our extended stay, and the fact that we will not be tourists, we must get an “entry” visa before we arrive in Sri Lanka. The process is: a) I transmit a copy of the biography pages of our passports to the US-Sri Lankan Fulbright Commission (USSLFC). b) The USSLFC sends a request to the Sri Lankan ministry of Immigration and Emigration requesting permission for us to be allowed to enter Sri Lanka. c) If they approve, the ministry of I&E sends this information to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington, DC. d) Once notified, we send our passports to the Sri Lankan Embassy in DC and an entry visa is stamped into our passports and returned to us. This process can take some time, as you can imagine. We’ve been told that the process can take from one to three months. Until that time, we can not enter Sri Lanka. Once we get to Sri Lanka, we can only remain for sixty days on the entry visa. In the meantime, we have to start the application process there for a “residency” visa. Whew!

But there are some emerging fixed points to our schedule. There is an orientation for Fulbrighters in Colombo on October 9-10, 2008. Our goal is to get there around October 1st so that we can get over jet lag and get acclimated before the orientation. Then we will move on to Kandy after the orientation and get settled in and start work at the University of Peradeniya. The grant lasts for nine months, so that means our time at UP will be ending about July 1, 2009. Of course, I have to be back to Gambier in time to prepare for the start of the fall semester, 2009. So we certainly want to be back by August 15, 2009.

We will see how this all plays out.

Tim

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