Just to be sure you’re up to speed on our Senegalese residency application… Oh, wait. You don’t see why that should be important to you? I’ll tell you why. Because when you see posts like this one from our visit to N’gor Island and this one from camping in Lompoul desert, it could be easy to think that our life here is all play. (And sand.)

In an effort to provide you with a more comprehensive, accurate picture, you need to also know about the challenges of living here. Right now, challenge numero uno is obtaining our residency permit.

As Americans, we can stay in Senegal for 90 days on our passports – no extra paperwork needed. But once you cross over 90 days (ding, ding, ding!), you need paperwork. In our case, we need a long-stay residency permit.

To date, this is what we’ve done to try to obtain said permit:

  • renew passport / have extra pages added
  • 3 trips to US Embassy in Dakar for required paperwork
  • doctor’s visit for medical certificates
  • have lovely ID photos taken
  • write a letter requesting residency
  • go to immigration office to apply for residency (told more documents needed)
  • meet chef du quartier to certify local residency
  • go to police station for certificat de résidence at our address
  • rework the letter requesting residency
  • translate work contract into French
  • go to immigration office again (told more documents needed)
  • 10 visits to local print shop for photocopies
  • 1 trip to Ministère de l’Intérieur office to apply for an extension
Proof of our request for an extension
  • 8 trips across town for necessary documents
  • purchase 2 fiscal stamps
  • rework the letter requesting residency
  • go to immigration office third time (told need business registration)
  • request letters from 5 sponsoring organizations
  • write a letter stating I am financially dependent on Cheikh (woohoo!)
  • meet with consultant to start business registration process

So, in addition to working our regular jobs, this is what we’ve been doing between trips to the beach. (Trust me – applying for residency is no day at the beach.)

But we’re getting closer!