Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Remember CEDOC? The famous place I wrote about in connection with my carte de séjour? Well, here comes part two of the CEDOC odyssey, entitled Visa de Sortie.

You are probably not aware that getting out of Gabon is as difficult as getting into Gabon. You would think that once in the country, with your stay legal and all, you can start breathing normally and enjoy yourself. Well, you couldn't be more wrong: you cannot leave the country without an exit visa: you will be stopped at the airport and not allowed to board the plane. Since Christmas is approaching, we started going about the whole visa business last Saturday.

There are two types of visa de sortie:
1) one entry - allows you to leave the country once and come back, it's quite simple to get and costs 70 000 CFA (105 euros) and only two visits to CEDOC.
2) multiple entries - it costs 120 000 CFA (180 euros) but is valid for six month, during which you can leave and come back whenever you want.

Now, we could of course settle for the first type and have it done soon enough but the problem is we want a multiple entry visa. In case I need to leave quickly (emergency? health problem?), I want to be sure there is no paperwork impeding it. We thus went to CEDOC on Saturday morning, equipped with:
- a corresponding form
- copy of my and Jandro's passport
- copy of my and Jandro's carte de séjour
- a sort of a covering letter
- a letter of recommendation from Jandro's boss.

The clark looked incredibly normal. A nice guy, I thought. Indeed, he was very nice. Please go to the till and pay. We went. We queued. We were informed by a bearded female cashier that we didn't tick a box on our form and had to get back to the guy who'd sent us to pay. We got back. The man was still very nice and very nicely waited for us to tick the box. We ticked. Please sit down, he said. Suddenly, his face underwent a sharp transformation: he was no longer a nice guy, he was a Gabonese CEDOC employee.

- Very well, madame. Where do you work?
- I don't.
- Very well. Madame, if you don't work, why do you need this kind of visa?
- To go to my country.
- But this kind of visa, madame, - he said smiling ironically, - is reserved to people who work. Who do important things, like your husband. That is you, sir, I presume?
- Yes, it is me.
- This kind of visa facilitates professional circulation. You are not entitled to it.

We tried to explain that we have a recommendation from An Important Person but he insisted that it was impossible. Obviously, he was waiting for a bribe. We didn't offer it.

- What is your name, please? - Jandro asked.
- No, no, that is unnecessary. In the end I do not decide this. Cross your fingers. Maybe yes, maybe no. Don't be too optimistic. Come back on Wednesday.

We went there today and found out that I was not granted the visa. Of course, we can always get the simple one but I don't fancy the idea of not being able to leave the country on a whim. So we'll try another option of getting the six-month visa, let's see if it works. Cross your fingers. Maybe yes, maybe no.

Sometimes I love Gabon and I feel grateful to be here. Sometimes, however, it seems absolutely ridiculous. And sometimes it makes me sick. Today is one of those days.


  1. ánimos! nos vemos en breve por Compos, seguro!

  2. bueno, por Compos verémonos no verán que esta vez non nos da tempo para marchar xuntos aos dous sitios... así que nos separamos. :/

  3. Przytulam mocno... Pomyśl sobie, że może tutaj można jeździć, gdzie i kiedy się chce, ale nie ma plam i takich plaż, i słoni, i goryli.

    Trzymam kciuki!

  4. Właśnie zobaczyłam, co napisałam :-D. PALM, żadnych tam plam!