Buried in Paperwork, Tangled in Red Tape

July 30, 2012 Amy Reasoner

Buried in Paperwork, Tangled in Red Tape

photo by Zach Maddox

by Christi  |  Middle East

Sometimes I feel like my life is riddled with paper. I think a whole forest was cut down so we could finish the registration for our business. It took 37 pieces of paper, all initialed and signed, and six weeks to open a bank account. That’s not counting the time I spent visiting 10 different banks trying to find one that could open an account for a foreigner. Then it was another six pages to have money wired from the U.S. to our account here. Our Articles of Association took three months to complete by our lawyers and are 98 pages long. (I should say, though, that half of it is in Arabic and half in English.)

Our building lease, blueprints, copies of our passports, copies of our apartment lease, and copies of other documents as required by various ministries all make for a lot of dead trees and hours of me looking over Arabic vocabulary while I wait in someone’s office for yet another piece of important paper.

But, six months and countless trees later, we have a registered business. Our paperwork isn’t finished yet—we still need a business license and residencies—but we’re getting closer to the top of the mountain. We have a company working on our business license and residencies for us because the red tape is extremely complicated.

Back in the spring, I asked our agent how things were coming along since it had been a month since we started this process and it was taking longer than anticipated. He responded that there was a delay because the people working in the government offices decided to make a snowman outside rather than work inside. I guess that’s OK, since it had been five years since it had snowed where it stayed on the ground. So, we waited another six weeks for more papers to sign before this stage was over.

Patience is a virtue, right?

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