bcpalmer60 wrote:I'm pretty sure that you actually end up making 25 payments. If you read the packet that comes with the call, it says something like you have to pay for the first month they are in the MTC, even if it's the 30th, then continue paying including the last month of their mission. That would be 25 months. (for example June 2009 through and including June 2011.)
It's unfortunate that the packet would provide misleading information on this topic, but the fact is that (barring unusual circumstances), an elder's ward will be charged for exactly 24 payments. Our stake averages about 50 elders serving at any given moment, so I've seen a lot of missionary payments, and except for those who extend or come home early, it's always 24 payments.
In our stake, wards communicate the payment schedule clearly to the missionaries, which should help resolve any ambiguity in the general instructions.
bcpalmer60 wrote:Also, it's important to note that missions are not 2-years long, due to the 6 week transfers. They are actually a little longer than two years, and this often causes problems for missionaries going to other countries (especially to the US from Canada), as they apply for a 24 month visa, then have to go home a couple weeks before the official end of their mission. (Before the rest of their group). They could have just as easily applied for a 30 month visa!
Missions are a bit shorter than 24 months at least as often as they are longer than 24 months, in my experience. After all, most missionaries are in the MTC for 3 or 9 weeks (sometimes 8, sometimes 12), and 3 weeks plus 8 full transfers (8x6=48 weeks) makes 51 weeks, which is just under 2 years.
But if the mission length varies from 2 years by only a week or so, the cost will still just be 24 payments.
As for the visa issues, the polices on visas and residency permits vary widely from country to country, so the chance that those permits would have the same length as an actual mission is slim indeed. But in the particular case you mentioned, it does seem like it would be prudent to get a 30-month visa.