Sunday, June 20, 2010

US Visa. Check.

The authorized courier delivered my US Visa at home last Saturday. I was out and my father was the one to receive it. Once I got a text notification, I immediately called home and learned of the great news. The US embassy gave me a multiple entry pass up to the year 2020. I exhaled after knowing that some of my travel mates were only given a single entry or a three months' worth of visa instead.

I know it was a lucky shot since the issuance of a visa really depends on your consul. No matter how legitimate and ideal you may sound, project or defend, the consul always gets to have the final say. He or she is entitled to ask you a lot of technical to mind boggling personal questions looking for that particular loophole. They're trained to be skeptical. He or she could easily decline you based on their better judgment, which is always left to be unspecified and unexplained.

Last week I was at the US embassy and had to undergo the application process for the first time. I had a VISA before but I was too young to have arranged it myself. I did not go on any appearances or interviews,which means I'm useless in giving advice to other team mates who are first time applicants. I'm as equally nervous and bothered why most people find this a big deal. You just have to answer questions, right?

In my case it is a big deal since I will be going there for training and there is no other training alternative. And I thought, how hard could answering the questions be? The only preparation that you have to do is to review how you are going to answer the possible questions, which are pretty much expected. How long will you be staying there? Why? What are you goals there? Do you have relatives there? The facts may matter a lot, but how you confidently say those facts equally matters as well. That's why we get coached before we accomplish our VISA appointments. It is a big deal because you'll be paying money for the application fees and the mere hassle of securing an interview and passing is worth your prayers that you won't get to do it all over again.

But since I was under one multinational company profile, my document processing was fast. I was immediately queued for the consul interview, which is always the main attraction. While waiting, I heard people defending, pleading and arguing to their respective consuls. It was a pretty scary sight especially for those who were expecting VISAS when they get out of the building. Child, professionals, teenager to grandmothers, can be denied and were denied that day. That walk of disappointment, when the person leaves a room still holding his passport while he or she reads a blue form, gives optimistic people a douse of harsh reality.

Getting a US Visa is all about truthfulness, preparation, confidence and luck. There are no sure shots no matter how much you prepare. A percentage of it also relies on how the Consul perceives you, and you can't argue with what they would decide on. I was lucky and I though I had no reason to be denied, but looking back, I wasn't also so sure with the outcome.

No comments: