Monday, March 1, 2010

Not an AI wannabe, but I'm going to Hollywood!

If it weren't for my net connection going bonkers these past week, I would have written about this earlier, anyway...

You see, visiting the US has never been my dream, maybe because there are many who wanted to go there so desperately, and I do not like to go with the mainstream. Also, because I have heard numerous stories from friends how difficult it is to secure an appointment for a US visa and the amount of documents one has to submit to the US embassy. Getting a US visa is pretty daunting according to those people who have applied for it. But my mother's birthday is coming up and it would be a pleasant surprise if I could be there to share the day with her. So I finally applied for a US visa!

Ok now, here's the scenario.The United States embassy here in Manila will only issue a non-immigrant visa after a successful face-to-face interview. We can schedule the interview on line or call the embassy for an appointment after one has paid the fee which is non-refundable $10.00. Actually, It used to be that visa appointment are scarce and are booked only as soon as they become available. Before, it may take between 5 to 10 weeks to get an appointment.

But in my case it was fast! When I logged online to see the schedule there is already the whole week between Feb 22 – 26 that is vacant. So I asked for Feb 25 at 1pm for my schedule. Of course I have to fill out the application form also known as DS -156, DS-157. In addition, I am required to submit a passport-sized photo, valid passport(I have to renew mine because it expired last 2007 yet), and an application fee which is again non-refundable amounting to $131.00. They say it’s important that I will be able to show proof of my ties to my country therefore I have to prepare documents that will show just that. Depending on how many papers one has to prepare, the process could be too time-consuming and sometimes confusing. Add to the raft of form-filling, dredging up details of husband, parents names, identities, nationalities, and downloading barcodes from US government websites. It is not a thing of joy.

Once I get to the embassy, I was restricted to carry any electrical equipment with me -not even a cellphone or bottled water. No bags, nothing that could be used to assault so fine a building as the US embassy. But when I finally arrived – as you are now allowed to – half an hour before my 1 pm appointment, my nightmare transformed into a dream world.

The interview was short- less than seven questions asked, that it took me longer to line up than being interview by the embassy personnel. I even offered some documents to prove my point but the person inside the cubicle told me it isn’t necessary as the document is irrelevant. I thought he will deny me entry to the US! But no, he seemed satisfied already with the data in my application form and my answers to his questions because he told me to proceed to pay for my passport delivery!

Getting a visa isn’t really difficult as long as you can prove to the interviewing officer the strong ties you have in your country which will compel you to come back, like your job, business and your family.

Now that I have gone through the process, I wish I had braved it earlier and probably had a nice winter vacation. Although I knew Sid will cringe at the idea of winter being nice, hahaha.

I will be in the US by the end of this month. Yipee!


Tracey said...

FANTASTIC!!!!!!! Will Ray be waiting at the airport? xxx

Odette said...

No, but my brother will be. Ray is very far being in Ohio but then he is nearer to Minesotta where i will be staying for sometime. let's see...

Sid Brechin said...

Odette I hope you do realize your Mom lives over 3,000 miles from Hollywood. Ask Ray

Odette said...

i do! but iam flying in at LAX and will be staying in California for a while before going to Minesotta and and then back to California to see more of the city before heading home.

Mimi said...

Odette, your AI reference is too funny!
Your mom must be very excited!

Chicken Boys said...

Come on over! Not sure how you could leave fillipines for Minesotta...brrrr....but, LA will be warm. Hope you enjoy your stay. How long will you be here?


OOh My GOOOD great newsw hun, i hope your trip is wonderful, wrap up warm:)

rattles said...

wow odette
That is fab news i really hope that you have a brilliant time and i am sure you will love spending time with your mum. Lotsa lv rattles Xx

Odette said...

my brother told me it will still be snowing in Minesotta when i get there, and that also excites me coz it will be a contrast to the constant heat i am getting here.
i had asked a month leave from my office and i hope that will suffice...

Odette said...

heyyy, Joey is asking about your blog coz she had tried several times to open it. please, head to her page and tell her why you decided to delete it becoz she's worried, ok?
yes, i'm excited about this trip too!
miss you...

Odette said...

it was meant to surprise her, but now she knew and yes, she's very excited she has to call me twice a day!!!

my only prob is, my mom don't have a computer at her home. that means i will be inaccessible for sometime and that to me isn't appealing!


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Tracey said...

This is for RAY.....Get your arse over to Odette, even if you gotta walk

stella said...

It is not that it happens to be easy to get a visa- u are in your solar return year- and also the year of the Tiger bringing you enormous luck.However U sound a bit tentative about Ray.
Minesotta is a city that has Swedish& Nordic European immigrants.
Ohio is a very wonderful place especially Toledo.Dean Martin the singer came from there. I have been there millions of times. Take this opportunity Odette- astro- probabilities - U will not have another for another twelve years.
Ray, I say Ditto to what Tracey has said. Angry American cannot visit his woman in his own country? I am starting to think U are fictitious.

Angry American said...

There's an old tune by the beatles that says "...I get by with a little help from my friends...".

Well, I'm lucky to have a couple good friends. One of them is going to help me get to so my sweetie for the first time in about a year.

Thank god for the little things in life.

Odette said...

Now, now, will i expect to be surprised?! Looking forward to it with bated breath...

amna said...

WoW!!!! that's my girl, welcome aboard. At last you finally did it coz i was planning to ask you one day to try.It's almost spring time you will enjoy the beauty of nature. You can only ask once for a winter then you'll never dare again. Wish you'll be here in Autumn, my most favorite season,for me it's magical with all the colour changing leaves walking in forest trails.Anyways, spring winter summer or falls as long as you be here at last.Any plan to drop by in Canada? Nancy lives close by. A big Welcome again dear, I'm over thrilled for you.


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