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!