Story time.

I’ve mentioned my Visa problems a few times now in asking for prayer, but I haven’t shared the story of what has been going on yet.

My family moved to a new house just over three years ago. When we moved, the DMV told me that  I didn’t need to get a new driver’s license, I could just go online and change the records there so should I get pulled over or what not, my correct address would show up.

No big deal, right?

Last year, I know there was a bit of a problem getting my visa taken care of before the trip, but I honestly had no idea what it had been because GI took care of all of it and it came with everyone else’s, no problem.

Thankfully, a couple of months back, the company used sent me an email telling me that my passport expired within six months. This was no news to me, I was aware of that and planned to get this last trip in on that passport before having to renew it.

I actually read the email, though, and stopped in my tracks at this paragraph:

“Most countries require a remaining validity of 6 months past the trip’s scheduled return date. If you are planning to make an international trip anytime within the next 6 months, please ensure that you meet this requirement by renewing your passport.”

I frantically did a Google search, and discovered that I would indeed be turned away by Indian immigration if I tried to enter the country on my current passport because it expires in September, four months after my arrival date.

I was livid. I spewed off a bunch of nonsense to my computer screen (and friend Zac) about what the point is of even having an expiration date if no one is going to honor it. I still don’t understand it….I guess they don’t want you entering the country with, say, a six month visa then there being problems when you try to leave and your passport is expired? I don’t know.

All I know is that I was angry, I was confused, I was frustrated, and I had to get moving. This was the end of February, I leave the middle of May, have to get my passport submitted, processed, and returned, then I will also have to send it back off to get my visa processed, put in it, and returned to me in this short 2 1/2 month time span. We’ve all heard the horror stories about how long this stuff takes, so I was pretty nervous.

Little did I know, this would be the least of my worries over these two months.

I got everything gathered, filled out, and made a trip to the post office. I paid the (outrageous) cost and paid (a lot of) extra money to get the passport rushed because I didn’t want to risk anything.

Luckily, the passport showed up pretty quickly and I was relieved.

I knew that I needed to get my visa taken care of, but I also knew that it would be about a one week turnaround time so it wasn’t super urgent.

My life was pretty crazy at this point, and I just honestly didn’t have the time to get everything filled out and gathered for it until earlier this month.

But, one week turnaround…no big deal…right?

I got everything sent off, but was a bit nervous because the address on my scanned driver’s license did not match the address on my passport or visa application. I wrote a letter explaining the situation, included a copy of my W2, a signed paystub (by me and my boss), a copy of my school photo ID, and not to mention, my passport was also included in this package because they put the visa right into it.

I figured it would be no big deal, the letter explained what happened, the passport and W2 were highly legal documents that showed the same address as I listed on my application, not a problem.

I watched the status online. They received my documents and the online status showed that it had been scheduled to be submitted to the consulate that day (it was a Friday) and picked up the next week. This was like April 6th, if I recall correctly.

I was relieved and didn’t think much more about it. I would have my passport back, visa inside, within a week, week and a half at the most. Smooth sailing!

Oddly, though, the status kept changing online. The date it was “scheduled to be submitted on” kept moving farther and farther back. TEN DAYS AFTER IT WAS ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED TO BE SUBMITTED, I received a phone call telling me that this guy from the company had sent me a very important e-mail regarding some “missing information.” This was left as a voicemail, so I instantly checked my e-mail and had nothing. I started calling the number he left me back, trying to get ahold of this guy. I tried for over two hours, at very regular intervals, to get ahold of hi and couldn’t get an answer. I finally got an answer from someone else who worked at the company, who put me on hold to talk to this guy. While I was on hold, I happened to check my e-mail and it had FINALLY arrived:

Good Afternoon Ms. Nichols,
 
After reviewing your file we are unable to submit your application due to some missing information. Even though your school ID has your current address listed on it the Indian consulate will need a letter from your school on a school letterhead stating that you’re currently enrolled and that you live on campus at the address that you provided.
First of all, I was livid because I had been told I would be contacted within 24 business hours if there had been a problem. Here it was ten days later, and this was the first I heard about it. About this time, the dude answered the phone. I told him that the purpose of my call was to tell him I hadn’t received his e-mail, but of course I finally just had. I hid my anger and let him know that I would without a doubt have the letter to him the next day.
SO. I, VERY confused as to how TWO LEGAL DOCUMENTS did not prove my address, yet a letter that anyone could forge did, got ahold of Sterling College and had them fax me a letter to send on to this dude.
I sent it on, then sent him an e-mail letting him know that I had faxed it and to let me know immediately if there was anything else that I needed to do because time was starting to get tight.
I never heard anything back. And never heard. Yet, the submission date was, AGAIN, getting pushed back every day.
I tried to get ahold of this guy AGAIN. Still, nothing.
FINALLY, NINE days later, I get an e-mail from this dude telling me that he never received my documents.
I was furious that I had tried to contact him several times to no avail (on his end) to figure out what was up, had told him that I would have the information to him the next day, yet it took him nine days to get back with me to let me know he didn’t get it. I sent him a response telling him I had sent it to the fax number provided, told him what date and exact time I had sent it, typed the cover letter out to him, and all he responded was to resend it to THIS number. Which happened to be the same number I had sent it to the first time.
SO. The very next day, I did just that. I faxed it. I put a note on the cover sheet this time CLEARLY stating to let me know as soon as he received the document, and if I hadn’t heard within an hour I was going to start calling. I sent him an e-mail letting him know that I had just sent it, and again asking him to let me know that he had got it.
I then got an e-mail back saying that he had received it, but the page was completely blank.
He then, get this, asked if I could just scan it in and e-mail it to him.
I was IN TEARS at this point because the original e-mail I had sent him, the one he never responded to, asked if I could just e-mail him the PDF of it. This was a problem that could have been solved THREE WEEKS AGO if he had been communicating with me.
This was Thursday, the 26th. TWENTY DAYS after it was originally supposed to be submitted.
So, I have not heard back from him that he received the e-mailed documents I sent him that day. The current status of my visa reads:
The Visa application for Nichols, Amber to India (Tourist, Multiple Entry (6 Months)) is estimated to be submitted on 04/26/2012 and estimated to be picked up on 04/30/2012.
So, my guess is that it was NOT submitted on the 26th, and was not picked up today. I board my plane in two weeks and one hour and I don’t know when I will have my visa, mostly at the fault of this company.
To be completely honest, I am SUPER discouraged over this. I know that it will come, I know it will work out exactly how God has planned, but I am just SO FRUSTRATED with all the problems I have had lately! I got my plane tickets, got them for a great deal, but everything since then has been a HUGE issue.
To be completely transparent, I told someone the other day that I just don’t even want to go that bad anymore. This has defeated me and sucked every ounce of excitement out of me.
My brother mentioned that I must be going to have a great trip with huge things happen for as many problems as I’ve had. And I truly hope that is the case. All I can think of right now is, okay, what ELSE is going to go wrong? I’m petrified to get to the airport because of all the scenes I imagine playing out there of things that could go wrong.
SO, that’s where I’m at. Two weeks, and no visa. Defeated. Frustrated. Anxious. Apathetic.
Please pray. Pray for the visa to come, like NOW. Pray for my attitude to change. I’m sure once it arrives and time gets even closer my excitement will return, but right now I am just completely apathetic about this. Pray for NO MORE PROBLEMS!!! Pray that HUGE things WILL happen on this trip, making all this frustration worth it.
Romans 8:28 tells us that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
If I am called to spend the next month in India, which I believe I am, God will work it all together for good and to His glory.
Thanks for praying with me.
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About Amber

Life is better when it's full of joy.
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