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.
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.