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Visa, Get! June 19, 2009

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Ramblings, Up and Away.
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Honestly, this last trip overseas nearly didn’t happen. It wasn’t really planned and hinged entirely on whether the wife could get a US visa. Given the speed with which the gears of bureaucracy turn in the Philippines, we thought that the complication would be getting the necessary documents together as evidence of the wedding and such. Turns out that was the least of our worries.

While I’ve had my share of issues applying for a visa somewhere or other before, this experience takes the cake. It was almost as if circumstances were conspiring to keep us from getting anywhere. You be the judge.

Saturday, March 14
The wedding. Marriage contract signed this date; parish office will process this and send it to the civil registry.

Monday, March 23
Honeymoon! ‘Nuff said.

Tuesday, March 31
Back to reality. Wife works on getting certified copy of marriage contract from civil registry. Result: due for release on Thursday, April 9.

Thursday, April 9
Acquired certified marriage contract. Wife sets visa interview appointment with US Embassy for April 27.

Friday-Sunday, April 10-26
Getting other paperwork in order — bank statements, itinerary, etc. — for visa interview. Somewhere in between, parents ask how things are going, so we inform them that the interview is on April 27. Consequently, it is decided that the departure date for the trip be set for May 10.

Monday, April 27
Appointment day at US Embassy. First thing in the morning. Wife is told that everything is in order; however, her passport should also reflect her married status. Consular officer gives wife a copy of Form 221(g), with instructions to mail it in with the new passport so the visa can be issued.

Accordingly, we go to get wife a new passport in the afternoon. After completing the application process, the new passport is slated for expedited release on May 8, making it very unlikely we will be able to obtain the visa in time for the scheduled departure date.

Tuesday, April 28
Trying to pull strings so the passport can be released sooner. No luck.

Wednesday, April 29
Still trying to pull strings. Wife’s bag stolen on way to work. Among items in bag: old passport, claim stub for new passport, and form 221(g).

Thursday, April 30
Strings pulled! New passport can be released before May 8. A good thing, too, as it makes sure the cretin who stole the wife’s bag can’t claim the new passport himself.

Friday, May 1
Holiday (Labor Day). Government offices shut down.

Saturday-Sunday, May 2-3
Weekend. Government offices still shut down.

Monday, May 4
Informed that that passport can be picked up in the afternoon. Wife picks up passport and sends it to US Embassy by courier, indicating my office address as the return address.

Tuesday, May 5
Embassy receives passport sometime before noon. Family decides to push trip back to May 12.

Wednesday-Thursday, May 6-7
No word. Biding Time.

Friday, May 8
Received notice from courier that passport is in transit back to us. Later informed that estimated delivery is the next day between 9-5.

Saturday, May 9
Received notice that passport has been dispatched for delivery, possibly as early as 9am. I report at the office to pick up passport for wife, who has to stays home to attend to other matters. By 2pm still no passport; I call the courier company to find out what’s taking so long and learn that there is an error in the street address on the delivery form.

Made arrangements to have delivery agent informed accordingly.

Correction made, passport delivered!

Sunday, May 10
If the trip hadn’t been pushed back, we would have left now!

Monday, May 11
Last day before departure…

Tuesday, May 12
And off we go!

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