Filling out a visa application…

3 11 2007

I thought that I was a pretty intelligent person, with a higher university degree and speaking several languages – however, filling out forms is not always so easy. Or for that matter to chose the right alternative when calling to an automatic voice system.

For example calling the American embassy in Stockholm is easier said than done… (not to mention the US embassy in Belgium, they charge you 15 EUR for every phone call). They have telephone hours between 13-15 Monday to Thursday, except local and American holidays. The first times I called I just got an automatic message repeating their phone hours – hello, I am calling at 13.20 on a Thursday, and what I know there is no American or local holiday today!? Frustration…

Last week I tried calling again and another automatic message tells me their phone number: Well, I am calling this number, so you don’t need to repeat which number I have just dialled… and then gives the different options: dial 2 for English, dial 3 for Swedish, please stay on the line. Should I press 2, 3 or stay on the line?? I listened to the options a few times, pressed 3 for Swedish and was told that all operators were busy, thanks and goodbye! Was I not supposed to stay on the line? But how can I stay on the line if the line has been interrupted?

I dialled again and chose 2 for English – and a Swedish guy answers, and despite my frustration, I could acknowledge that he was actually very friendly and helpful!

Now to filling out those forms: I don’t know how I can fill out all the countries I have visited in the last 10 years including the year?? Especially when the form allows me to mention THREE countries (the computer kept going “ping” every time I tried to write more)? Should I write “Denmark – every year, Germany – probably every year, Switzerland – can’t remember but probably almost every year, etc.” I travel a lot and I don’t keep track of every time I have visited Denmark which takes 20 minutes by train to visit from Malmö! Ok, so in the end I added an extra sheet of paper and mentioned all  the non-EU countries and when I have visited them, plus wrote all the EU countries I have visited without the year… I have been to 31 countries – most of them in the last 10 years…

Why are the boxes always so small on forms? The only box that was too big was the one for family – I only have two parents and two siblings, there was so much space left over – couldn’t they have left me some of that space under Education and Countries visited?!

Oh well… wish me luck next week when I have my visa interview! You are not allowed to bring mobile phones in to the embassy building, so I have made a mental note to leave everything at my friend’s place in the suburbs where I will be staying. My plan is to write down her phone number on a piece of paper and find a phone booth (they do still exist, don’t they?) after the interview to call her so that we can meet in town afterwards (she’s on maternity leave, very practical!)… with my mobile phone I have also bought a thick wool cardigan to wear as you need wait outside for your turn – it’s November now and it might be pretty cold in Stockholm!

Why are they making life so complicated? The most annoying thing is that I don’t even want to go to the US – I am going to Puerto Rico! I know, I know, it’s part of the US… but still!


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8 responses

3 11 2007
Lotta K

Lycka till Petra! Låter som om du får stå ut med USA:s sämsta sida…

4 11 2007
saltistjejen

Ja det där med små boxar….
Det värsta är ändå när det är ens namn som inte ryms!!!! Grrrr!!! Högst irriterande.
Lycka till iallafall!

4 11 2007
petchie

Saltistjejen, oj du måste ha ett långt namn! Jag förstår inte varför boxarna ska vara så små, om de nu ska ha all information om ens liv så kunde de ju underlätta ifyllnaden av formulären!

4 11 2007
petchie

Lotta K, nja, amerikanerna trilskas väl med alla som vill in på deras territorium även om det råkar vara en liten karibisk ö…

5 11 2007
Kicki

Ja, det är ju lite moment 22 över dessa visumansökningar. Vi hade rätt mycket att fylla i inför vår Australienflytt men jag tror att USA är strået vassare.

Däremot alla flytt- och karantändokument…. OMG!
De är livrädda att få in jord och fröer osv i landet så vi satt i dagar och fyllde i alla flyttdokument på vårt bohag. Man skulle dokumentera allt som hade träinslag, korgar osv osv… Hua, vilken tid det tog!

5 11 2007
petchie

Kicki, visst blir man bara så trött på allt som ska fixas och fylla i innan man ska flytta! Vi slapp fylla i en massa dokument inför flytten, flyttfirman fixade det mesta.
Vilket träslag – oj oj oj, tur kanske att Ikeas möbler för det mesta inte är äkta trä, ha ha!

5 11 2007
desvon

Jag vet precis hur jobbigt det är. Men så är den den amerikanska byråkratin. De gör de inte lätt för någon som ska in på amerikansk mark. Hoppas det gick bra med visum intervjuvn. Jag har också varit med om alla de där små minimala rutorna där inget får plats. Jag har fått skriva utanför helt enkelt.

5 11 2007
petchie

Desiree, intervjun är på torsdag! Jag är bara förundrad över hur komplicerat allt är, från storleken på fotot som inte är det vanliga passfoto-storleken till hur svårt det är att få tag på någon på ambassaden.
Jag är så trött på amerikanerna redan, så jag hoppas att jag trots allt kan vara trevlig och leende under intervjun, grr!

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