Wednesday, May 6, 2015

US Visa Application Experience

I’m a person whom always believed that everything has its own perfect timing. Sometimes we just need to slow down, stay calm and just let things happen. I was so preoccupied during the month of April for the processing of our US visa application. This is in relation to our official business trip to Silicon Valley in San Francisco, California this May 2015. Silicon Valley is a nickname for the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area in the United States. It is home to many of the world's largest high-tech corporations, as well as thousands of tech startup companies. Our government has it's vision of becoming a World Class University Town by the year 2020.  The Emerging Hub for a Knowledge-based businesses in the Philippines. 

The US visa application process is quite easy and not complicated. My department serves as travel agency for the application of  visa for the 25 official delegates to this Silicon Valley exposure trip in San Francisco California. It was a very stressful task. I was just so thankful that I have a very systematic and patient office staffs that assist me on the processing of documents from online application to bank payment.

Below are the conversation among selected members of the group applicants and the very accommodating US consular officer. She first asks on the purpose of our travel.

Consul: What is your purpose of travel?

Me: It’s an exposure trip to Silicon Valley.

Consul: How many of you will be going to Silicon Valley?

Me: We are composed of 25 delegates.

Consul: Oh? You’re a big group then. Ok, can you excuse me for a while? I just have to make some research. (And she went out for a while and left us mystify).

And as the interview proceeds she told us that she have to make some research as to the nature of our group request since we are from the government sector. And told us that she needs to be careful in the category of visa that she has to issue for our group or else this might cause problem during our travel. The moment she told us that, I already assumed that we can secure a visa but not in a multiple entry. I’m gifted with that kind of instinct. The moment she get back on her window counter for interview she told us to fall in line as she will do the interview individually. Everyone becomes uneasy then, meaning even though we applied for a group interview and I'm one of the group leader still the consul preferred to do the interview one by one.  I was the second one among the group who was being interviewed. 

Consul: Have you been to Europe?

Me: Yes, last 2002 and 2004.

Consul: What country?

Me: Germany and Italy

Consul: Why in Germany?

Me: Because five of my mother’s siblings are residing in Germany.

Consul: Do you have other country visited aside from Europe?

Me: Yes, I’ve been to asian country, such as Hongkong, Macau, China, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. 

Consul: Have you been to US?

Me: No

Consul: Do you have relatives in the US?

Me: None

Consul: How long have you been in the government service?

Me: Almost 17 years.

Consul: Ok congratulations! Please wait for your visa in 3 days.

Me: Thank You.

Consul: Good luck! (With matching hand waves and sweet smile) 

The interview is just as simple as that. There is one thing that you have to remember during interview, be smart and take a lot of self-confidence. However, as I have received my passport, only single entry was given to me and to the rest of the delegates. Only three out of the 25 applicants had received multiple entries. Even though I had similar travel history to those who are given multiple entries still I was not lucky enough to have the same visa entry. Maybe because of my age, I’m on my late 30s, single and still on the prime of my career unlike them they are on their mid 50s and had longer government service record. Nevertheless, I am still thankful that I was given the chance and opportunity to explore multiple cities of USA. May the good Lord bless and rewarded the man behind this initiative and the expected output of this noble intention. I know God is with us on this trip.

Happiness overload. It’s just only mean one thing; working so hard isn’t really tiring after all. Thank you Lord for this gift of travel. The single nomads will soon conquer the US! :-)