With the upcoming election in the United States, many are aware of the fact that governments are fickle and politics annoy. This also includes the paperwork that goes along with it.
Now, in order to study abroad for more than 90 days, one needs a Student Visa, so you must make the journey to the Consulate General. The Italian Consulate General is in Los Angeles, on the Avenue of the Stars. So I made my appointment and counted down the days to when I would make that dreaded drive through the southern California freeway system. However, the first time around, my appointment was canceled by the system. As I stood there staring across the counter at this young Italian woman, I was dumbfounded. My appointment had been CANCELED?! Mi scusi? That cannot possibly be right, I confirmed the appointment and everything. She simply told me to make another appointment as soon as I got home and to hope for the best. There was nothing else I could possibly do at that point. So I turned to my father who looked at me with wondering eyes and all I could do was shake my head and look down, humiliated and ashamed. This was supposed to be the last hoop I had to jump through, the easy part. Needless to say, the ride home was pretty quiet. So I made an appointment for the 5th of August as soon as I got home that evening.
As the 5th approached, I checked my appointments and reservations religiously, out of nerves. Every time I checked it was still there complete with a green check mark and the word “Confermato” next to it. I was set.
So I prepared with a manilla envelope with three copies of everything: Insurance policy, Consulate letters from Italy and Roanoke, the application, along with my passport and drivers license, among others. Once there, my name was called and I gingerly stepped up to the window and pulled everything out and handed it to the same young woman from before. The one thing that I did not have was the entire Insurance Policy, I only had the summary. So my father and I found a FedEx and printed all 27 pages of the policy. There is no fee for a Student Visa itself, but printing everything cost him about $25. I was silently cursing myself for that one as I watched each page fill with legal jargon and medical guidelines.
The Italian Consulate closes from 13:00 to 14:00 as they do in Europe, so we had to wait. We found a nice Starbucks in the same office building as the FedEx, however, I felt like I could not eat anything, I was so nervous still. I was on edge and could not relax anywhere. Once we got back and gave the policy to the young woman she told us that we could go home. I was done. What do you mean, it’s over? That’s it? Ok, bye, see ya, adios, ciao. I was done, I just have to wait two more weeks to receive it in the mail.
As frustrating as that is, it is over. I have done everything that I need to do.
If you or a loved one are going abroad and need a visa, make sure you make copies of everything and print out everything, and I mean everything. It will make it a lot less painful for everybody involved.
15 more days.
Ciao for now.