Applying For a Visa: A Really Boring Video Game.

Hello folks, a little placement update for you all. Visas are harder to come by than I thought. It felt like in order to fill out one form you had to fill out multiple other forms and find loads of pieces of information in order to get onto the next stage. Like a really boring video game.

Hurdle #1 – Finding the Right Form
So I got onto the website, that was easy enough. Fill out basic information like you would on most application forms. Answer crazy amounts of questions to make sure I’m not going to the US for any dodgy reasons like espionage or human trafficking (no, no, no, etc)

Hurdle #2 – SEVIS
It asks for a SEVIS ID and my first reaction was, what the bloody hell is a SEVIS?! Well let me tell you,

SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. It is a
nationwide, Internet-based system that the U.S. government uses to maintain
accurate and current information on non-immigrant students (F and M visa),
exchange visitors (J visa), and their dependents (F-2, M-2, and J-2).

Does that clear things up for you? It kind of did for me. But the thing I found with applying for a visa and its associated paperwork is that as soon as you find the answer to one question it opens up another three. Which makes it a very time consuming process! Some students have to pay the fee, some are exempt. Finding out which I was took ages and I’m still only 70% sure I got it right. Any onto the next one!

Hurdle #3 – Program Number
So I sent out a couple of emails but didn’t get any answers so I actually called up Marist College for this one. The people I needed to talk to weren’t available so I just had to wait for an email but it sure was exciting to hear the accent I’m going to be surrounded by in a little over 5 weeks. They said things like “gotcha” and “sure”, which may sound little to you but whilst I was on hold I mouthed to my Dad “oh my god, their accents!!”. (I’m going to need to control myself when I get over there.) Useful email received, program number located, stage completed!

Hurdle #4 – Submit, pay and book an appointment
This part was much simpler. However, on the website it said the waiting time for an appointment for my type of visa was 13 calendar days. This is lies!! Don’t believe this! It was actually closer to 30 days. So don’t let the website lull you into a false sense of security like it did for me. Application submitted, fee paid and appointment booked. Almost there!

Hurdle #4 – The Appointment
I won’t complete this stage for a couple of weeks and I’m hoping it all goes off without a hitch. I read on a website that it was good to get one of those folders with built in plastic wallets to keep all of your paper work in for your year abroad so I’ve made one of those and have all my visa application documents in it ready for the trip to London.

And that’s as far as I’ve got with my visa application so far. My biggest wish is that I’d started it all weeks earlier, but the past is the past and fingers crossed everything gets sorted in time. Actually, my biggest wish is that someone had done it all for me but I’m nowhere near rich enough for a servant! I just had to keep reminding myself that it will all be worth it and the reward isn’t in the too far future. That’s as far as I’ve got with the visa application process, to be continued…

Sophie x


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