The consulate wants my passport to issue a visa but I am afraid I will not get it back in time: what to do?
July 22, 2010 8:13 AM Subscribe
I am in a bit of a bureaucratic bind and I need some advice. Short story: I leave for a trip in 10 days and at this point have no visa for the country that I will be living in for a year. The consulate just emailed me a couple of hours ago and informed me that I need to send my passport to them (who are located in a city 12 hours away) in order that they can issue me the visa. Problem: I have been trying to get this visa for months now, and they have been terribly slow every step of the way. I am worried that I will not get my passport back in time before my flight. What do I do?
More details, but first here is the email that I received:
We are still waiting for your temporary stay visa confirmation from Immigration office in [Capital City of Country X]. While we are waiting for the visa confirmation, could you please to send your original passport to our office at [address] together with the visa application form that you have been filled it. You can download the application at our website at [consulate website]. Also please give us registered mail with your address on it for returning your passport (Fedex is recommended). But it would be better if you could come directly to our office at the end of July 2010.
I would just do as the email says express post my passport with another paid express post envelope inside and would trust that the visa was processed before I left (although even for the most efficient and dependable countries I would think that 10 days is cutting it rather close.) However, my experience with this entire process so far — if it helps I am studying in the country for a year abroad; it is in SE Asia — has been nothing but delay after delay, and it has been rather difficult to communicate with the consulate directly (due in part to the language barrier and in part due to disorganization on their behalf.)
The consulate website says that visa processing "normally" takes 3 days upon receipt, which means that even if I overnight the application tomorrow, I will not receive my visa by the Friday before I leave, perhaps Thursday if I am lucky. I leave on a Tuesday. This is of course if everything goes as planned.
These are the three options that I have thought of. If you have another idea, that would be great.
Option A: Do not send away my passport. Instead, apply for a Visa on Arrival when I arrive in the capital city. The advantage of this is that it will get me into the country. The disadvantage is that I will be going against the procedures of this application process (to be more specific it is a gov't sponsored scholarship to study in this country for a year.)
Option B: Fly to the city where the consulate is located and have the visa processed on the spot. I am not entirely sure they would do this for me, but seeing how I flew all the way there I think there is a good chance they could issue my visa on the day of. The disadvantage to this is the $350 of the round trip ticket and inconvenience of going all the way there.
Option C: Overnight express post my passport and cross my fingers. Of course this makes me nervous. But maybe I am stressing out too much about this? Is this typical procedure this close to my departure date?
I should also let you guys know that I have no trip cancellation insurance. Thank you in advance for your assistance!