Update on our quest for an American tourist Visa

We got it, a one year visa to the U.S. in spite of all the nonsensical advice from know it alls who claimed it would be difficult, or next to impossible. And we didn’t spend one dime with any of those flim flam visa advice agencies. Did it all on our own. I am especially gratified recalling what a Thai legal advisor I had some dealings with before told my girlfriend in a bar in Drinking Street around a year ago. This man used to give presentations at the Expat Club before 100 to 150 Westerners. He told us, “Forget it. Don’t even try. It’s a waste of your time and money.” But I don’t think he was listening to me. I told him I didn’t want a fiancee visa, I only wanted a short term travel visa. Turns out it’s called a B-2 Visa and there’s an entirely different application process for it on the American Embassy web site. Meanwhile friends of my girlfriend who only had a sixth grade education told her, “It’s easy for you and Jack because all you are doing is applying for a short term visitors visa” (they might not be well educated but they were listening).

Got delayed a little getting the Pin number one must purchase in order to set an appointment with the American Embassy in Bangkok. The web site did not function when it came to accomplishing that with my credit card but we got it easily at the Thai Post office. The next problem occurred when I tried to access the area on the web site where I could see what dates and times were available. I had already submitted my girl friend’s picture and the DS-160 application form under which I got a user name and password. The user name did not work when I tried to make an appointment online. The trick was to create a NEW user name so I sent a message to the U.S. Embassy stating this problem and I got a message back that I had to use a new user name even though I already had one. Okay…from then on, no problems. One more trip to the post office, this time to pay my nonrefundable $160.00 application fee and we were on our way. (Incidentally the Thai post office seems extremely well run. In eight years I have never failed to get a single visa statement, bank statement or purchased item sent to me from the U.S. even when the mailing address is horribly botched).

We had prepared documents galore stating and proving our case that we have been together for over 4.5 years, that we had traveled together to Vietnam, Malaysia, Macau and Hong Kong and that we are about to go to Japan. The embassy official who interviewed my girlfriend looked at next to none of that, but he did look at a document I had scanned proving I owned a condo here. My girlfriend entered the embassy at 10.00 for her 10.30 appointment, but they started processing her at that time and she was out of the Embassy at 10.30. The official who interviewed her kept her passport, and that indicated to us and a few of her Thai friends that she had been successful. She had to pay a small fee to have the embassy send her passport back to our condo by courier. Two days later…it was here.

The people she talked with at the embassy told her that all these agencies that help candidates get their American visas are a waste of time and money. The point made was, they can’t stamp your visa into your passport. Only we can.

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