Between paying $131 for a US visa application and trying your luck in the slot machines, I’d choose the latter. At least with legalized gambling, you get a free Coke and a sandwich. Not with the d*ickheads-in-residence at the NIV Unit of the US Embassy in Manila who go through their job without rhyme and reason. I actually thought being a “diplomat” was a distinguished, honorable profession until you encounter them in real life (okay, I dated one of their ilk in my younger years, but that’s another story!)
Cases in point: they don’t maintain eye-to-eye contact. All they care about is making notes on their computer screen
They talk to their counter seatmates (and laughing at that!) while Filipino visa applicants are there in front of them, waiting for their fate to be decided.
Some of them actually use headsets with microphones so that the rest of humanity can hear the interrogation and humiliating comments they subject Filipino visa applicants to. Comments that are uncalled for and unwanted, like this personal encounter I had with a certain Mr. Norman Culbertson (???) who told me to get a fiancee visa when I was clearly JUST applying for a vacation!
It would have been better if Mr. Culbertson just denied me up front and put the X on that blue slip, but no, he rattles on further to say: “if your boyfriend is serious with you, why don’t you tell him to get you a fiancee visa? You don’t even have to apply for it, we will process it for you.”
Well heck, Mr. Culbertson, I detest your insinuation. An engagement (as you proposed) is different from the real purpose of my travel, which is a
booty call vacation! You also forgot that I don’t have to get a fiancee visa when I can aim straight for a spouse visa 😛 or go apply for the dang journalist visa. You keep a one-track mind and nitpick on my love life and clearly disregard the fact that I’ve had two US visas, Schengen visas, the Japan, China, South Korea visas yadda yadda yadda. Clearly, I don’t have the character or inclination to settle out of the country soon? And the fact that I’ve shown you the 10-year mortgage contract to the house I just bought in Manila as well the full custody of three minor children means that am really not exchanging my life in the country for anywhere else – right here, right now.
Shortly after this post came out, a friend called to agree with me on what I pointed out here. She told me of this family of eight who owned a building in Makati and got denied , and just because they wanted to go see Disneyland! That’s more than $1000 in visa fees down the drain.
It is a pity really. There’s no place for honesty in these US visa interviews; in fact, honesty can get you nowhere. The fact that I have an American boyfriend lends me highly suspect as a potential immigrant, but other more compelling proofs I presented (previous visas etc.) would have excluded that possibility as well.
As reader Doug, an American, commented in my other US Embassy post: “If some of the other countries had the same rules we had for immigration, very few Americans would get through any embassies unless they were ready to lie through their teeth. No, itâ€™s not a perfect world, but some people actually tell the truth, and stereotypes and bias should not be the guideline for inclusion, as it is only the vehicle for exclusion. American embassies should not serve to exclude but to include based on real, accurate facts, not on innuendo.”
MY conclusion is that : the US Embassy Manila’s NIV Unit has no directly measurable standards and benchmarks for granting US tourist visas. It is based merely on the gut feel and false psychology of their dumb*ss visa officers whose sense of judgment are, more often, erroneous and skewed. They don’t even take a moment to ask for vital documents to prove your case and study them, the kind of scrutiny that your $131 deserves. And that is why I say it is almost like a scam.
Paging US Embassy Manila Non-IMmigrant Visa chief Karen L. Christensen, hope you read this and get your act together. The officer who insulted me by saying I should get a fiancee visa deserves the supreme karma of being assigned to the US Embassy in Afghanistan. 😀