Visa and Passport(s)

The first challenge has presented itself. My Visa. For those who don’t know, a Student Visa is required of Americans to stay in the “Schengen Area” (basically just Europe minus the UK) for more than 90 out of every 180 days.  If I were only going to Seville, it wouldn’t be a problem, as the program is a slick 87 days. But I plan to go to Madrid after I complete my time in Seville and to spend the month in between traveling around the area. You see the problem.

Spanish Visa Stock Photo

I began the process of attaining a visa months ago. The first step was having my fingerprints taken so that they could be sent to the FBI for a background check. I completed that step and got to the next, letter from insurance, letter from a doctor, letter from the program, etc. It was quite comprehensive. I waited and waited, and only the day before my Visa appointment, I received my background check! I was all ready. I went to the consulate ready to apply. But bad news. The background check. It needed an Apostle (authentication from the State Department). They gave me ten days to get it and I left. I immediately got on it, figuring out how to send it to DC and have it turn around in time, but then Harvey hit. No mail in or out for a week.

I returned to the consulate a week later empty handed. They told me I still needed it. At this point, I was in panic mode. What do I do? They give me additional time, so I send it off. After sending off the document, I decide to call the folks at CIEE and see what they could do. Lucky for me, they know what they’re talking about. With every problem, there’s a solution. Problem: My passport is stuck at the Spanish consulate and likely won’t be free until after I’m supposed to leave. Solution: A second passport.

Passport Stock Photo

I said “Huh? A second passport?” And sure enough, Americans can get a second passport when theirs is tied up in a foreign government… like mine is! And not only can you get one, but you can get one in less than a week. Uncle Sam moves mountains to get you where you need to go! I’ve got my appointment for it tomorrow morning and assuming everything goes well, I should have a blue book with my face in it ready for me to travel next Wednesday! As for the Visa, it may be done in a week or it may be done in a month! There’s no way of knowing. Luckily I can enter Spain just fine without one, it’s just the staying that’s the problem…

Wish me luck at the passport office!

Airplane Stock Photo