Written: December 10 – 2nd
Oh my magic passport that makes me deal with visas!
The story of the last 2 weeks, here we go.
It happened that after 5 years of being in AIESEC and travelling to different conferences and meetings my passport is full of visas. And actually when I got closer to all my fall-winter trips I’ve realized I’ve got only 3 pages, exactly for my last 3 visas: Brazil, UK, re-entry to Netherlands. I even had to cancel my trip to Poland that i’ve planned for New Year, to meet Marek and Kasia.
When i went to UK embassy, after taking my application, they returned the passport to me, saying to come in a week to get visa (this is their practice, actually a good one, to give passport back ). But when I opened it, I’ve realized that one of my 3 visa pages was used to put small stamp about attendance of the embassy!!! and so this page is not valid to put visa, and I have still 3 visas to get and only 2 pages! Brazil trip is work-critical and expensive to cancel, re-entry visa is needed to actually be able to get back to Netherlands. And I can’t get new passport in Netherlands, it can be done only in Belarus. And anyways time is not enough to fly home and back. So I already prepared to reject my UK visa they were about to give me – 6 month multy-entries… But luckily lovely Ducth legal services put me re-entry Dutch visa to a page that was used by crossing-border stamps, so they saved a page. Happy, I go to UK embassy and give passport. In 20 min they return it, saying – “sorry, miss, we put a visa of another person into your passport. But we have cancelled it, and put your own visa on the last page – you had one, so you’ll not have problems”
I was shocked, seriously! How come is it possible that embassy – UK embassy!- makes a mistake with visas and screweds up all my travel plans??? Realizing that i don’t have suitable pages for my Brazil trip (which was in a week time at that point), makes me feel terrible.
After being back from London, I go to Brazil embassy. And they refuse to give me visa, saying no pages available, and that they can’t give me any other paper for visa to be attached to the passport. I’m almost crying, it is 3 days before I have to leave to Brazil. can you imagine that the trip you were so pasionate about is about being cancelled? People in the office are pity for me, Tom is ready to call and shout at UK embassy for them to do something.
But my last hope is Belarus embassy. The thing is that I have last page of my passport, before personal data, which is for official Belarus legal stamps only, and is not for anything else, not for visas either. But it’s empty, and I hope it can be used for visas still if my state gives a permission (Brazil embassy refused to put a visa there when I came to them). So I call Belarus embassy them and luckily get to talk to some around-thirty guy who is the 1st secretary. I explain the whole situation to him, he says – we’ll try to do something, call back in the afternoon. He was actually trying to flirt with me over phone 🙂 Probably they are bored in the embassy, and not often young ladies call them asking to help with Brazil trip 🙂 So I call again, and he asks to come tomorrow, saying that consul will help, by writing some paper, and if it’s not enough, they will call Brazil embassy asking to help me.
I go, they make me a paper asking all embassies in Netherlands to support me with visa queries and as an exception put a visa on the last page. Meanwhile as consul writes that paper, I talk with the guy who was helping me, he askes what I do in Netherlands, I tell about AIESEC, word by word – he says it’s a pity there is no AIESEC in Belarus, and actually he can try to help somehow in Minsk if we decide still to activate our operations there. Yoho, power of conversation!
With the paper my embassy gave me, I go to Brazil embassy, the visa guy reads it, smiles, says he needs to talk to consul. In 5 min he is back – they are giving me visa!!!
Oh how happy I was! people were looking at me strangely on the street when i was jumping and smiling all my way back to the office 🙂
Probably it was one of those very-very few moments when I really appreciated Belarussian authorities 🙂
All is set for Brazil trip after that, and actually I’m writing this story on my plane to Sao Paolo 🙂