Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Visa update

Went to the Venezuelan consulate today. Their website didn't have much information and didn't even have a form. Since French and EU nationals don't need a visa, it's obviously not a big issue with them. Unfortunately, India's not in the list of countries which don't require visas.

Since I wasn't too sure if I would get a visa or not, I didn't want to buy a ticket and then realise I couldn't go. Also, wasn't sure about where to fly out from and where and when to fly to back. I want to keep the South America trip open ended, so I used the AA website to book a ticket and keep it on hold for 24 hours. The nice thing about that is that the printout looks exactly like the receipt of a confirmed ticket, with a confirmation code, seat numbers, etc. It requires some careful reading to notice that it says HOLD and not PURCHASED.

The consulate is in the 16th district, where most of the other consulates and embassies are located. Headed there armed with all my documents and walked in. The 2 officers there didn't speak English, and when I asked about applying for a visa they asked for my residency permit. Obviously, I didn't have it so they said I couldn't apply for it from Paris and I should go back to India.

I'd anticipated such a situation and went ready with an excuse. I lied to them and said that I had a job in London and that I was moving there in June. I showed her my UK visa and somehow she didn't notice that it was a tourist visa. Showed her other documents of my positions in Germany and France, so somehow she believed that I was actually employed and had been travelling in Germany and France on important research related work.

She couldn't understand why I was going to Venezuela in the middle of all this. I told her about some close friends who'd moved back there and wanted me to be there for their wedding (not true at all). Then I smiled and said I've always dreamed of travelling in Venezuela (not entirely true). Since they didn't look like they were going to deny it outright, I tried to be friendly and innocent. I was told to wait and she called up her supervisor and there was a very animated conversation, between the two officers and the supervisor which I couldn't follow at all.

Finally, they gave me a form to fill out and asked for all my documents. Thankfully, they didn't ask for a bank statement. My Boston account is now dangerously close to zero and I still haven't been paid in Paris (and probably won't be paid till I leave). Had she seen my current financial status, she would have probably denied it as I doubt if I can afford to pay for even my ticket.

Anyway, it worked out and I have to go back next week to pick it up. I don't think anyone's ever walked out of that consulate so happy. I'm thinking of pushing my luck and applying for a Brazillian visa from here as well. Still have to buy tickets as I'm planning to leave in a little over a month, but that's something which I'll put off till I see what the Brazillian consulate says.


shakester said...

all this sounds exciting enough,...but you're off to South America- lucky!

bandafbab said...

Just have to work out a few more things and in a little over a month, I'll be in a different continent. Then the World Cup!

Churu Churu said...

shit this so reminds me of my struggles with the italian/schengen visa consulate in india.
i traveled to four different cities to get four shitty stamps on my certificates and thanks to Italian Consulate, today my certificate looks like a piece of paper I doodled on.

Oh well, put to good use, i guess?.

But I'm only rambling, your travels have been very exciting. Some day... (looks into the distance)