So summer is coming up and mankind is dreaming of jetting off to Miami, New York, or Oklahoma (thought I’d include Forgetful Jones’ favourite spot for some popularity equality).
For years now, Trinis have been complaining about their chances of getting their US visa. Students, old people, young people, married people, let’s face it… you could be prepared for months, and you could still be easily be rejected.
I remember when I went for mine a few years ago, I saw a young lady, fashionably dressed in a nice suit and all that jazz. She oozed of confidence, because, I mean, if she lookin’ so good, they must give it to she, right? Uh… no. My girl had to walk out with her head held low. And you know everybody knows when you don’t get through!
Now when going for your visa, it’s important to note that it’s all about strategy and timing. So, with all of the odds, and uncertainty involved, when are the best times to go get a visa?
When you doh need it
The best time to apply for your visa is when you’re just applying ‘fuh so’. That way, if you get turned away, it won’t hurt as much. If you really want it, applying for your US visa is a nerve-wracking experience. You pray and fast, and fast and pray all over again, and your fate is decided within a few minutes (there goes the great speech you practised). All that drama for an attendant to watch you once, not ask you for the pile of documents you so carefully put together (without a ‘dog ear’ in sight to boot), and tell you you don’t have enough ties to T&T – even though you have a house, are enrolled in school, and know that the only place to get the best doubles ever is in sweet T&T. If those aren’t enough ties, what is, right?
When you doh feel to talk
… ‘Cause, like I said before, yuh know they hardly ask you a thing. In three minutes they decide yes or no. I guess that’s the reason for the online application, right? Chances are you’ve been assessed before you actually show up for your appointment.
When the person who says NO is on sick leave or vacation
There’s a myth that is believed to be true, and that is that there is a particular attendant who tells people no. So you better pray that Ms Say No isn’t the person who calls your name. I’d tell you run for the toilet one time, so that another person calls you, but then I don’t know if they’d call your name again. And it’s been so long since I’ve gone to the embassy that I can’t even remember if they have toilets for the public to use in the first place! But, like I said. It’s all a myth. Whether you believe it or not, depends on what you’ve heard.
When you have $882 to waste
Getting your visa is like playing a mark – an expensive one. Even if you can afford to waste $882, it still hurts to have your pride bruised and lose money at the same time. I have a friend who was genuinely embarrassed that she didn’t get through. She had no plans of staying in the US. She just wanted to make a ‘lil trip’. She wondered whether the attendant thought she wanted to go abroad to ‘hook’ a man, and while she obsessed over all the reasons why she was rejected, despite her secure tenure, she also felt a hole in her pocket that was too deep for her to ignore.
So like I said, only apply when you can afford to bear the hurt of losing $882. Depending on how you deal with rejection, it’s also advisable to have $100 set aside to go lime with friends and drown your sorrow afterwards.
When your bank account is fat
Now yuh know Trinis. We know how to ‘work’ things to suit our situation. So I’m sure most of you have heard about a tantie, cousin, brother, or nen nen putting a little money in someone’s account to make them look like they have plenty money.
While appearing to be financially secure (note the word appearing) is very important when applying for your visa, I was recently told that sometimes it has no bearing on the outcome. Why do I say this, when we all believe we need to walk to Marli Street armed with an impressive bank statement? See, just the other night, one of my friends told me that her brother went to the embassy with a less-than-impressive statement. “Gyul I too embarrassed to tell you how much; I mean how little he had,” she said.
I guess, as the saying goes, getting the stamp of approval depends on what they’re looking for.
When you already have one
Word is, it’s always best to apply to renew your visa while it’s still current. I’d be fronting if I had a detailed account of why people say this, but I’m sure someone can tackle this in the comments.
When your documents are in order
Regardless of what you think about the visa application process, it’s always a safe bet to ensure that you have all your documents prepared, and to try to meet all of their criteria. Yes, I know you’ll say that sometimes it really doesn’t matter, because you could still be rejected, but at least you tried? And as Aaliyah (may her soul rest in peace) said, “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again”. You just have to shrug your shoulders, and hope for the best.
See, going for your visa appointment is much like ‘working up’ yourself to tell someone you ‘looooooovvvvveeeee’ them. You don’t know how they’ll react, and as much as you’d like to tell yourself, “que sera sera”, you know you’ll ‘dig ah horrors’, if things don’t go your way. I guess that’s why some people would say that the best time to go is “never”. No time is the perfect time for rejection, but you know what? Trinis will keep on trying to get that visa… because who doh like summer and Thanksgiving sales?