07 Jul The Visa Story
Here’s a long one, in case you wanna know what’s going on in my life.
So, I’m kinda tired of explaining this visa thing over and over again. I know people are interested to know what’s going on with my life and why this visa is so important. I know people care (well, I choose to think so) and sometimes I don’t mind telling the story over and over again, but sometimes I do. So here’s the somewhat full version of how it all began.
So in order to marry Ross in the US, I would need to apply for the Fiancé visa. Once I get the visa, I need to get my ass into US and marry that man within 90 days otherwise the visa expires. We started the application in January this year and hired an immigration lawyer to help us with the process because we wanted to cover every single detail of the visa and not be denied just because we did not submit what was required.
We know that the visa application will take several months and would cost us a few thousand dollars. But hey, people do stupid things for love right?
I won’t go into the nitty-gritty stuff because they can be boring especially if visa application does not pertain to you (but I’ll probably write another post on the details which includes the documents, processes, dates, etc of the visa application process because in my journey, I read some blogs about what they went through and I found them really helpful (especially in knowing that when there are bumps along the way, someone has gone through them and emerge on the other side).
So, the first problem we had was a lawyer who took a very long time to reply to our emails. We had so many questions to ask but she always gave us those kind of vague answers which were really annoying. We got past that when Ross got so mad one day and called her managers. Since then, she has been very prompt with her replies and her answers were actually useful. As much as we didn’t want to seem over-demanding, we feel as though we somewhat deserve better service since we are paying thousands of dollars to hire her.
We submitted the application and waited. So, this is the harsh truth about applying for a visa- especially the K1 Fiancee Visa. It is a bloody expensive waiting game. All you do is wait. And whether the US or the Singapore side, they will never tell you an exactly when you’ll be receiving a document or when you’ll hear back from them. It’s always a very vague range like 4.5months to 7months.
The second step after submitting the actual application itself is waiting for the National Visa Centre in the US to send you a letter saying that they have received your application. This letter is called the Notice of Action 1. At this stage, you don’t have to do anything yet but wait until they process it and send you the Notice of Action 2. NOA2 will be sent to you between 4.5 to 7 months. So, to play it safe, I assumed that we will hear back form them on the 7th month, in July.
But surprise, surprise, we were lucky that we received NOA2 in April. Of course, between January and April, we were going crazy wondering when it’s going to come. So much for a free world, I felt as though my life was on hold during this period. I didn’t know if I should leave US, I couldn’t commit to any school or work because I have no idea where I’m going to be in the next few months. I couldn’t plan, I could only assume. It sucked.
Even after receiving the NOA2, you can’t really do anything but to wait some more.
When you receive the NOA2, it means that your application is successful BUT you have to do several more stuff that will eat your money and your life before you can actually step foot into the country.
The application will be sent to the Singapore embassy and you will just have to wait until they send you a snail mail on the interview details.
So much for globalisation and rapid delivery of goods. Apparently, rapid delivery does not exist in these government agencies’ dictionary.
I came back to Singapore in May because my 90 days of being in the US is up. As a tourist and under the ESTA, I can only stay in the US for up to 90 days. Travelling across land border to Canada or Mexico does not “reset” the 90 days. I would choose to travel around the world waiting for this stupid visa to be processed but because I haven’t been working for a year now, I can’t afford to travel. (UGH SAD TRUTH).
So I’ve been back in SG since then, which is probably the longest I’ve been around since forever. It feels weird being around for so long because everyone expects you to have already left and one of the rowers saw me at the rowing centre and exclaimed, “oh, you’re still here.” I’ve been coaching alot, which is nice. Nice side hustle.
So finally, after what seems like forever, I received news from the US Embassy in Singapore about my interview BUT they can’t schedule it yet because I have to complete a document and sign it and submit it to them. So I did it right away, even paid 15 fkg dollars to send is as a registered mail so that they will receive it the next day. Lesson learnt, next time- don’t bother.
This time round, while waiting for the embassy to get back to me on the interview day and time, I have to do several stuff like going for a medical check-up, apply for a police certificate of clearance and fill up more forms and pay more money.
So this is when the real nightmare began, as though the first part of the waiting game isn’t already a nightmare.
Unfortunately, the US Embassy tells you which clinic you have to go to for your medical check-up. I had to schedule an appointment with Fullerton Health but when I arrived, they don’t even give you a priority over walk-in patients so WHY EVEN FKG BOTHER HAVING AN APPOINTMENT SYSTEM. When you enter the clinic, you fill up a form and it is based on that form that they will call your name.
I can understand why medical check-ups can take forever so I was prepared to wait for several hours. Apparently, the usual nurse who administered vaccinations was not well that day so this other nurse took her place. I didn’t think anything of it, really, until she poked a needle into my arm and there was blood all over my arm. Not like a ridiculous amount of blood but a significant amount for a vaccination. I’m not a health professional but I have been through quite a number of vaccinations to know that there was something fishy about the amount of blood that came out from my arm. Again, I didn’t want to think alot of it.
My arm was sore for two fkg weeks.
Upon leaving the clinic, I was told to check my details and they made a mistake on my birthdate. The guy at the counter changed it (PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THIS MOMENT WHEN HE CHANGED MY BIRTHDATE). I checked again, and this time round, it was correct. I paid 580 fkg dollars and left. Also, they require you to submit 4x passport photos which cost me $10. Just saying.
I went for the medical check-up on 10 June and was told that they would sent to the embassy within 10-14 days. (PLEASE ALSO TAKE NOTE THAT THEY SAID 10-14DAYS).
Back to the other processes that I have to go through while waiting for the interview to be scheduled, one of which was applying for the police certificate of clearance (COC). Basically, to show that I have no criminal records in Singapore (just national records and historical records, probably. Chey, stop it.) That process was easy peasy. In fact, I went to get my COC outside of the collection hours and they still made do for me. So nice. So grateful for such amazing and efficient service.
My interview was scheduled on 2 July and there were ALOT of documents I had to prepare for it. The thing is, anything within my control is fine but when it comes to things out of my control, it just pisses me off when people don’t take their job seriously and that affects the lives of others ever so greatly.
In case you’re wondering what kind of questions they asked me:
-What does your fiancé do?
-Where does he live?
-How did you two meet?
-How do you keep in touch with him after you left the US?
Easy questions, you know.
After all the questions, the guy who interviewed me asked if I needed my passport in the next few days to which I said no and he told me that everything is good except that they have not received the medical reports yet. OMFG. Because of that, there will be a delay in the visa processing. Okay, I tried to chill as much as I can. The moment I left the embassy, I took out my phone and called the clinic.
The process in Singapore works in a way that the medical reports are sent right to the embassy. And when I called the clinic, they told me that it was 10-14 BUSINESS days. So I counted. 14 BUSINESS days after 10 June is 28 June 2019. The lady at the other end of the line still had the audacity to tell me that they only start counting the day after the medical check up, on 11 June, to which I told her that it makes 2 July 15 BUSINESS DAYS BODOH. Wah I was damn pissed. And wait, not yet finish. To which she said, oh, on the 14th business day, the doctor wasn’t there to sign your report.
Can you imagine how pissed I was?
Actually hard to imagine nah, cuz I don’t usually go crazy when I’m angry because I realise that I CANNOT DO SHIT ABOUT IT. I mean, the least she could do was to apologise for the delay but NO, she came up with all these excuses. OMFG. Seriously. But wait, NOT YET FINISH. In her email, she said “Good day to you 🙂 Thank you for being patient” STILL GOT SMILEY FACE ALL I CANNOT TAKE IT.
So, she said she sent the reports to the embassy. Unfortunately, last week was 4th of July and all that jazz so I assumed it will be processed this week.
Today, a week after the nightmare with Fullerton Health Medical Report Office last week, I emailed the embassy asking them about my visa status. Guess what? They told me they have received the medical reports but there were mistakes so they had to return them.
Fullerton Health sent me an updated version of the report and you know what mistake was there? MY FUCKING BIRTHDATE WHICH I TOLD THE GUY IN THE CLINIC TO CHANGE LAH SIA. Also, they left out my dad’s name.
Okay. So the embassy said they will have to wait for the report and will need at least a week to process the visa.
The same woman from the clinic called me back after I specifically asked for her name when I called the clinic demanding for an answer to this poor quality service. She wasn’t there to pick up my call, but she did call me back. But not even once was there a Sorry but instead gave me one of her excuses and this time round she said the box in the report was too small they missed out an E in my father’s RAFAEE. No kidding, she said that.
I don’t know what else to say, guys. There is really, really nothing else I can do right now but to wait.
I can just do humanity a favour by discouraging people to visit Fullerton Health clinic on the 25th floor of Ngee Ann City.
So now as I wait in peace, I have missed a whole week of orientation last week and I’m going to miss 2 weeks of school and was supposed to be racing with the CRI Women’s team this weekend and theres a race next weekend of which if I miss it, I’m going to be fucking pissed.
But then again, I am trying my very best to not let this anger and frustration affect my life. I just cannot believe how unprofessional, incompetent and how such poor quality of service can exist in Singapore. Upon reading years worth of reviews from other fellow K1 visa applicants, my case is not the only one they screwed up.
I was writing this post with so much anger that my fingers and wrists actually hurt.
Okay, I’m done venting now.
No more surprises, please. Thank you.