After a harrowing one and a half month process of interacting with the Spanish Consulate in New York, I am happy, and mostly thankful, to say that my visa has been approved to be issued and (hopefully) is somewhere on the way to my house. When I started this process, I had read wonderful things about the consulate in NYC and was looking forward to a smooth and easy process of obtaining my visa. Unfortunately, that was not to be.
The first difficulty I encountered when working with the consulate was that they require you to submit all information in person, in NYC, and only from Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Obviously, that’s a difficult task for almost anyone with a regular 9-5 job, but I was aware of it from the start and planned accordingly. The next issue I found was that the availability of information online is rather poor and the instructions for submitting the visa information are incredibly vague. Of course, to make things worse, they don’t accept calls to clarify information, only emails, to which they take ages to reply. So I did my best and submitted what I thought would be everything I needed.
About two weeks after submitting my application, I received an email from the consulate stating that my application did not include adequate health care information, nor the $160 student visa fee. I promptly replied to the email to clarify that I did, in fact, submit the $160 money order, and subsequently ask what exactly I needed to suffice as “adequate proof of health insurance.” My question was answered, but the money order comment was largely ignored.
After I obtained my proof of health insurance from our health insurance company, I emailed the consulate to ask if I could fax the information in, seeing as it was only one sheet of paper, or if it would be necessary for me to commute all the way into the city. Again, I was ignored. I then checked online in the FAQ section for student visas, and found no helpful information. I emailed again. Nothing. Finally, I had enough and called the phone number listed online and was sent to a recording. Immediately, I pressed “0” to speak to an operator. When he answered I began to ask him my question, explaining that I was unable to find help online. Before all the words could come out of my mouth, I realized that he had hung up on me, only to redirect me to yet another recording, again informing me that all the information I needed regarding student visas could be found online. Perfect!
At this point I had had enough and sent them a lovely and very strongly worded email demanding answers to my question. They told me that yes, I could fax in my letter, and I replied saying I would do it right then, which I did. The next morning I received an email saying that they never received anything from me. But, really, what else is to be expected at this point. My response was requesting a number I could call to speak with someone on the phone (without being hung up on) to try and finish solving this disaster.
When I was finally able to speak to someone, I was informed that I could scan the letter and send it via email to put an end to the debacle. Great! Nothing else could go wrong, right? Wrong! The lady on the phone then (finally) addressed the issue of the “missing” $160. I informed her (again) that I had included it in the envelope with all of my application materials, and she said she really couldn’t do anything that day because the big boss was out of the office but that she would call me on Monday after speaking with him.
Here comes the funny part.
I got a call on Monday from the same lady I had spoken to on Friday. What she had to tell me was that nobody could find my $160, but since I said I gave it to them, they trusted me and would approve and ship my visa immediately. I think she could hear me laughing on the other side of the phone. I mean, seriously, what kind of professional company just simply trusts someone that claims to have given them money? But hey, that’s not my problem and now I can relax knowing that my visa is on its way to my house…unless it gets lost in the mail.