When you visit the consulate, you’ll hand in your passport, photos, all the paperwork, and a processing fee in cash. I’ve only done this once, so I have no other point of reference to show you how this works except my own personal experience. Other expats have told me that a visit to the consulate is no big deal, just drop off the passport and pick it up a few days later.
When I visited back in mid-June, the nice lady who took my paperwork asked lots of questions about what I’m doing in the country I’m going to, why I wanted to go there, what my work was, where I’m staying, and for how long. She was very organized and thorough. It felt like a job interview.
Honestly, I did not expect to get grilled for a full 15 minutes, but I answered her questions politely and truthfully. The part where I felt a bit nervous was when she was confused about my “proof of employment” letter. I had to explain a few times that I owned my own business. Glad I went in prepared!
Before I left, I paid the visa processing fee. $80 for a single entry visa and $200 for a multiple entry visa. I opted for the multiple entry.
Getting The Visa
In the end, my visa was ready two days later.
I went back to the consulate to pick up my passport containing the new visa. However, my initial excitement was slightly deflated when I saw the expiration date on the visa.
The expiration date was set 6 months after the issue date, not my departure date.
That’s almost one wasted month. Looking back, I should have waited another two or three weeks to obtain this visa. No big deal because I can always get another single entry after my visa expires, but still.
Oh well, live and learn. Next time, I won’t get my visa too early, but not at the absolute last minute either.