So the student visa process means running around like a nut getting your life in order and documented on paper, and then rushing to the nearest Spanish Consulate .. and then waiting. As a Pennsylvania resident, I am required to use the Consulado de España en Nueva York. Thankfully, they have an online appointment system and I was able to get a morning appointment within a few days time. I should note that appointments for tourist visas are booking two months out already .. so don’t wait!
In my experience from several years ago, I vaguely remembered that arriving first thing in the morning was a good idea. This small fact had me awake and on a bus bound for the Big Apple at 5:30 a.m. I arrived in the city to discover I had taken the wrong bus… right city, wrong hood. No, I don’t need to go to Wall Street .. I need to go to Port Authority. “Not on this bus.” Great! $18 cab fare later, I am deposited outside my consulate with 40 minutes to go. Hola, Buenas .. tengo una cita con el Consulado? “Come back at 9 a.m., they open at 9 a.m.” I retreat to the Starbucks directly across 58th Street and wait. Everyone here is speaking Spanish .. and so of course at 8:50 a.m. we all pack up together and cross the street again.
When the elevator spits us out on the 30th floor, we are faced with a growing line of people. Although it is good form to show up early (although the Europeans stereotypically do not) .. you still have to wait in line. Miraculously the doors swing open at 9 a.m. sharp and we funnel in from the warm hallway. Metal detector, xray machine for my bag, discard my barely used water bottle, get my name checked off … and sit.
There are five windows open for business, and names are called over the loudspeaker. Sadly there is no massive Spanish flag or sign declaring ESPANA CAMPEON in this post World Cup atmosphere. It’s Bastille Day, so maybe they are tempering their celebrations.
Eventualmente they call for me to go to Window #1 (more or less on time, amazing). Remembering the advice from the Embassy, I choose to speak Spanish to the extremely cute guy behind the counter. So begins the tremendous unloading of documents: passport, license, two applications with signature & photo, doctor’s letter, police record (with aforementioned apostille), $100 money order, letter from my school in Spain, UPS label for return shipment, rights to first born child. If you have ever doubted the beauty of organization – this is the ideal time to learn.
I say farewell to my passport, and the cute guy speaks too quickly for me to catch on, so I switch English and endure his patient smile “you’ll receive your passport around August 10, maybe sooner, or right on time. You’ll see.”
So after much travel and many documents .. at last I have applied for my visa. And now, we wait.