307: US Alien in Transit Visa

I am so angry I can hardly see straight. It will be very difficult to type this post without profanity, but rest assured I am thinking all sorts of bad words as I type this G-rated.

My husband and I met a Moroccan lady whom we adopted into our family. She is a delight, and I love her dearly. I accepted a new job in Panama, and we asked her to come and live with us. This means we apply for a Panama visa for her, and as a temporary Panama resident, she does not work while she is there – I support her, and her needs (living expenses, school if she wants, and healthcare insurance). I submitted documents to this effect for her visa.

We discovered in the process that we needed to get another visa from the US, in order to change planes in the US on our flight from Casablanca, Morocco to Panama City, Panama. It is called an “alien in transit” visa, and means you have permission to change planes in the US. It costs 160 American dollars to apply for this visa.  It took me hours to fill out the online application, because the form on the Embassy Web site kept kicking me out, no matter how many times I hit “save.” Once I finally completed the form, we got to sign up for an interview appointment time – but all the slots were filled. We called (only from 2-4 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays (WTF??)) and e-mailed (returned as undeliverable) for over a week, getting no helpful responses from anybody. It was not until I sent several nasty e-mails that appointments suddenly opened up on the site – and they sent me a nasty e-mail letter themselves, telling me I was unprofessional – who started it, I’ll ask you???

So, we scheduled an appointment (finally) and took two days to drive to Casablanca (five hours one way) paid a hundred dirham in road tolls each way, 400 dirham in gas, 300 dirham in the cheapest hotel I could find, over 200 dirham in taxi fares, and four meals for three people, plus the 1, 437 dirham in visa fees. This fee had to be paid at any branch of a certain bank in Casablanca, which closes at 2 pm every day, meaning we had to go a day early and spend the night to be sure we had the visa fee receipt paid for and ready to submit by her 9:30 appointment for her interview.

Three hours later, she returns with a rejection letter saying that all non-immigrant visa applicants are evaluated as if they had applied to be immigrants.

Excuse me.

If you have only ONE KIND of visa, why did you not SAY SO???? A non-immigrant visa would APPEAR to IMPLY that the applicant did NOT want to become an US immigrant, would you not think? And these bozos want to call ME unprofessional?? I would not have bothered to apply if this little fact had been disclosed on the site – IT WASN’T. They cost us money and time we did not have to waste.

My government kisses the butt of every illegal alien who sneaks in and votes Democrat. But they discriminate against legitimate travelers who only want to pass through. This is FAIR?? I guess Barack needed the money to help pay the benefits of all the illegal aliens he’s already kissing up to. It’s a great scam – dozens of Moroccans were applying at our one appointment time. There is no telling how much money they clear a day, telling people no that they already knew were not going to qualify, and did not tell the truth to in the first place.

Michelle Obama has nothing on  me – I am thoroughly ashamed of my country. Hopefully it won’t take me long to formally repudiate it.


297: Getting Visas – Human and Animal

If I had known how much trouble it is to move country, I probably would have opted to stay several more years at my present school. A friend told me, but hearing about it and experiencing it all first-hand yourself is quite another matter. It is a sheer wonder there is a single hair left on my head, I have been pulling on it in frustration so often lately.

I THINK I have the cats booked. Had I known how much trouble and expense there would be associated with taking my beloved fur children with me…….I would probably have done it anyway. I love their furry faces. I tried Delta, Delta’s Pet first, Lufthansa, Ryan Air, Jet Blue, American Airlines AND their Cargo Department, Air France, Iberia and three international pet shipping companies before I figured out that I did NOT have enough money to hire someone professional to get my three cats from here to there. Bless Royal Air Maroc. They accepted the cats. Now, I just have to complete the paperwork necessary for them to clear customs, which is pretty much about as much paperwork as is required for a human – and about as expensive. They have to see the vet here in Morocco for a rabies booster shot 30 days or more before their flight, but their vet health certificate and certificate of origin (born in Morocco???) have to be issued not more than 10 days before their flight. Those papers have to be copied and certified. Their kennels (travel crates) have to have LIVE ANIMAL on two sides, and be large enough for them to stand up and turn around. I have to include food for them, and bowls for food and water that can be serviced from outside the crate without opening the crate door. There must be bedding to absorb the inevitable accidents that will occur on a long flight. I have booked an extra-long layover in NYC to be sure we have enough time to clear customs and change planes for the last leg of the flight, to Orlando.

Once in Orlando, I clear customs again, and pick up my rental car. Once in the US, I have to see another vet and re-do the health certificates, copies and certified by the USDA or the US or Panama Embassy, to be able to fly them to Panama City, Panama. I have 12 days to do this. Bonne chance to me. PLUS, for the last months, I have been practicing with the cats in the crates. The boys still fuss, but Fez, the elegant lady, just settles down and waits patiently……..

For the human, we have applied weeks and weeks ago to the nearest Panamanian Embassy, in Madrid, Spain for a tourist/temporary resident visa that they tell us by telephone there should be no problems with getting. But, the man helping us mentioned that we needed a C-class visa in order for our friend to travel THROUGH the US on the way to Panama – just to be in the airport in the US and change planes. I kid you not. Being US citizens ourselves, and not knowing any better, it did not OCCUR to us that our friend would need an “alien in transit” visa. There pretty much IS no other way to get to Central America from Casablanca, Morocco except to fly through the US. We did not think anything strange about this, or that any additional paperwork would be required. WRONG. Sheesh.

SO, I logged on to the Embassy Web site and filled out an online application, which conveniently dumped me out of the application over a dozen times before I could finish it, regardless of the number of times I pressed SAVE, and asked questions no person in their right mind would ever answer yes to: Have you participated in genocide, forcible sterilization or abortion against someone’s free will, drug trafficking, terrorism, etc. Do you know anyone who would answer yes, even if they HAD?? Me, neither. Problem is, once all these questions are answered, you must register for an appointment time online to come in for a personal, face-to-face interview, where apparently they ask you the same questions you already said “no” to, while they are looking at you, so they can “tell” whether or not you were lying. Yeah, right. Anyhoo – the appointment calendar with available days for appointments went through the first week in August only – and every single available day was filled. OMG. What now?

We called, and explained our ignorance/stupidity. They have graciously agreed to squeeze her in, and see if they can help us. Now, THAT’S America, and reflects everything I love about my country being willing to give people second chances. They could have said: tough titty.

SOOOOOOO – we are waiting again to see if all the pieces are going to fall into place, or if the chips are gonna fall where they may. AND I need to re-pack my suitcase – I am 10 pounds overweight, darn it. The suitcase AND me.