I like travel.  I especially like international travel.  Not because I’m running away from people in the US (what’s not to love here?) or because I’m in search of something better.  I just think it’s nice to get out once and awhile – way out.  Plus, now a good contingent of my friends are living in different countries, so seeing them means international travel.

The most major issue I have with travel (besides layovers and annoying travelers) is the whole visa thing.  Sure, I get customs, and regulation of imports and exports, and trade, and taxes and all.  It makes sense – we’ve got people and goods going back and forth between different governments with different standards and different fees, so there has to be some sort of regulating body between them.  But visas?  What’s the point?  To annoy me with paying fees, getting tangled in red tape, and publishing various personal details (such as my mother’s maiden name and my health conditions)?  Ok, maybe China and India need to employ as many people as possible through bureaucratic nonsense.  Still, they aren’t getting more money constant delays and annoying their potential visitors.  Please, just streamline the process and make us pay more.  I wouldn’t mind.  Really.

As an AA (Admin. Assist.), I have full responsibility to secure visas for a variety of countries for a variety of people.  It’s generally one of the more frustrating portions of my job (other than talking to people on the phone).  Part of this is due to the fact that my employers always apply later than they should.  Another part is that the visa service we’ve been using is somewhat uncommunicative.  If there’s a problem or they need more information, they generally don’t call – they just wait until we are annoyed with the delay in service and let us know about the problem when we call in frustration.  Given that I already don’t like talking to people on the phone, this does not put me in the best frame of mind.   Despite the fact that I’ve gotten into the habit of checking up with them every single day of the application process, I really don’t want to and don’t think I should have to.

Enter the new visa service I have been testing out, CIBT.  First off, most of their visa applications  can be done online, meaning I don’t have to use a typewriter or rely on my own slovenly illegible handwriting for applications.  Second, once they receive the application, I can check on its status online, without talking to a single person.  Third, they are genuinely helpful when you have questions.  This includes actually responding to phone messages or emails you might leave.  All I can say is ‘wow’.

1 Comment

  1. moss said,

    March 7, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Interesting. I agree with you that visa applications is just another bureaucracy. Yesterday I made a presentation at an acedemic forum, suggesting to do away with visa requirement.

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