J-1 Visa

I remember the visa process being a bit difficult last year, but this time it is even worse! Last year I could pay the visa fee to the American Embassy in Stockholm easily through my internet bank. But this year I had to get a login to ustraveldocs.com where I had to answer some questions and then pay the fee, get a reciept number which was extremely important not to lose. I was able to pay with my card online though instead of going to the bank like my fellow travelers.

All this was possible after 30 minuts of trying to call the Embassy.  I went through ten minutes of automatic answers on the phone and then I could talk to a person, but they hung up, three times! Then I finally got through and got all my questions answered. It turns out that I need to go to the American Embassy in Stockholm for an interview. If I would have had the same program, then I wouldn’t have needed it, but it is different. They guy also told me I might not have to pay the SEVIS fee (which I think was automatically paid last year through Cultural Care, beacuse I don’t remember paying that myself, it was $35). But when I read my old SEVIS reciept it says it is only valid for that program. So that means I have to pay that anyway, and this year it is not the puny $35, but $200!! What?? I already paid $160 for the visa…. The money is dissappearing very quickly now… It’s good that I start working next week and will get my first (small, but still) paycheck in a month. This month I will get my housing grant and like half of my study grant. I think I will survive.

Last night I stayed up until 2am applying for the visa. The first step is to fill out an online form called DS-160. It went pretty fast, since I knew what to answer on most of the questions. But I had to answer a lot more because of my stay there last year. I had to give them my California driver license number and that gave me an idea. What if I can bring my old license and just get it renewed in September? I hope I can. And I hope it doesn’t complicate things just because I never got the real card. I have the number and that should be enough or them to see that I passed everthing. I will cross my fingers!

I think I have everything regarding the visa under control. I am still waiting for an email with the deicision if I have to pay the SEVIS fee or not. If I misread the last reciept I got, I don’t want to pay $200 in vain.

And going to Stockholm for a couple of days could be nice. That gives me a reason to visit my cousins up there again. Unfortunately it has to be on weekdays because of my working schedule. I have one weekend with Monday and Tuesday off too in July. That could work. We’ll see.

The next step when all this is done is to buy a one-way flight ticket to California. It’s only a little more than three months away. Where does the time go??

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