I went to American Consulate for Visa interview and (I hate it) leave my fingerprint there. I waited four hours to get my visa, among which, one hour was spent outside the building, in the cold winter wind. I arrived at the gate of the Westgate Building, 1038 Nanjing West Road at around 1:00 PM, waited there in a long line (about 100 people) for one hour. The afternoon session mainly opens to American Chamber of Commerce Corporate Member employees. The morning session is opened for general public. I guess their situation should be much worse. Behind me are employees from Dell, Coca-cola, IBM and Intel…..
The security check for entering the visa section was strict. Mobile phones, electronic devices, bags are all not allowed. I don’t think anybody in the line came without a mobile. I paid 10 RMB to have mine deposited. It seems the American Consulate is an aircraft, floating on the 8th floor of the building.
The visa applicants scheduled for the morning have not been interviewed yet so it is crowded inside the room. I read through all the magazines in the room and learnt some new ideas – it is said pets can help to improve people’s family relationship, health…. After I read everything, I heard my named called in the speaker. It was already 4:30 PM – 3 hours and a half after I got there. Within the three and a half hours, the sentence I heard most frequently was “I am sorry, but according to American laws, I cannot grant you a visa…..” followed by the angry argument and, sometimes, the sound of falling curtain before the applicants.
The lives for employees of AmChamber are much easier. I heard that after 911, visa rejection rate is too high and broke the business of American companies. The American Chamber of Commerce complained seriously so the American Chamber of Commerce Cooperate Business Visa Program emerged. By this program, it is quicker to get visa.
This service, designed in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy, allows qualified member companies of AmCham-China to quickly and conveniently apply for U.S. visas for their Chinese staff and business associates.
I handed in my application on Nov 10 and got the appointment today (one week). For others, it may take up to 2 months for the appointment.
In contrast with the interview process for other applicants, the questions and answers for my interview were concise and quick:
“Mr. Wang, is this your passport?”
“Would you please put your left index finger on the sensor flat?”
“Very well! For the right finger, do the same”.
“Good. So you work for Microsoft?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Did they give you stock?”
“Please take your receipt and go to window No. 11 for your visa. Have a good trip!”