Ross’s visa, the whole story.
Now is the time to finally discuss all that happened with Ross’s Korean visa, with all the frustration, confusion, anger and finally relief.
Let me start by saying we ended up going to the consulate 7 times. A few of those times were unsuccessful because I forgot transcripts twice. That was my fault. I read the wrong page on the Toronto consulate’s website, and did not bring what was needed. Twice. Lesson learned there. The other times were because of the stupidity of the situation and the miscommunication between the consulate and Korean immigration.
After we submitted our visas, we were told it would be 5-10 business days before our visas would be issued. This was the first problem, because we were booked to fly out in 6 business days. We told her our predicament, and she said she would process them as soon as she could. This was nice to know that she was going to work hard on them. 3 business days later, Wednesday, Ross gets a call from the woman, saying that when she went to process his visa, the computer said that he would have to go to his home country of America in order for everything to work.
Now, this I could understand if this was his first visa. When you get your first Korean visa, you are supposed to get it from your home country so you can have an interview. After that, you should be able to get any subsequent visas from any country, as most people who get a second visa don’t end up going home but travel to Japan on a visa run. So this shouldn’t have been a problem.
We asked her what could be done about the situation, she said she didn’t know, but we should get the school to call immigration in Korea and have them change it in their computer system. I emailed our recruiter, Dylan, who by the way was WONDERFUL through all of this, and told him of the problem. He called the school, who called immigration, and we were told that it had all been fixed. The next day we called the consulate, but the result was the same – the computer still said that Ross had to go to America. Once again, an email was sent to Dylan, and the school called immigration, and by Friday we were beyond frustrated. We called the consulate again, and the woman was out of ideas. She said she didn’t know what was wrong, that he should be able to get his visa in Canada, but because of what the computer said she couldn’t process it or else she would lose her job if someone caught her. She said she needed a document from immigration in Korea that said it would be okay. Ross suggested she email immigration. She replied “I guess I could do that”. I mean, come on! She could have done that days ago! We were so angry, we went to the consulate that afternoon to pick up my passport with my newly pressed visa in it, and to question her in person. We were successful in getting my passport back, but unsuccessful in getting a solid answer out of her regarding what she was going to do.
I called Dylan and explained the conversation we had with her. He said he would talk to the school, and see what could be done. The problem was, was that it was already Saturday in Korea, and we were running out of time. On Monday, our director ended up physically going to immigration in Masan and making sure that the consulate and immigration were communicating via email. She was able to obtain a copy of the communication, which Dylan sent to us on Sunday night. (Yes, I know I just went back in time, gotta love the time difference.)
Monday in Toronto the consulate was closed for Family Day, so we were pressed for time because we were supposed to fly out Tuesday night. SO, Tuesday morning we got Robyn, who was our saving grace, to drive us downtown for our 6th trip to the consulate. We brought along a copy of the email Dylan sent us, and she said she would FINALLY be able to process the visa because of that piece of paper. I don’t know why she didn’t have a copy of her own, but oh well. Everything was going to work out. Except that we had to go back down for 4pm. Even though our flight was leaving 5 hours later, and we wanted to spend as much time at home as possible. *sigh* So back down to the consulate we went, getting there at 3:30, and was told to come back AT FOUR. Oops. A quick last visit with Ricky (who just so happens to live right down the street), and at 4:15pm Tuesday night, after almost a week of frustration, Ross had his visa in hand. THANK GOODNESS.
Now here comes the editorial. I am not say that the Toronto consulate was wrong, because the woman who issues the visas was just doing her job. I am also not saying that immigration was wrong, because in their system he was fine to get his visa in Toronto. I AM saying that there needs to be better communication between the two. I don’t understand why she wouldn’t have just emailed them in the first place, and I don’t know why there had to be a glitch in the system. I think that the time difference was working against us, because if we had been in even remotely a closer time difference the two might have been open at the same time and a phone call could have simply been made. On the other hand, the time difference was for us, because if the consulate had not been a day behind immigration, we might not have been able to get the copy of the email in time.
I just hope that the consulate and immigration could learn from this horrible mix-up, and end up communicating better with each other next time.
I would like to thank the following people for their help in the process: Dylan, for all his back and forth between us and the school, and for all the phone calls he had to make to Canada, Robyn for driving us down there on Tuesday morning, Ricky for keeping us company while we were in the city, our director who had to make all those calls and the trip to immigration, and my mom and dad for keeping me level headed while all this was happening. Without them, we would not be in Korea. Thank you.