Long story of My Visa
When you already have two reject stamps on your visa...
For the second time I got this as response. Your visa has been rejected. When a simple Schengen visa gets rejected for the second time, you lose all your hopes of ever traveling to the Schengen region.
At first time, I was very confident, after a bunch of stories and with all the set of documents required submitted, I sent out a message to everyone "German visa done :D". But when I went back there to collect my passport along with my best friend, so we could celebrate it together, I got it along with an A4 size sheet. It was the rejection letter, stating the obvious- my reasons are unreliable; I was definitely not going to "Meet my German family friend" when she is the director of the company you work at and of course it's stupid when show with an almost zero bank balance that you completely rely on this family friend to sponsor trip.
Second time too I got the A4 size sheet along with my passport, again my reasons were unreliable. This time I was definitely going on a business trip and also had enough bank balance to finance my trip. But then with a rejection stamp already on my passport influencing majority of the interview, a covering letter from your company which was a copy of the original and a bunch of story to cover these up. It had to be a Rejection. You cannot tell them the director of your company is travelling and that's the reason for a photocopy of Company covering letter but when they call up the director he mentions the originals can be arranged the very next day. Now, they were two directors who could sign. Yes, I could have done the same, told them that I can get it signed by the other director but how do I tell people around me that, at that moment of my interview travelling was the story that struck me.
I cried and shouted and flew away to Delhi, which was my first flight, so two reasons to remember this forever. And that’s the reason for the next two places I visited, Dubai and Singapore, there was no visa interview. I made up my mind never to attend a visa interview again.
After more than a year, when the head of my company came to Bangalore, he offered me a contract to work at the Germany office. After two previous attempts for the visa this time it was for a Long term employment. I was happy to hear that but my inner voice told me 'Seriously, are you kidding me '. He tried convincing me by telling he spoke to couple of his colleagues and the process was a breeze. But I was least positive about it and told "ok". They went ahead and applied for the visa for couple of people before they could even think about taking the risk again with me. They got the visa and moved to Germany whereas I filled all the documents and was waiting for them to come back. A year passed and no word from them. Many thoughts were popping in my head, but for most of the time I was blank. Also, a part of me was content about not applying. But, I had to ask them about it and the answers were something like 'when we get some project...’
After few days, our company registered for an event in Germany at the very last moment and they wanted me to travel for that. A week before the event I get an invite letter from the event management and was told to book an appointment at the consulate. Luckily (Yes) there were no appointments available. We considered going to another city and apply for it but the best decision was to drop the plan.
To avoid this in future, now we had to keep a visa ready. So the management decided to start the Long term visa process, finally! Again, I was happy about applying for an employment visa but had few questions worried me a lot. Mainly, how does it make sense that the director who has signed my contract is the family friend I mentioned before. After two rejects, this was a huge risk to be taken. We booked an appointment for the third time with the consulate and started arranging for the documents. Just three days before the appointment, I cross checked the required documents list and there was a note 'Employment Contract in original'. Discussion with the management was for previous colleagues an original set was not required but I did not want any chances and urged her to send me the originals by mail. Two hours before the FedEx leaves Frankfurt airport. She took a print out of the contract, signed, scanned and drove from Heidelberg to Frankfurt, around 80km, at speed of 200kmh (Not unbelievable, it's Germany) and submitted the documents for FedEx. FedEx assured that it will reach me within 48Hrs that's 8PM a day before my interview. I was very happy for the effort she had put. A day before the interview, I cross checked all the documents and kept everything ready except the Contract. At my work I was tracking the package every 15mins throughout it journey, from Frankfurt to Paris, Paris to Dubai and it had reached Bangalore Airport hub within a day. Eagerly waiting the whole day for them to move it a nearby hub and then deliver it at home, 3Pm and it still showed no sign of movement. We contacted FedEx around 5PM; they checked their records and informed us, it cannot be delivered today. I told them “that’s stupid if it can reach from Germany to India in a day then you can definitely have move it from the Airport Hub to me in 12Hrs”. She told there is nothing that can be done. We contacted the Global office, Germany office and the local delivery centers for next two hours to check if it can be delivered. With no luck, I asked them if I can pick it up myself. They told yes, I can but they don't know if it's still at the Airport hub or left to a nearby hub. I anyway accepted to self-pick it up. Airport hub was 30 km away (2hrs in Bangalore) and nearest hub was 15km away. I decided to leave my office and go to the nearest hub first. Left at 7.30PM and reached the FedEx office at 8.30PM. The FedEx representative told me that delivery is closed, after argument about it he agreed to check for the package. He informed me it's not here, it could be at Airport hub but it would be closed by now. So I decided not to go there and I did not want to risk going to an interview again without an original. Therefore we decided to cancel the interview; the network was poor so I thought of going home and cancelling the appointment. I reached home and the first thing I see is a package from FedEx. We were like "Oh dear lord, this is some crazy thing". Lesson learnt, don't completely rely on the tracking technology, I should have just called home and asked my Mom for to inform me if it's delivered. I took print outs, copies of everything else required, kept it neatly in a folder and slept.
Woke up early, did some mock runs of the interview myself, got ready and left for the consulate. On my way, I played some nice Bollywood music to keep myself focused, calm and positive. I reached 15mins before my appointment, the security asked me for the appointment time, I told him it's at 10 40, he asked me to take a seat and wait. I sat there for a minute and then realized I told him 10 40 instead of 9 40. Got up and told him about it. He let me in and asked me to take seat inside and they will call me up. I waited for couple of minutes and my interviewer called me up. I went to the counter, trying to look confident and calm but I wasn't.
Me: Good Morning.
Interviewer: Give me your documents.
I took a set of documents and gave it to her.
Interviewer: I cannot hear you; pick up the phone and talk.
The stupid Photographs got stuck in the folder and with phone on my one hand I struggled to remove them.
She took all my documents and photos and about to pin them together.
Interviewer: Your application is incomplete.
Interviewer: Third page of your application is missing.
Me: (What the hell!!) It should be in my folder, give me a second.
Interviewer: Why have not signed your covering letter!
Me: I will sign it now.
I was trying to sign, after every letter she had asked me for something.
Interviewer: Give your second set of documents.
Interviewer: Where is the third sheet?
Me: I am not finding it. I will go and get print it now.
Interviewer: When do you want to travel to Germany?
Me: Around last week of May.
Interviewer: I need an absolute date.
Me: 25th May.
Thought a week before my Job start date so to get myself settled. I had completely forgotten that the date mentioned in my application is travel date and not Job start date.
After she cross checked the form
Interviewer: It’s mentioned here 1st of June.
Me: Yes, that's when my job starts.
Interviewer: I don't care when your job starts. You cannot fly before 1st June.
Me: Yes, that's okay.
("This is screwed")
Finally done, signing my covering letter. I gave it to her.
(Told myself "Look towards her, give eye contact, smile and stay positive)
Interviewer: Where are you going to Stay?
Interviewer: Where is your work place?
Me: Waldof....Waldofstr. Str.
Interviewer: Here, it is written Heidelberg.
Me: (trying to clarify) I will stay at Waldorf and work at waldofstr.... (Before I complete my sentence).
Interviewer: I don't want to know which street you will work.
(Obviously, I won't tell someone in USA, I work in Dr Rajkumar Road)
Me: Yes, Heidelberg.
Interviewer: How far it is from your stay?
Finally a confident answer.
Interviewer: I need a copy of DD too.
Me: I will get it.
Interviewer: I will take your finger prints now then you take these third and fourth sheet, Xerox it and sign again on fourth sheet. Okay?
Me: Yes. Okay
Interviewer: Keep the phone, receiver and place your fingers on the reader.
I went to keep the receiver. She asked for something, I did not hear. So I took back receiver, trying to hear.
Me: Sorry. I dint get that.
Interviewer: (Something I forgot)
Interviewer: place your left hand on the reader.
With phone on my right ear, standing awkwardly, I placed my left hand.
She looked at me.
Interviewer very rudely: How will you give fingerprint if you are holding the phone?
How am I supposed to hear you and I have two hands. Anyway I kept the phone.
Interviewer: Keep your fingers together.
Very stern voice.
Beep beep beep…
Interviewer: right hand. Thumbs together.
Interviewer: take these and Get me the copy and sign on the fourth sheet.
Me: okay. I will get it.
Took my doc's and ran away from there. Got the documents photocopied and came back after trying to calm down.
Someone else was at the counter. I was waiting behind her.
She asked the interviewer, for her original certificate at the end. I thought that's a good question. Even I should ask for it.
Me: I got them Xeroxed.
She checked and gave a nod.
She gave me my Receipt.
Interviewer: You will get a mail once we have decided.
She gave a look that you can go.
Me: what about the original degree certificate.
Interviewer: we will keep it and return along with passport.
Me: okay. Thank you so much.
That was a disaster. She was rude and I fell for that. First thought was I should go and withdraw my application. With so many mistakes and unclear answer there was no way it would be forward for further processing. I can reapply and give a better interview.
I told "they just collected documents and very few basic questions" to everyone who asked about my interview. Tried telling my friend the truth but she immediately started screwing me about it. I was not prepared for it, so told her I was bluffing.
Next few days I was preparing myself to get rejection news and how my life would go from there. Should I apply for another interview without informing anybody? What excuse should I give and how do I face anybody?
Few days later I got my salary hike and was told once you will get a work permit and your payroll will be completely different. I told myself, “Yea right”.
I kept telling myself of course it’s a reject don’t even think about an acceptance.
Usually takes 10 days to process it, but 15 days and no response. We thought four holidays might be the reason. Then a picture on consulate website said that its peak season and they are busy. So I had to just wait, I was 0.1% positive now, I expected them not to process it and reject it very next day. Around 4 weeks after the interview, I asked my manager if I should write a mail for status. She told "No, No". She had been to the federal employment agency at Germany and she saw my application there. They need some additional information which she will send it. I was relieved a bit. After couple of days she called and told me the good news that the Federal agency had approved it. I was very happy, but I still knew that all the mistakes were done by me here at the consulate. I was now 10% positive about it.
The very next day I got a mail from consulate that- my Visa has been decided upon. I quietly went to collect my passport without informing anybody about the mail. My turn came to collect the passport; she asked have you submitted any original documents. I told "Yes, my degree certificate". She told me then you have to wait. After 20 mins she gathered all the original certificates and finally she came back. She called everyone's name one after the other, I was wondering for about 5 minutes at the hall, then she was screwing up some travel agency for not showing up, then a quarrel with a student whose Visa was rejected. Finally called my name and handed over my passport, degree certificate and with an A4 SIZE SHEET.
I flipped through my passport and couldn't find anything. I flipped again and there it was. My German National Visa.
The A4 sheet was just an invoice receipt this time.