How Much Longer?

Have you ever had one of those dreams where something so simple is extremely difficult or impossible to do? I feel as though I’m stuck in the middle of one of those dreams.

For the past 10 months Rotchana and I have been filling out forms, answering questionnaires, supplying documents and transcripts supporting our relationship, and waiting extremely long periods of time for everything to be processed so she can get her interview for a visa to come to the US.

We finally received the news we’d been waiting for a few weeks ago letting us know that her interview with the embassy in Bangkok had been scheduled. This was the last and final step in the process, and assuming we had done everything properly that was asked of us, a mere formality before having her visa granted.

Once we had a date for her interview I made arrangements to join her in Bangkok so that we may fly home together on the 20th and enjoy Thanksgiving with friends. It all seemed to be falling into place.

On the morning of her interview we arrived at the embassy around 5:15am for her 7:00am appointment. We learned from last year that the line to enter the embassy would be long. Even though she had an appointment it was a group appointment so being back in the line just meant having to wait that much longer. She ended up being second in line.

Once the embassy opened up she went in quickly and began the process of preparing for the interview. She went to one window where she had to pay 350 baht for postage to have her passport mailed back to her once the embassy finished processing the visa. After that, she sat for about an hour waiting for her interview.

When she was called up for her interview the man who was to interview her sifted through the 2 inch thick package that we had put together over the last 10 months. He didn’t speak to her for a few minutes until finally asking her to explain to him how we met. She told him of the circumstances and he then started to go through the package again. After a minute or two he told her he was not issuing her a visa because the original marriage certificate he needed was not in his package. Rotchana told him that one had been submitted, but he said he didn’t have it and wouldn’t approve the visa without it. Dumbfounded, Rotchana was handed a letter explaining why the visa had not been issued and was told she could leave.

When she came out of the embassy she shook her head letting me know that she didn’t get the visa. My heart sunk. I asked her why and she handed me the paper she was given. I couldn’t believe it. I sifted through the large copy package I had and there was a copy of the original certificate. On top of that, the National Visa Center had sent her a letter stating that the original marriage certificate had been received and approved. I tried to go up to the window to ask someone what the deal was. They wouldn’t let me in and told me that we needed to provide the original certificate. Somehow either NVC either lost the certificate, failed to send it to the embassy along with our other documents, or the embassy misplaced it. Either way, the burden was left on us to provide another one.

The local office in Bangkok where we registered our marriage seemed like the logical place to start, but they told us that they only provide copies if requested. The embassy was emphatic that they wanted an original document.

Our only hope was to jump on a bus back to Rotchana’s family’s village and get the last one we had. It was an 8 hour ride and we arrived just before 4:30am. We slept for about an hour before heading back to the bus station to make it back to Bangkok before the embassy closed. As it turned out, Friday traffic delayed us to the point that we arrived 5 minutes after the embassy closed for the long holiday weekend (Monday is Veteran’s Day).

So, here we are waiting to go back to the embassy at 7:00am Tuesday morning hoping for a better result. The instructions were to mail in the document along with her passport, but we’re hoping that by hand delivering the documents we’ll not only get the process moving again, but won’t risk having anything lost again.

We don’t know how long it will take to get her visa, if at all. Hopefully it will be done within a few days so that we can still fly home on the 20th. If it takes longer than that I’m not sure what our next step will be.


  1. Timothy Allen
    Nov 11, 2012

    I absolutely detest the struggle you guys are having to go through. We have completely destroyed the concept of being a melting pot that this country was born from. I wish you luck after the weekend, Mike.

  2. Mike
    Nov 12, 2012

    Monday the embassy was closed for Veteran’s Day, and today they won’t let us hand deliver the certificate they wanted. So now we’re sitting at the post office waiting for it to open. The post office, by the way, is right across the street from the embassy. Ridiculous!

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