Monday, July 18, 2011


After nearly a month of waiting, I have finally received one of the most important documents for this trip-- my visa! The process of getting it was not a necessarily enjoyable experience.

                                               A brief overview of what I went through:

The application itself was a bit confusing, so I called the consulate for help. Both times I called, I spoke to the same woman. I asked any questions I had, and she was, in return, quite helpful. There is a website that lists everything that needs to be sent in with the visa application. However, many of those documents don't apply to me, so there was some confusion as to what I was actually supposed to send in. We talked on the phone for a good chunk of time. After everything was sorted out and we were about to end the call, the woman added, "Oh, and you should send in $252. A check will work, but cash is fine too." Perhaps I just completely looked over it, but I did not see any mention of the application fee on the website, so I was slightly surprised by the high price. Albeit, I sent in the money (in the form of a check), along with all of the other documents.

Approximately a week and a half later, I got a call from the Belgian Embassy. I was told that I needed to send a signed and notarized form of parental consent. Along with that, I also needed to send in another $252. It turns out, they don't accept checks. Maybe it's just me, but sending a relatively large amount of cash via snail mail just doesn't seem like the safest way to go. Regardless, I sent more money-- this time in cash.

About a week later, another call was received. The good news: my visa had been approved. The bad news: they wouldn't send it to me until I sent them an $18 stamp. Again, there was no previous mention of this. You'd think the cost of a stamp would be included in the $252, but apparently not. So, I went to the post office and bought the stamp, sent it to the consulate, and went on my merry little way.

Today, the visa arrived. Huzzah! They sent back the check and... the stamp. They didn't use it. Well, that was a waste of money. But alas, my visa is here! I may now legally live in Belgium :]

Of course, I eagerly opened up my passport to see what the actual visa looked like. What's this? I have a mustache? Well, this is new. It seems as though I may now live in Belgium AND I have sprouted a mustache. I would consider this a very productive day.

Attached below is a picture of my visa. Notice the handlebar mustache placed appropriately above my upper lip. Also, I ask that you please excuse my bangs; the camera man made me push them aside so they wouldn't be in my eyes. As for the funky mess of colors on the fifth line and bottom of the document, it's where I blurred out any important (or seemingly important) numbers.