Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Enter American territories



A pile of prepared documents but none used
For me, has a Thai passport holder, it always been and will be, complicated every time we decide to travel. I can’t just go to buy last minute ticket and walk without luggage, always need advance planning. João and Maria Dee both hold Portuguese passport. They have more opportunities to see the world than me or than some of us who hold Asian passports. For me, going to Europe never been problem with visa because I got married with an European citizen. It’s fast, easy and free or charge! But please don’t just go to get married with an European guy to avoid paying visa fee! It’s free because we are Macau residents and because Macau was under Portuguese administration for many centuries before the Portuguese handover to China, the visa fee is not required.
As soon as I realized that we needed to travel to USA to go on board our sail boat in Dominican Republic, my nerve start working a lot just thinking that I need to take care of the papers to submit for transit visa. I prepared a pile of supporting documents and pray that they will let me pass thru the States and arrive in Dominican Republic peacefully. For someone who mother tongue is not English, it’s confusing to register in the internet. It took me more than 2 hours to finish answering the question like “Are you working for human trafficking?”, “Did you take part in terrorists activities?” or some more non sense questions. The, the easy part is to pay! We can pay the US visa fee thru the convenient store 7-11. After that you need to log-in again and make the appointment to finish the registration process.
Samples of questions
In the Macau Special Administrative Region there is no US Consulate or Embassy. I had to take 1 hour ferry to Hong Kong for the visa interview. As I step into the land of USA, I need to pass many checking points but they are all professional and efficient. My interviewer was an American lady with smiley face. I just hope that all officials in all government offices have a smile on their faces like her. She just made a simple question, “So, what is your plan?”. I’m not a terrorist so I answered with our plan, “Ah! We got a sail boat in Dominican Republic and plan to sail around the world but first we need to go to get our sail boat there”. “Wow, that sounds nice”, she said. Yes it will be nice if I can go thru the States, I thought. “And I have a question, if I need to stop in some islands like US Virgin Islands how can I apply US visa?” She just simply said “Ok, we will give you 10 years visa so you have no problem anymore”. WHAT! The country that I never thought I will have a visa will issue me a 10 years visa? How come? “But I only apply for transit visa”, I frankly said. And she looked at me and asked “Or you don’t want?” I shut my mouth and just say thank you and left. Thanks God, I have one problem less…
Waiting for the queue before 7 am to enter the US Consulate
I feel honored to have a 10 years visa in my Thai passport. It’s not difficult like I imagined. From the package of supporting documents I had prepared, they only needed my Macau ID! My Chinese friend said probably because I have European husband, so that it’s not like a single Asian woman trying to go to US. Whatever, now we are keeping our planned route of our journey Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Marianas, US Minor Outlying Islands and of course Hawaii!
Next, what I need to do is to practice speaking more “English”. With practice hopefully , I will no longer speak “Thinglish” or “Chinglish”.

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