Amsterdam Travel Blog› entry 833 of 1090 › view all entries
YES it is that time again! My visa is about to expire. With still more than a year to go as an expat it is necessary to get it extended. Since the country that can build space shuttles, and is leading in many high tech projects, is not able to put a simple stamp in someone’s passport within its borders it is requiring the visa holders to go abroad to get his/her visa extended. The previous time I visited Ottawa (see here), which is close to New York, but does not give much means to spend the time useful. That is why, it was decided that I would go back to the Netherlands so I could continue to work from the Amsterdam office during the visa processing steps.
After having arrived in Amsterdam yesterday afternoon I made may way to the Museumplein (museum Square) to the US Consulate. I came prepared with about 2 kilos of evidence papers, my working permit, my passport, my old visa, a lot of money to pay the visa fees, passport photos, an evelope with sufficient post stamps and NO telephone, NO blackberry, NO camera.
I arrived about 45 minutes early and was shocked to see a huge line of people waiting, outside on the pavement. A security agent ordered people to form a line while he was busy asking fellow visitors to hand over their phones (and first remove the battery). At some point we were given free fitness when he ordered all of us to step back four meters.
After waiting about 45 minutes it was my turn to enter the building. The guy in front of me was almost arrested when he said he was carrying “three cans of coke”.
Another 30 minutes of waiting in the waiting room, alternating looking at the TV, the beautiful old Dutch Delft Blue tiled fireplace, and the newly installed bullet proof door that was so heavy that even the strong security guards could hardly move it. Then I was called to the next window for my interview. One of the questions was to state my Job Title “Change Expert/Manager”, which was understood by the interviewing lady as “Chinese Expert”. After correcting this I was told that the visa had been approved. Unlike in the US Embassy in Ottawa I could not come back to collect it, it would be sent by registered mail. Very client friendly!
At about noon I was back on the Amsterdam streets. Trying hard to forget the unpleasant experience. A bag of nice Dutch fries helped a lot…