This blog is for anyone who is currently going through the visa process. If I can recall the visa process was a complete nightmare. Tensions were high and deadlines were coming close by...Getting accepted into CIEE’s program was the “easy” part. Shortly after I was accepted I prolonged booking a visa appointment for myself. Here is a word of advice as soon as you get accepted, book an appointment immediately (for those of you lucky one’s who don’t need one, start on your visa application right away.) This will help relieve some of your stress and anxiety. But for those of you who are like me & tend to procrastinate don’t lose hope. I am thankful for the CIEE team who answered all of my frantic e-mails that were subtitled “HELP, I STILL CAN’T GET A VISA APPOINTMENT.” Just trust them when they say you will get one as long as you stay on top of it.
1.Start your visa application ASAP
Do yourself a favor and print the main visa application form. That way you can get a head start. I also highly recommend printing the “checklist of everything to do before you depart” form provided by CIEE. This form will help you to stay organized & motivate you to stay on track.
2. Save Your Funds
This is important to set aside some money for the visa application process. Some private agencies charge $80 for your F.B.I background check form (but if you get a head start you could avoid this extra fee.) This is an important form you want to get ASAP, that way you can get your “Apostille of the Hague” soon after. I promise you once you get these two important documents out of the way, the rest of the process seems like a breeze.
3. Take a deep breath
It’s ironic to reflect back on my personal visa experience. Had I taken CIEE’s advice and started on my visa application sooner rather then later, I’m sure I would have saved myself a lot of stress. Now as I sit here in Madrid, I am able to reflect that it was all entirely worth it. Just take a deep breath and envision yourself in your new home (whichever country you chose) congratulations you made it this far! Keep going, because holding your passport with your visa in hand will be proof of all the hard work you’ve accomplished.
This is just the beginning of a new chapter in life, don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and enjoy every second of it!