Thursday, February 16, 2006

Oh my! Efficiency and compassion!

From the Italians. So, it turns out, I don't have to go to Miami in person to get a Schengen tourist visa. There's an honorary consul in Charleston. I'm meeting him bright and early Monday. He looks over my papers, verifies my ID, and then I can overnight the package down to Miami. And this isn't new. Apparently, they've had this for the past six years. So why the heck didn't anyone tell this to me yet?

[I'm attributing this efficiency and compassion to the fact that the Italian prime minister is the Jesus Christ of politics. It's just as well that he gave up sex till after the April elections too!]

Anway, it would be too efficient, of course for things to be completely straightforward. The copy of Paolo's Italian residence permit (he's my official host) has to be mailed. It cannot be faxed. So that means €€ to DHL it over the pond ... Still, going to Charleston for a morning is a lot better than finding a flight, getting a hotel and renting car to get to the consulate in Miami.

Now, the larger question is, why on earth do they need an honorary consul to verify my ID just so that I can send my papers down to Miami anyway? The Dutch and the Germans take applications by mail in Atlanta. I tell you --- questi Italiani sono pazzi. I think they take tips from the Indian babus.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gashwin,

What! No road trip to Miami? Sorry to hear that (but not sorry to hear that you are saving $$$ on not going).

Guess with all the money you are saving you can upgrade your Roman holiday plans.

Sincerely,

Dogwood

Heather said...

I should tell you that the French consulates are freaking tricky too. They require you to be there to fill out the paperwork at the office for your state, regardless of the fact that you live closer to another consular office in the state next door. Then, they mail all the paperwork to the embassy in DC anyway (where it would have been closer and required like 2 hours less driving time and let me stop to see friends and the Smithsonian).

So, kudos to you for finding a way not to go to Miami. We are going to have to teach these European countries that the US is a little too large to have so many location based restrictions!

Gashwin said...

Oh, I can imagine, heather. I have a good friend who's Polish, and married a Frenchman. The red tape she had to go through to get a French passport (this was before Poland was in the EU, obviously) was horrendous, and makes my experience with US Immigration seem like a walk in the park! And that's saying a lot!

[I replied to your query about the Angelus in the comments below. And also invited you to join us in Rome if you can .... can you? Email me ... :)]

Dogwood, with all the money I'm saving, I won't be going into the hole on this trip ... ha ha. Nah, it's not that bad at all :-)