Friday, September 29, 2006

Fear of Embassies

Embassies make me queasy. It’s like going to the dentist. One expects something bad.
I’ve traveled. Not as much as I wanted to, but quite above average for a Serb my age. The pages of my passports (current and expired) are graced with holographic stickers of European stars and numerous stamps of cars, trains, airplanes from various border crossings.
Still every time I head for a consular office of a foreign country, the inherent Serbian fear of embassies kicks in and I become nervous and insecure. But can we really be blamed? It is a fear of humiliation and inferiority, it is an aversion to bullying guards and grumpy clerks, it is an intolerance of bureaucracy. The bottom line is – it is a fear of captivity.
I’ve never been denied a visa. I always have good reasons to travel and all the paperwork. But that is one of the things that bug me. Do you really need a GOOD reason? Isn’t wanting to go somewhere reason enough?
Well I can’t change the system, but I can overcome my fear. It’s a slow step by step process. Another visa, another stamp and a step closer to peace of mind.


John1975 said...

Is the reason of wanting to visit a good friend enough?

If not, any advice around the "system" would be greatly appreciated...not for me of course...but for a friend who lives in Serbia.


Marko said...

Hi John, thanks for all your comments.
A visit among friends can be reason enough, as long as the American friend sends a guarantee letter and the Serbian friend provides evidence of being employed, able to finance the trip and willing to return to Serbia.
If you have any more questions, I’m glad to help.
All the best!

John1975 said...

What if this friend really doesn't have a job? I'd be paying for everything. And he would be going back to Serbia.

This letter, would I send it to my friend himself? Is it hard to get a passport issued as a Serb?

I appreciate your willingness to answer these questions!


Marko said...

Getting a passport is not an issue. Anyone can have one.
You can send the letter to your friend. It can even be by fax or e-mail. You just need to provide data on yourself including income. You can guarantee that you will finance his trip and stay, but as far as I know, it’s better not to make unrealistic claims like “I’m inviting my friend to stay for as long as he likes and I will pay for everything”. It’s better to specify how long he is going to stay, what you will pay for, etc.
Being unemployed could be a problem. However what the embassy actually requires is proof that one has reasons to return to Serbia. So if the friend provides documents proving he is a student on vacation/ married/ owns property… it could be ok.
You should both check the website of the US Embassy in Belgrade. You can see what is needed and the procedure for applying.
Hope this was helpful.

John1975 said...

Yea, it was very helpful!

Thanks a bunch!


La Lara said...

Similar visa past as yours. Just in the process with the German embassy. This makes me so so so angry

Anonymous said...

do you know if i can fax or post my guarantee letter and documents direct to the embassy im belgrade, so when my friend goes for visa they will have it there.


Marko said...

Aleks, sorry for not answering your comment. If it's still of any use, I'm pretty sure you can send the letter directly to the embassy.
I hope your friend gets the visa.