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VICTORY: student visa obtained

August 16, 2011

There remain 13 days before my departure for Israel.

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I finally picked up my passport from the Israeli consulate. This trip was less complicated than previous ones because I didn’t have to go upstairs, empty my pockets, and go through the x-rays, and take a number to wait for my turn to visit three different windows. Today, I triumphantly walked straight through to the ground floor office, where my passport was waiting for me.

 

Allow me to give you a couple hints for OBTAINING YOUR STUDENT VISA.

  1. Even though there is a downloadable form on the website of the Consular General of Israel in New York, upon arrival at the visa officer’s window, you will be handed a different form onto which you’ll have to transfer the information from the one you downloaded. The new form is much simpler than the one you do at home, which is a relief. Also, if you didn’t figure it out, Hebrew University’s addresses, phone numbers, and faxes are on the acceptance letter.
  2. I was unsure what they meant by “travel document.” Your travel documents are, in fact, your flight itinerary. They want to make sure you have travel arrangements in and out of their country. The first time I went to the consulate, I did not have this and could not complete my application.  I will comment on the flight accommodations in a separate post.
  3. Bring as little as you can when you’re physically going up to the consulate to apply. Excess belongings are complicated to put through the security checkpoint, let alone suspicious.
  4. DON’T BRING ANY LIQUIDS. Kind of an extension of Hint #3. I had to chug my water and give up some of my first aid gels and ointments. I really didn’t know it was that serious, but better safe than sorry, I guess.
  5. When you take your passport photos, make sure they meet the proper standards. I know I mentioned this in an earlier post, but the passport photos that I took before going to the consulate were of me wearing glasses. There was a glare in the photos, which made them unusable. The Israeli consulate does have a photo booth for your convenience, but I wish I didn’t have to pay five dollars to take MORE photos. I’ve lost track of how much money I’ve spent on passport photos altogether throughout this whole process.
  6. Remember that you can only pay with Visa/Mastercard or money orders. Cash and personal checks are not accepted!
  7. Have your passport mailed to you when it’s done. It’s FREE. I accidentally told them I’d come back and pick it up. I didn’t visit the city as frequently as I though I would have since I applied. Even though I like going into the city and walking across Manhattan, I could’ve saved myself the time, money, and effort by just having it sent back to me.
  8. Make conversation. If you don’t know much about your destination country, the people going in and out of there can probably shed some light on the subject. I chatted with the visa officer, and she told me a little bit about Filipinos living in Israel. I talked to the woman next after me in line, and I learned about her upcoming photojournalism excursion in Tel Aviv. We even exchanged information and maybe even plan to meet in Israel. Cool, right?
Well, there you have it. Your walkthrough for the game to get your student visa. Hopefully, with my advice, you’ll be able to do it all in one shot, and not have two game overs before a third victorious visit, like I did.
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2 comments

  1. Carlo – you are the best! I’m going to make note of this for future students who are as adventurous as you! Have a fab trip! Julia


    • Thank you, Julia! Expect it to only get better… Also, be advised that you can click the “Study Abroad Logistics” link on the menu bar to see all blog posts having to do with just that.



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