Getting a Visa is STRESSFUL

By June 15, 2016Study Abroad, Travel

You don’t need a visa to enter every country. US citizens are allowed in the Schengen area for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. I’m spending 4 months studying in Italy, so yes I’ll need a student visa.

I had to drive to Houston to do an in-person interview, which wasn’t an interview at all. I just sat across from a visa officer, looking at her through a glass window and handing her all my papers. She yelled at me a bit for everything not being perfect. I had print outs of all my official documents, and one of them the signature wasn’t very dark. I emailed the document to her and that seemed to have worked. At least I hope.

Another thing I wasn’t told…. they take your passport. And keep it. Maybe it should have been obvious, but I have never left the country and so why should that be obvious to me? My appointment was tuesday and I leave on friday. I originally had an appointment in May, but the universities would not have all the documents ready for me in time. I received all the documents the day before my appointment after BEGGING the people to do it quicker.

With tears in my eyes and the anxiety beginning to consume me, I told the lady that I needed my passport back on friday because I’m leaving that day. She told me it would be in the mail in a week, but maybe it would be ready by thursday. I’m really lucky for this because I was told it takes 3-4 weeks for this process, which I don’t have. I’m driving back to Houston on Thursday early morning, with my fingers crossed. Hopefully it’ll be ready and I won’t have to change any of my flights.


About Mary

Studying on Exchange in Milan, Italy. Been to 9 countries and counting. Follow me as I dive deeper into new cultures and venture throughout the world.


  • […] I was really anxious at the visa office, especially since I wasn’t sure if they were going to take my passport and whether I would get it back in time. During the busy months it may take up to 3-4 weeks, depending on your country. At the italian one I was told it would be in the mail within a week. Although I drove back up to Houston two days later and my passport was there waiting for me, with my student visa in place. I wrote a blog post about what it was actually like being at the Visa Office, check it out here. […]

  • Mary says:

    I drove to Houston that Thursday and my passport was ready with my visa in place! Check out my mini-guide to getting your visa here:

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