Visa Oh Visa, where are you?
I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled a fair bit over the years, in the USA and outside the USA. Americans are spoiled in that we think all we have to do to travel is just get in a vehicle of some sort, car, truck, train, plane and just go. Since 9/11 public transportation has been a somewhat more complicated requiring better ID credentials, some additional checks and wait times but in reality, we can going just about anyplace in the USA with very little effort. Even traveling outside the USA to say, Europe, Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, still quite simple. More exotic destinations maybe some medical vaccinations, etc.
Fast forward to the world of Covid and now things are more difficult. Australia is one of those more difficult locations. The first time and all the times since that I have traveled down under I’ve need o procure a VISA. I am sure other countries require one as well, I have just never been anyplace else that required one. There is all the Covid related requirements as well. The last time I went to Oz, I know I needed and obtained a VISA, it’s just been too long ago to remember the procedure.
May, 2022, the Adventure to ride a bike across the Australian continent is a definite go so I hop on the Australian Immi website, create an account, go through the long list of available VISA’s that are offered and pick the one that seems to best fit what I’m doing, how long I’m staying and who do I know that will vouch for me. 10 plus pages of application and about $100 US and I have applied. Their web says most VISA’s are granted in about 30 days or so. However, the end of June and I have seen no VISA approval. Even though the website says “if you call, we can’t help with VISA’s” I call anyhow and really don’t change anything. I locate the Australian consulate in Chicago and call them. I go through the auto attendant, pick “I want info about VISAS’s” and get a message that says, “we can’t help with VISA’s”, yes I figured that.
Even though I didn’t have a VISA, I had already booked flights trying to remember the past but not remembering any real issue getting a VISA, I figured no problem, VISA will be granted, not leaving until mid July, all good.
End of June and I’m starting to panic some. Bushy and Scotty and I talk and make some alternative plans just in case I’m not on a July 15 flight. Daily, I am checking the website for updates on the application.
About a week ago, scrolling through one of probably who knows how many web pages I find two small point text lines that say, “Try our Mobile Apps” at either Apple or Google, DUH! Of course there is an app for that. Hey, I’m a boomer, give me a break! Friday, 10 P.M. I download the app, scan my passport, take a facial picture, picture of vaccine records, answer some legal questions and hit submit hoping that technology will work where there is lack of staff to process a multi page application.
Monday, bright and not so early, I’m up and amazingly, both VISA applications are GRANTED!
My attitude and mood change is immediate, I’m back into the “how can I pack all the gear I need” mode and I feel like this crazy adventure will in fact happen.
Two weeks and counting!