Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Paper-pusher morons

Oh. My. God. So far, my hopefully one-day alma mater, U of A, has not done much to impress when it comes to red tape. I think it has almost managed to put the Big Red Tape to shame. I got my application in really early, got all the information I would need as an international student to Helpful H. (HH), my contact in the physiology office, who has been very sweet and helpful. Unfortunately, she rarely deals with international students, so she's been relying heavily on the International Students Office (ISO) over at U of A. Which is apparently staffed to the brim with pretentious, fucking morons. I've been dealing with HH and the ISO office for months now, trying to get my visa information straightened out so I can legally attend school. Back in March or so, I sent HH pretty much all of my information and she forwarded it to the ISO. Among the paperwork I had to fill in as an international student was a financial guarantee ensuring that I currently had the money or a reliable source of income to pay for tuition. Since I was gonna be paid through a grant (as are most science-y grad students), I couldn't fill out the financial guarantee. HH filled out the financial guarantee and hand-delivered it to the ISO office. Meanwhile the ISO sent me this standard questionnaire they would need to process my visa. Which I filled out and emailed back the day I recieved it. I also sent them a photocopy of my passport, my current I-94 card, and any other relevant information I thought they would need. Then, I waited. And waited. And waited. Last week, I realized I had a month to the move and still hadn't received my visa. Now, the problem is that I need to have my visa paperwork signed at the US-Canadian border to validate it. So, since Ithaca is infinitely closer to Canada than Tucson, I wanted it as soon as possible so I could drive up to the border and have the fucking thing signed one weekend. Preferably this weekend. So, eventually, last week, I emailed HH, asking whether I was expected to pick my visa paperwork up or something. She was surprised I hadn't received it yet. So she calls the ISO. Who tells her that they haven't even fucking processed anything yet because they haven't received my financial guarantee. Yes, the financial guarantee she personally walked to their office and handed to them. Frustrated, she sent over another copy. They promptly sent me a copy of the questionnaire. The same questionnaire I had already filled out three months ago and sent back to them. Frustrated, I sent them back a forward of my original email, telling them I had sent it to them already, but here was another copy in case they "lost it". They sent me another email today asking me when I would pick up my visa. And apparently they needed my SEVIS release date from my current school. Which is a bizarre question because I'm working -- I'm not even on an F-1 visa right now; I'm no longer a student. And besides which, they have a copy of my I-94 -- my visa class is clearly marked on the I-94, which they should have right in-fucking front of them. Since I didn't realize they needed this information, I didn't give it to them. And now, confusion has ensued. They thought I was still an F-1 visa, even though I'm on a TN and were treating me as such, even though the paperwork I sent them shows me on a TN. (Although, maybe I messed up because I sent them a photocopy of my I-94 but put my visa type in as I-94 by mistake since, y'know, I can't keep these immigration forms straight). Hopefully, now that we've figured out where the miscommunication occurred and the root of why me and the person I've been emailing have been somehow talking past each other, this situation will be resolved and I'll still be able to y'know, have my I-20 signed. Either way, regardless of this current fiasco, they still fucking lost my financial guarantee, three months ago and never told anybody. If I had known, I really wouldn't be rushing around now trying to get this figured out. I could have leisurally figured this out with more than, oh, two weeks left of my time in Ithaca!! I swear to God, American nationals who think international students are parasites of the American educational system are just ignorant. They have no idea what hoops have to be jumped through just to stay in the country legally.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what makes them pretentious morons as opposed to any other kind?

7/20/2005 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

oh, yes, i forgot to mention, because they keep signing their emails off as "the Visa Response team" and the tone of their emails is very faux-professional... especially given that the email questionnaire is in Comic Sans MS and has a bunch of typos in it.

7/20/2005 03:11:00 PM  

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