Friday, January 28, 2011

The Frustrations of getting one single Visa

So here I am, late January 2011. Yes, in just over a month - on the 3rd of March - I am heading off again for more fun and highjinx. Seems like all of a sudden I have 100,000 things to do and no time to do them in. I will be starting in Singapore, venturing to Vietnam, Laos and beyond...

So the blogs start up again. But I am blogging today in utter frustration about the time it has taken to get my visa for Kazakhstan!

Now I need to preface this by saying that the Kazakh Consulate has been fantastic and this is in no way their fault. It has been postal and courier services that have done my head in.
No Kazakh consulate in Australia (that processes visas I should add) so I needed to send my passport to Singapore where there is a consulate.
This I did on the 24th of December. It is the 28th of January today. I still have not got my passport back!

So needless to say.... Not happy Jan. I need four visas before I leave Australia - Kazakhstan, Cameroon, Vietnam and China. I gave myself over two months to get them. I still haven't got one and I have one month to go!

I followed up my passport arrival with the consulate. By the 9th of January they still hadn't received it. So I went to Australia Post who confirmed it left the country on the 28th of December. 11 days in Singapore and it hadn't been delivered to the consulate? So I had to call Singapore Post. Well, I tried tracking by their website first and that drew a blank. Then I called them and they said they tried to deliver it on the 3rd of January, no-one was there so they left a note and took it back to the PO.
Except that they left the note in a big building with various companies etc and the note was never received. The passport remained in Singpost without them trying to redeliver or contact anyone for a week and a half.
Mid-January now and they finally redeliver after I had called them and they had found it. Around a week to process, which is decent time, and my friend picks it up and mails it to me on the 24th January express post. They use TNT to deliver on their express post items, a courier company.
Yesterday at 1.10pm no-one is home when they try to deliver it. It is the middle of a working day. So I get the note and they take the passport back to their depot at Melbourne Airport. I call today. They are on strike today. There is a picket line outside their depot and anyways Melbourne Airport is 90 minutes drive minimum away and I have work soon. There will be a backlog due to the strike. It seems unlikely I will get my passport back before Tuesday 1st February.

I call this a nightmare. There's no doubt that this is the longest I have ever had to wait to get a visa. All I can do is wait. I have everything ready for the Cameroon visa the day I get my passport back. Fingers crossed....
Not the ideal way to start the trip. Of course, it hasn't officially started.
And no, I don't have time to get the visa whilst I am in Singapore! (there for four days, 2 of them weekend)

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