Wednesday, February 3, 2010

America vs Austria

I gave in practically the same documentation to both the Austrian Consulate as I did to the American one.

The same bank statements, the same travel history, a letter from a relative ready to sponsor me, the same residential permits to the UK and Australia. It was my first application to both embassies and I was interviewed by both.

The result – Austria gives me a 6-day visa and America a 10-year one.

Why is it that Austrians are scared that I will abandon my Australian husband, my UK and Australian residencies, and run away to Austria to live as a fugitive but not the Americans?


Anand said...

That’s the difference between a geographically landlocked country still mired in the after effect of ‘Iron Curtain’ and a geographically open & vast country with an open arms policy (at least for skilled and law abiding people) !!

globalbabble said...

Hi Anand,

I think we can add to that the mind-numbing bureaucracy of most European countries... the officer at the American embassy who interviewed me actually had the authority to approve or deny my visa application.
The woman who interviewed me for the Austrian visa was just some flunky who was to pass the papers to her boss, who would then send it austria perhaps ...what's the point, I thought. Such a waste of her and my time!

Anand said...

Hmmm...that sounds so much like India :)

globalbabble said...

Well the difference was that unlike the Indian High Commission, the woman behind the counter was polite, the office had enough chairs for everyone, there were no crazy queues and I didn't have to muscle a few people to reach the counter...

Anand said...

That reminds me…I had been to the Indian consulate in NYC last year, and was totally taken aback. They are set in a small office, actually it was the basement of a tall building and not more than 1000 sq ft. Considering that this was the heart of Manhattan, the space is ok but they had only 5 or 6 people to take care of more than 200 applicants. The timings too are odd, they don’t open until 9.30 and accept applications till 12.30, then they close for dabba and chai paani and open again at 4.30 to distribute approved applications till 5. It was as if people had taken oath to vehemently follow the ‘babu culture’.

But there were a couple of good things too, the ladies spoke to were very polite and overall the system is very efficient and effective. I have dealt with them twice and on both occasions I got a positive feedback within a week even though they have listed the turnaround time as 4-6 weeks on their site.