Recently I came across a Blog published by a Consular Officer, Calling a Spade a Spade, in it you can find tips and humor about Consular life and dealing with applicants. In this post the officer suggests a list of things which should not be done at the interview window.
“Visa interviewing is generally a lot of fun, when your section is properly staffed and workload is manageable. You chat with interesting people from all walks of life and occasionally make some good contacts and even friends with individuals you may never have met otherwise.
You also interview people who just drive you up a wall for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s a result of a particular behavior. Sometimes it’s a characteristic. Sometimes it’s just the audacity. In no particular order, here are my top visa applicant pet peeves:
1. Women who believe that dressing like a whore betters their chances of obtaining a visa from me, because, you know, I’m just that shallow. This faux pas is usually accompanied by body language designed to, shall we say, maximize exposure. These aren’t rank-ordered, but this might be the one that irritates me the most.
2. Applicants who haven’t showered in days, whose musky stench lingers at my window for a half-hour after the applicant has gone. Sailors and some categories of clergy are by far the most serious offenders. I can’t believe other applicants are all that happy to be sitting in a waiting room with these people, either.
3. Applicants who steadfastly deny wrongdoing, even when shown incontrovertible evidence.
“You’ve never been in U.S.?”
“Well, here’s an entry record from May 21, 2006 and an exit for September 30, 2008.”
“That must be a mistake.”
“You’ve never been arrested?”
“Well, I have an exact fingerprint match here for an arrest on assault and battery charges in Birmingham, Alabama in 2007.”
“It’s not me.”
“How do your fingerprints show up in Alabama, if you’ve never been in the U.S. and never been arrested?”
“I don’t know, but I swear I’ve never been to the U.S. or arrested.”
I’m just left speechless.
4. Applicants refused tourist visas who then proceed to trash-talk America to prove that they’d never want to live there in a million years. “Why would I want to live there? Your shallow, materialistic, godless culture. Ugh.”
So why visit, chucklehead? I hear Saudi Arabia’s very nice this time of the year.
5. Applicants who fake medical infirmities to play on my sympathy. Medical cases are actually not that difficult to adjudicate, since you’re supposed to put aside the medical issue and first judge whether the applicant overcomes 214(b). Of course, we’re human, and if you’re an empathetic chap like myself, it’s sometimes hard separate the two. But when I refuse a “deaf” applicant and then see him walk away conversing without difficulty with other applicants, it’s a great reminder of why it’s so important to adjudicate these cases properly…..
6. Applicants who begin the interview themselves. That’s right. They come right up to the window and start rambling. Sometimes when we’re not busy, for my own amusement, I’ll just let them keep right on going out of morbid curiosity to see how long it will run. After awhile, I start to wonder whether I’ll actually need to ask any questions.
7. Applicants who share too much personal information. You’re divorced. Okay. That’s really all I need to know. I don’t need to know that impotence was the reason, or he slept with your sister, or she hid from you a second job as a streetwalker. The legal term for that information is, I believe, “immaterial.”
8. Applicants who insist on talking to “the Consul.” Especially irritating when you are the Consul. Someone once asked to speak to my father. Sure, I look young, but come on. I once responded to an irate applicant’s request to speak to “the Consul” thusly: “I’m all the Consul you’re going to get.” I don’t think that’s from any list of cleared talking points from Consular Affairs.
9. Applicants who turn on the waterworks on cue. They’re waiting for that key question as the trigger, then they go from zero to sixty in no time flat. Some don’t even wait for the interview to begin before shedding the crocodile tears.”