Today was our last chance. If we didn't secure our visas today we'd have to postpone leaving for South Africa, change our flights and extend our time at the Crowne Plaza White Plains. We had a plan. We would try what they call in the sales world the assumptive close. We would advise the experts handling our case file that since the four week deadline had passed, that we would go to the consulate ourselves to personally collect the visas. Mr. Deep woke up at 4:00 a.m. to send an email to the expert in London asking her to be sure the visas would be ready when we stopped by the consulate to get them.
We woke up several hours later. The expert had replied that they were continuing to follow up in the visas and that we should change our flight and should wait for a phone call from the consulate. We decided not to accept this answer and to cut out the middle man and go to the consulate ourselves.
As we trudged through NYC in below freezing temperatures we talked about what might happen when we arrived at the consulate. We came up with five scenarios.
1) The Hopeful Scenario - the visas would be ready and they would hand them to us and we would be on our way...to Africa
2) The Hopeful but Practical Scenario - they would inform us that the visas would be ready sometime today
3) The We Mailed the Visas to you Scenario - this would not be good as we forwarded all mail to a facility in Texas
4) The Oh There's a Huge Problem Scenario - we would learn about some big issue, missing information and thus a delay with our applications
5) The Who the %$&/(-$! are you Scenario - no record of us or our application at all and just a blank stare
Riding up in the elevator was stressful. It seemed like we were heading in to see a doctor after having tests done. We would learn our fate.
After watching another person who was also trying to secure a visa struggle through the process at the window it was our turn. Mr. Deep went up to the counter. He said he was following up on visa applications. The woman replied that the applications take 4 weeks. Mr. Deep said (nicely) that it had been over four weeks since we applied. She went in the back to check on things. She returned and said we should come back in an hour to get our visas. We did. We got them. We're moving to Africa tomorrow!