Thursday, 24 April 2008

Cutting it fine

In retrospect it was probably a bad idea to book my flights before checking whether I needed a visa. I had assumed I wouldn't need one to do the Bar Exam in NY, I've gone over before on the visa waiver programme and as you can stay for 90 days I thought I'd be fine.

I actually ended up booking my flights for longer than I'd initially planned, because I realised a bit after signing up for the Bar course itself and planning flight dates that I would have to stay a bit longer to take an additional ethics exam (to actually be admitted to the Bar) and so this means staying 10 days longer than anticipated. But because I'd dismissed the visa issue as being an issue in my mind I totally forgot about it.

Until today when I suddenly realised that mid-May to mid-August may very well take me over the 90 day limit- possibly about 92 as a quick guesstimate. Cue panicked search for the US Embassy online, which tells me that a visa can be processed in 5 working days.

That's good, I thought, I'll have time to spare. Cue call to the US Embassy to book appointment to arrange said visa. Upon which I'm told they don't have any slots before the END OF MAY. Except I'm leaving on the 15th. And starting my course on the 22nd.

Got my tickets and calendar out again, and recounted the days to see how much I would have to change my flight by (assuming I would have to pay over the odds for a new outbound flight).

On recount- I'm off for 89 days. Hope glimmers in my eyes. Recount, and it's still 89 days. I'm not sure why I was so out the first time!


I'd rather not be messing about with US immigration, thank you very much!

*kisses passport profusely*

Now, onto the next very important issue. I could do with a fancy passport cover...maybe Penhaligons do a nice leather one...

Clearly, I have my priorities in order! Oh well, maybe when I grow up I will be more organised. I will even keep my room tidy.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Mel, that is INDEED cutting it fine! ( You sound exactly the same as me when it comes to planning stuff in advance - perhaps when we are properly qualified and fully practising Baristers, we should set up in Chambers together and call it Last Minute ( though there nmay be objections on that front!) or Complete Chaos , or some such similar!

Mel said...

I am. I am RUBBISH.
I remember with every round of mooting I'd say to myself - next time I WON't be working out an argument and printing cases half an hour before the moot. And then I would.

Good idea, but may not instil the sort of trust and confidence we would want in our solicitor clients/masters throwing out scraps of work? On the plus side we'll have lots of free time...!

I like 'Last minute' though- we get the briefs in last minute, but we get it done! No reason why the travel company should's a different sector, right?!

Anonymous said...

I'm the same, I'm afraid! I sit and procrastinate over a skeleton argument, put my argument to the court which then gets ripped to shreds,leading me to vow that I will NEVER put myself in such a situation again. Until the next time.....
'Complete Chaos' has a certain ring to it - we could have a nice strapline to the effect of "Desperate? Vexatious? Is there no one out there that will touch your case with a ten foot barge pole?! Come to Complete Chaos Chambers -we will consider your woes and leave it all up in the air until 10 minutes before you are due to walk into court!Interested? Contact our Clerk (he's the one chained to the wall )!!

Mel said...

Love it! The motto and strapline, not the feeling of self-loathing and disgust from last-minute rushing about.

Let's patent it before anyone else gets there. I know Matrix for a start will be all over it. And that crafty lot at Blackstones.

Law Girl said...

Hope you have a fab time and gook luck with it. Can I ask what made you want to take the NY Bar exam?

Mel said...

Thanks LG!

Two main things:

1- good excuse to spend some time in NY (and my best friend is there so we'll have a good time!)

2- for personal reasons I might end up relocating to the US so it may be useful later on.

I'll be blogging from there, so if you like the sound of it, give it a shot!

Android said...

Wow, that was close.

I can't believe the US Embassy! They should hire more staff or something.

Mel said...

You'd think they would, wouldn't you?

Obviously just easier for them to charge ₤1.20 a minute for the telephone line than hire people!

Have heard some horror stories with them as well. Since 9/11 they are really strict with foreign visitor visas, so a friend who is Thai wants to go to NY but isn't even going to bother trying as her friend (bear with me...) who has been in the UK for 5 years, as a student 'doesn't show enough connection with the UK' to apply at the US embassy in London. They want him to return to Thailand to apply for a US visa there!

So my friend, who has been here 6 1/2 years isn't quite sure whether that is long enough to count as a sufficient connection with the UK? I think the trauma of getting through the LLB, an LLM, living in London, having an english partner, just blimming well learning where everything is in the stupid London tesco's is enough to be 'sufficiently' connected with the UK!

I'm very glad of my British passport, I must say!