So since I had to get a student visa for my trip I figured I’d share some dos and donts with you all…
DO make an appointment as early as possible. You don’t want to be scrambling a month before your trip trying to find a consulate office that has openings.
DO get your forms together as soon as possible. You will be able to figure out what you have and what you need to get out of that dusty filing cabinet in the basement well before your appointment.
DO get a nice folder where you can keep all of these forms together.
DO make a checklist of all the forms and check the list before you leave for the consulate. Nothing is worse than getting into the little visa office TWO hours away from home and realizing that you forgot a few of the most important documents and then having a silent panic attack in the waiting room and then explaining your situation to the lady who was actually nice to you even though she wasn’t nice to anyone else (THANK GOODNESS). And then you have to overnight your forms to them and you hope for the best. Did this happen to me? I’m not sure.
DO make copies of all the forms you are giving to the consulate. You won’t get those forms and documents back. I was lucky that I took a picture of my travel itinerary because I didn’t make a copy and I didn’t get it back.
DO get to your appointment earlier than your actual appointment time. There will inevitably be a bunch of people ahead of you, but you never know.
DON’T be rude to the people working in the office. Even though it might be slow, they are doing their best to process all the applications and make sure everything goes smoothly. I’ve found that the nicer you are to people, the nicer they are to you.
DON’T worry. You’ll get your passport back in time. The consulate knows when you are leaving and they know that you need your passport back.
DON’T forget anything!! I can’t say that enough.