U.S. Consulate – San José Embassy – Visa Problem

This small piece of paper is becoming harder to get

This small piece of paper is becoming harder to get for Costa Ricans who want to visit the U.S.

Attending a business meeting in Santa Ana a few weeks ago, one of the associates of a client rant and raved about his dealings with the U.S. Consulate at the San José embassy US Embassy. He was Costa Rican, his wife was American and they had two children. All they wanted was  to visit the U.S for a few weeks to see her parents. The kids had no problem (the duel citizenship thing) but he was running into major road-blocks on getting his visa to the States.

Frustration prevailed, and they went without him. He just did not have the time to deal with it.

It is no secret that the U.S Embassy continues to give frustration and just plain rudeness to those Costa Ricans seeking U.S. visas. Stories are so wide spread, that AM Costa Rica has started to post them on their website.   However, AM admits that many of the letters that are send, if in fact, truly represent a fair valuation of the U.S. Consulate.

According to the U.S. Consulate, there are good reasons for refusing Costa Ricans visas. There are many applicants and the employees who make such decisions are rushed and have just a few minutes. Tico Times Directory calls BS on this because getting a visa has always taken a bit of time. Since day one, and when lives on Tico time, one knows that nothing is rushed in Costa Rica. Years ago I  had a friend who worked at the Embassy, normal time to get a visa took anywhere from a few hours … to a day. Of course, a bit of palm stuffing always helped  speed that process up to just thirty minutes.

Probably the most wide spread story of misuse is the one of a Tica mother of a U.S.,  slain soldier of Iraq who was denied a visa in 2004.  Embassy workers claimed could not find the  name on a list of dead (she even had the U.S. military paperwork of death) and assumed the woman was lying. Eventually the woman got the visa in time to attend the funeral at Arlington. And then to make matters worse, the embassy charged her $100, which to any Embassy was a God-sin to a mother of a fallen soldier. The U.S. Embassy should have been ashamed  and never apologized to the mother.

The Embassy continues to defend themselves with cases like, a year later officials awarded visas to two alleged soccer teams that were supposed to play in a few friendship tournaments in the United States. The scam was attributed to drug traffickers in southern Costa Rica. One team never played because the players jumped their visas to get illegal jobs in the U.S.  The other team suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of a real team.

Like here in the U.S. the U.S. Embassy in San Jose does not try to change their image and are very callous to criticism. They are just a typical bureaucratic system that goes out of their way to spend taxpayer dollars. Those who need visas must come during the day  to San José, stand in a very long line, sometimes in the rain, just to enter the embassy grounds.

What is worse, if there is some terrorist alert, the place is locked down and all those that have been standing in line for hours are turned away.    The embassy closes on some U.S. holidays and on Costa Rican holidays (which there seems to be one, once a week) thus cutting more days that Costa Ricans would be free to apply for visas.

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