My US Trip Pre-work – The Big Fight Pre-Trip

Sometime back.. hmmm long back (depends on when you read this post), I was travelling to US. It always carry some excitement for many youths here and obviously a desire for here in India. It all  becomes more interesting when you encounter a useless problem that you have to fight before such an exciting trip.  Read on what I had to go through for Adobe TechSummit, 2004 in San Jose, CA.

Since there are only a limited number of seats and only some %age of people can go at one time, it was always a condition of uncertainity before you get your manager’s call. Well one day, I got it – made me very happy. A big task was to get a visa – since it was adobe arranged trip, none of us anticipate any kind of issues but we were still very uncertain. After all, this was going to be the first trip to the dreamland.  24th April, 2004 was the day for flying..

When I went to US Embassy in India for Visa (first week of april, 2004) along with my colleagues, they read my name in my passport as HEMANI instead of HEMANT.  I didnot understand that it was call for me initially. Then I realized that nobody was standing up and can be me. Now the REASON – the horizontal bar on top of T was very light and hence was being read as I – start of problems. I tried to convince the person but he was adamant on HEMANI. I tried telling him that last US visa (unused one) was also issues with the name ‘T’ but he was angad – immovable.

My company Adobe’s facilities deptt. did very well to communicate everything to US Embassy but all in vain as they read the name what they could read. I was left with a very less time left (number of days left could have been counted on fingers). I had my wrong VISA name but Hotel Bookings done, Tickets done and with only one option: “Get the name corrected from Passport Office.” Wow!!! 7th April already gone, passport not yet back from Embassy, 9th April is holiday due to Good Friday. Remember: I had to fly on 24th April.

    • Option One: If I go to passport office on 12th April to get it corrected, How will I get my corrected passport from the deptt and then go to embassy to get my visa corrected and all that before 24th as we had to leave that day. Basically Not an option. Only God could help me.
  • Another Viable Option that worked: I got the passport delivered from travel agent at delhi passport deptt on 8th April morning. Went to a few clerks and an officer and was ultimately told that department will issue an additional booklet over my passport and everything will be done in less than 3 working days. Wow!!! I could never think of such a fast processing from a Public Deptt. in India. Now a realization came – India is improving.
Finally, on Tuesday i.e. 13th of April, 2004, I got my new additional booklet with my name as HEMANT VIRMANI.
Next target was to get VISA from US Embassy:
Well, then it was all done in two days when on Friday same week, I got an appointment for US Embassy for VISA processing. I wastold by adobe to meet an Officer. I realized “What a great job my company had done” read on…
They had already talked to Embassy about my case and embassy people had realized my name – ‘HEMANT’ and it was matter of mins (60 to be precise) that I was told that I can collect my visa stamped on my passport on the same day. I collected it the same day…. 16th April, 2004

At last!! all my obstacles were gone with Adobe Support Staff doing a great job in getting this done.

With good support and never say die spirit, you can do the difficults easily…


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