Thursday, June 9, 2011
13 (a) Visa Finally Acted On
As you very well know getting the 13 (a) Permanent Visa took a longer time than it should have. We filed it on April 11, 2011 and we were scheduled for a hearing on April 15, 2011. But I was scheduled for an operation on the 15th and we didn't get a notice for the hearing until April 14, 2011 noon, on the way to the hospital nonetheless. The only way I could have made that hearing was to physically pull the IV off from my wrist, tell the attending nurses and the guards that I will be back in 2 to 3 hours to settle my bill and be formally discharged from the hospital.
So to make a long story short, we didn't make it for the April 15, 2011 hearing, although I did call the Bureau of Immigration in Makati (BI Makati) ahead of time that we couldn't make it.
The Monday after my operation (April 18, 2011), I called BI Makati to schedule a hearing. They said they would call me whenever a lawyer becomes available for a hearing. Sadly, I never heard from them and I called them at least once a week, only to be told to wait for a phone call.
Finally, just days before the supposed expiration of the 13 (a) probationary (May 20, 2011), I texted and introduced myself FOR THE FIRST TIME as Atty. Claudette Agatep - Granville! Finally a more positive response came to call them up for the scheduled hearing. The next day we came, and everything was short and curt. We were asked to have something notarized upstairs and signed a few papers. (May 18, 2011)
Fast forward, the second week of June and I haven't heard from them. I called the lawyer's assistant a couple of times and all I got was a curt "she is busy, could you please call again some other time." I try to be as patient as I could with my fellow civil servants for the very simple reason that I know how overwhelming government work can sometimes be. Most people want to dispense most civil servants as lazy or bumming on their job, but some of us really do work our ass off. As I used to say in my former job, I have worked for both the private and the public sector; but I have never worked as hard as I did when I was Chief of Legal of another government office. So I tried my best to be patient. But on the side I was already calling a lawyer-classmate from the BI-Main to ask if it was "normal" that it takes this long and if there would be a possible problem. She asked for my husband's name and for the name of the hearing officer. For the likes of me, I couldn't remember the name of the hearing officer, but I gave her my husband's name. I asked my friend if there would be a problem if the visa approval came after the expiration of the 13 (a) probationary, she said that is not a problem as long as you submit the petition for conversion days before the expiration of the original visa. So I relied on her word, as she works there after all.
Today, I decided to google my name for no apparent reason really, just that I do that a great once in awhile to see what I have done in my life. Aside from seeing my blog, and various other articles pertaining to previous jobs and my eligibility, I saw the action on our visa. In Item 212 I saw my name and my husband's name. I just wonder why BI-Makati hasn't called us yet. I can't imagine that the action can be anything other than an approval. So next week, after our Veteran's Affair appointment we are going to BI-Makati hopefully for visa implementation.