A lot has changed on the consulate from previous time I applied about 4 years ago. Most of my web links from my previous post are now broken. The web site changed everything, seems like. The whole process did change a lot. If the current process was the same in 2006, I could have renewed my visa, which would now be valid until 2016 without even needing an interview. It's also now possible to schedule new interviews one after the other in less than a week. With that, something that was impossible is now possible: someone was denied the visa, tried again 1 week later and got it.
There's still the myth that soon Brazilians won't need tourist visa anymore. Looks like this myth might even be getting stronger, but I think it's just a myth. There's too much money on it (I've heard 3 thousand interviews per day are made only in São Paulo, costing little more than U$100 each, and lasting for a few short minutes) and new consulates are being created in other cities. There's now a third party company, CASV, which was hired only to digitalize photos and fingerprints and thus optimize the consulate performance. So, there was many improvements and investments in this whole system...
But the consulate still is like hell.
I was there by 12:30, had my interview scheduled to 13:00 and only got to talk at 14h. Line after line. We can't even bring a cell phone turned off, not even a headset is allowed. No kind of gadget. If you don't want to talk with people in line nor die in marasm while standing on the line, bring a paper Sudoku. Also bring an umbrella because in some lines you may have no roof.
I still believe the main factor to approve or deny a tourist visa are their own data. In my case, I still have what they would call an extremely weak link (no job, no university, no cars, no house, etc) to Brazil and, to my first surprise, the interviewer justified in the end I also had way too strong links in the US (mother and brother).
It matters not I had traveled to several European countries and to New Zealand. And I came back. It matters not I'm in a very stable union for 5 years with a beautiful woman and she's very well employed here for at least 6, and I have not the slightest intention on divorce. Seems like such a union means nothing in the US. I've learned if you live together with your mate for 2 years, you're married for all legal means. And I do call her my wife.
It seems to also matter nothing I once had a tourist visa and I was legally in the US for 1 year and I came back - to keep it legal. I've worked there and my boss promised a work visa, which didn't happen.
I had 2 big reasons to believe this time would be different.
First, my brother sponsoring me. Not just paying the "small" fee, but also taking full responsibility for my stay. What else the US need? I had a tax paying US citizen willing to take all legal chances for me. This was huge to me but, to the consulate, it matters not. Or maybe they didn't know that much about him, as I thought they did...
The second reason actually mattered. Negatively. Once again, I've set my mind to "tell as little as possible". With that, I decided to try and simplify my whole "1 year legal stay", because I once believed this could have been an issue in the previous attempts. I'm not sure how simple of a process it is. So, this time, I said I was there for 1 month. I lied. And I kept on doing it - short and dry. He would ask "how long you stayed the last time" I said "1 month". Later on, near the end, he asked "how long you stayed there again?", I said "1 month". "Are you sure?". "Yes.". Smooth. I'm a dumbfuck.
That was just the way I rationalized how to simplify my story, keep it short. My previous interviewer would probably have asked to see the papers I had brought, once he realized how bad I sell myself. I had all money information they needed there and a signed letter from my brother proving his will to sponsor me. But I didn't show it to him. And he didn't ask. After that, he just told me "Your visa was denied, you got too strong links there, too weak links here, and I know you stayed there for 1 year so you weren't cooperating with me".
"Do I have any say on that?" I asked. Still on the fucking programmer mindset of being short, concise, trying to communicate with someone like me. But I'm not normal. I don't really "get" people. I got many reasons I want to leave my country and one of them is I don't connect with so much lack of caring. People here don't care about other people. I care a whole lot more than you, my dear reader, probably ever did or will. I'm stupid like that. He said "no, it's done". I left. Stupid again.
There. I had my tourist visa to visit "the most armed country in the world" denied for the 3rd time.
Look, I know that's his job. I know he interviews hundreds of people per day. I know it's humanly impossible to be fair with everyone there. But he took that job. He wants to be that guy. He knows he will be unfair to a lot of people. And he doesn't care. He didn't look me in the eye, once. He didn't try to see my point. He didn't bother to help a honest human fellow just trying to be free. After all, why would he care?
I also know I lied. But he didn't know that for sure. No matter what technique he used, he can't know for sure. Proof of this is the number of bigger liars that get approved through the same process, and go on to immigrate illegally. He basically called me a liar, without knowing for sure. And gave me no explicit chance to reply. That is just terrible work for U$100. Terrible.
I'd go as far to say this whole process is committing a huge crime against the US of A, staining the country, the human race even, and also making enemies for no good reason. It's not like this process is properly filtering illegal immigrants. It isn't. So I don't know why it exists, but I know in my skin it is making enemies. I've met that feeling of hate there. I believe there is such a thing as verbal and emotional violence and it is considered a crime, isn't it? Maybe I'm wrong...
In any case, why not paying more attention to these small things?
Despite all of that, this time I didn't hate that guy behind the glass wall. I hated myself. He made me feel miserable. I made me feel miserable. I think I only got denied this time because of my own lack of communication ability.
Best advice I can give to anyone who is trying all this: First time applying? Got family there? Lie your ass off and relax. Do not be nervous. They're not that good to identify lies, most of them won't even look into your eye and they use very old techniques to try and make you nervous. And if you do get nervous, they'll likely assume you're lying. That's their parameter. Also, apply the tourist visa before you apply for a green card from your family. Else, you won't be able to visit them until the green card comes. Retarded? Yes. Welcome to Sao Paulo US Consulate.
For all rest, like in my case, just talk to any specialist, such as this: http://www.vistos-americanvisa.com.br/site/
I think if I went on and tried again, I might be able to get lucky with a better interviewer and I might be able to express myself better, show my documents, say "Yeah I do have strong links, reason why I want to visit them! Yeah, I do not have a car nor a house in my name, but since when those are strong links? How many 'tourists' who do have those and you approve are now illegal in the US?", and that might be enough. It would make a great story.
But I also think it's just not worth even 1 buck trying again. I love my family, and I still love my planet with all problems it has (resumed to a lot of terrible human beings). And, as such, I now think I have to stand a point to never support this moronic consulate again. The whole process is way too expensive in every sense of the word.
After all this info, if you know you can get it the first time, and you really need to go to the US, I suggest you go and try. You probably will be just fine. Else, just choose another place to go. Most countries aren't this hypocritical. They actually give us the freedom to come and go.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://www.cregox.com/blog/2014/04/how-i-changed-my-career-plans-again.html