Donnerstag, 28. Februar 2008

I am a 47 year old photo-journalist working for the int. media worldwide since 1986 and have just experienced a nightmare of going through the third I-Visa renewing process in my life at the US-Embassy in Berlin with no succsess. Since a year you have to go through a personnal interview in Berlin and provide different documents. Since my laptop incl. my passport with a I-Visa (Journalist) was stolen from my car during a job in southern France I needed to renew all the stuff,...sifff what a hazzle ! Offcourse I did'nt read the small printed lines in the internet documents of the embassy saying, you cant take a cell-Phone into the embassy building. Coming from Hamburg by train I did needed to take it anyway. They send me away but I found a deposit at the bakery around the corner..., second, realising I have lost my bank receipt for the fees to be paid in advance.... the second shock and allready I felt like a criminal because the lady was anything than polite... so I paid my second 94,32 Euros (in addition to the train fare and a day with no income) third after 3x finger prints I got the unpleasant news that my 3 different photos don't match the regulations,.. too dark ! ( I am a photographer), another 6,-Euros one floor above... after another hour waiting time I was happy to hear my name announced and I proceeded to a little interviewing box that reminded me of the old dark east German times... It took the clerk only 10 seconds to make clear that I can walk without my visa. I did'nt bring the contract with my Media Agency. I tried to explain that I am freelance. Which means no contracts with no one. The reaction : "I told you you need a contract" Me: I cant bring a contract because I dont have a boss... and so on, 2 Minutes later I was in the street again, having spent 265,44 Euros and 10 hours for nothing. The only person that was interested in my story was the old lady at the bakery... Her comment was'nt anything nice about American people. Still I am totally confused, after 22 years of international work I have been denied to enter the US with the Visa that I have had 3 times before already. I never spent more tha 7-10 days in the US, leaving a lot of good old cash in many places. Still I dont know what kind of contract with what kind of Media-Company I should have... Why did'nt the man from the embassy allow me to explain my situation and look up all my papers and magazines that I brought to prove what a nice photographer I am. It has become a very dark world out there...I felt like a little dumm schoolboy. My head was hot and read and I was so embarrassed and felt humiliated like a sick dog. What can I do ? I am getting afraid of what happens in the world and in the USA after beeing a great fan of american life for such a long time. My suggestion : Stay out of that country if you can ! There is some bad memorys in my German soul

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