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Andres Florez | USLHC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

A Sweet Experience getting a French Visa!

Hello everyone, this is my first post on the US LHC blog. Over the next months I will tell you about my experience moving to CERN and working on the CMS experiment.

Last May I officially became a Ph D candidate after taking my qualifiers. It was a very interesting, productive, intense and stressful experience, as it is supposed to be. The feeling of being done with this part of my Ph D was nice, unfortunately  it lasted very little time.

As is common for graduate students working on one of the LHC experiments, after have taken the qualifiers, the next step is to move to CERN where most of the action is! Personally I enjoy being  at  CERN, the annoying part  is to get there, why?

Well, there are some difficulties when you are Latino and have to move to a different country because most of the people coming from almost any Latin American country need a visa to go basically anywhere outside south  or central America. I am Colombian and unfortunately we need a visa even to breathe! Under these circumstances, I decided to go to Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia to get my French visa. I thought this could be a good idea in order to get to spent some time with my family, because I haven’t been able to be with them in a very long time. I talked to my advisor and committed to get some work done during the first two weeks and then take 10 days of vacation at the end of my stay. The sad part is that there was a problem with my visa and it took longer than expected. Because of that I was waiting every single day for a call from the consulate and I had to send tons of e-mails trying to solve this problem.

In the end I spent the last two weeks of my visit (which was supposed to be my vacation!) dealing with visa stuff. I was stuck in my apartment without being able to go out with my family anywhere before 5 pm, and I had to change my plane tickets to the US and to Geneva which cost a lot of money, leaving me basically broke! Finally everything worked out and I got my visa. Thanks to the help of my advisor I will able to survive in Europe while I wait to get paid. Now I am in the US sitting on a chair at the airport waiting to board the plane to finally go to Geneva!

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4 Responses to “A Sweet Experience getting a French Visa!”

  1. Colin Bembridge says:

    Welcome Andres.
    I hear your pain.
    “Real World” stuff can be so frustrating.
    At least, by the time you log back in, you should be there. Money is handy but, life goes on anyway, so sit back and enjoy the ride. 40 years from now you can tell your Grandkids all about how you got to work at CERN.
    Congratulations, I think you have an interesting time ahead of you.

    Cheers from the Great White North.

  2. elena Vega says:

    I´m from costa Rica, When i was 22 i went to Orlando a college trip with a group of friends, we were in this mall and one of my friends took a shirt and put it in her bag, i saw her and i get really nervous and scare i just told her that i really wanted to get out of there, getting out of the store we were stopped by the security and arrested… I paid a fee and was realeased inmediatley but with a pending cause… I paid a lawyer to solve to problem without me being there or having to go to a trial or something… so i played guilty.. a really studpid decision.. everything was clear was charge of paying 300USD for misdemeanor… and that was it… years passed by, i continued using my visa and getting in USA sometimes like once a year… with no problem at all.. my 10 years visa expired and went to get the new one… it was very difficult to get it because of the record… but i worked in a very prestigiuos US company and have a very high level position…so they gave me the visa again for 10 years knowing all the details.. After that because of my job i keept getting in the states for business meetings.. and didn´t have any problem.. The problem is now.. last week one of the vicepresidents offered me a great positiong at the Heat Quarters and have to move to New York.. this is great for my carrer but i[m very scare it would be a problem to get the residence visa… Please i need to know the consecuences i could have?

  3. Michelle says:

    I’m an American working on getting my student visa for France as well. I understand Andres Florez how you might feel that all your trouble is because you are from Columbia. I will give you some perspective. Although you are correct that I can hop on a plane to europe without a visa, it is complicated and frustrating to get a student visa. Working diligently every day for two weeks for the visa is standard if you are lucky even for an American. I hope this makes you feel a little better at least that it’s not just your country. It is the general state of affairs today.

    Elena Vega, I can understand why you are scared. I will give you the best advice I can. Call the best U.S. immigration attorney you can, hopefully one with a criminal dept in house or who has some as associates. I won’t bother to tell you what you should have done way back when. I think you know that and it’s useless now. Interview several attorneys before signing a retainer to make sure you are hiring someone who can actually help you. Good Luck!

  4. I know it’s difficult for Colombians to travel abroad, but not for all latin americans. I’m from Panama and I can travel to Europe for 3 months without a visa.

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