Visa is the name of the game

2 Sep

At the end of last week, I took a quick trip up to the Spanish Consulate in Chicago to pick up my student visa. After spending $100, a summer of anticipation and a five-hour car ride, the actual visa was a little anticlimactic. It just looks like another page in my passport — but don’t let that make you think it’s not important.

Under most circumstances, a U.S. citizen traveling to Spain or any one of the Schengen countries, does not need a passport. The normal passport stamp that you receive in the airport will suffice for the trip. However, if you plan on going for an extended amount  of time, a visa is essential.  For my trip, I was told to apply for the short-stay 90-day student visa. This means that I’m allowed in the country for 90 days, during which I will apply for an extended stay with the Spanish government.

I had no idea how essential and complicated that visas can be and it seems like they vary from each individual case. I’ve been lucky enough that the program and the consulate have been so helpful throughout the process, but I’ve definitely learned that I will be doing a lot of prior research if I ever plan on taking an extended trip elsewhere.

My Lesson of the Day: In some situations, a visa can get you a lot further than a mastercard…

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