My Algerian Embassy Saga

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For those of you who like reprehensible stories of frustration and woe, where some people treat others with absolutely no consideration and are completely unreasonable, then you will love this story. For those of you like me, this will make your blood boil, but either way it’s pretty entertaining and one that I am dumfoundedly forced to chalk up to a learning experience-sort of at least.

I sent my passport in two Mondays ago to my visa agency, passportvisasexpress.com, to bring to the Algerian Embassy in Washington DC to get my visa which was supposed to take 5 business days. This was annoying but fine, as many embassies have stupid minimum processing times for no particular reason other than because they can. One problem is that the Algerian Embassy enjoys three day weekends every single week as they do not work on Fridays-mind you they do no work any days but that’s coming up.

Anyway, my visa agency, whom I had used a few times in the past and had always had good experiences with had tried to pay extra for them to process my visa quickly as I was in Mexico and needed it back by the following Wednesaday to re-enter the US on my way home. They were unsuccessful trying to coerce the Algerians into rushing my application-shocker. Finally it became the next Tuesday and I was increasingly nervous that my passport wouldn’t be ready in time with the visa so I was kind of freaking out. However, I still really wanted the Algerian visa because I had already bought my ticket on a one world miles ticket so it was unchangeable and besides I wanted to go.

But the visa still wasn’t ready and no reason was given for this tardiness so I took the initiative of going to the US Consulate in Monterrey and getting a second emergency passport so I could re-enter the US. This cost me $75 and a little bit of patience but I must say the people I dealt wityh at the Consulate were very helpful and actually seemed to care unlike any other US State Department Agency I had dealt with in the past.

So anyway it became Wednesday and by obtaining a second passport I figured I was giving the lazy bastards at the Algerian Embassy an extra three days to finish my passport because then I could just receive it in NYC and didn’t have to have it shipped back to Mexico, which would be another nightmare, even with FEDEX. But the visa agency said it wasn’t ready yet and couldn’t give me a reasonable excuse why. So I took things into my own hands and called up the Embassy.

Basically, the man who worked the visa section of the Consular section of the Embassy was the biggest asshole I have ever dealt with in my life. Bottom line was that I very nicely asked him when he thought it would be ready-like any normal human being would do and he jumped down my throat saying he didn’t know and I was wasting his time and was screaming at me for no reason. I calmly said is there anyone else I could speak with and he said no unless you speak Arabic-which I don’t and even then he said they wouldn’t talk to me. I continued to explain that I already had bought a non-refundable ticket plus hotel, etc. I said if I didn’t get the visa I would probably lose over $1000. He said, I don’t care if you lose 1 or 100 thousand-it doesn’t matter to me. We can take as long as we want with your visa and because you are bothering me, it will probably be denied anyway. He really said all of this. I have never in my life dealt with such a dick.

So apparently my visa agency had been there each day to try and get it taken care of and nothing happened and they were always given a hard time for no reason. They told me the Algerians were the worst people to deal with and they were right. Not to group an entire nation of people into a small sample size but this is the representation of their nation in our country and they behaved deplorably for no reason other than they are worthless, lazy fucks who sat on my visa application simply because. No reason was given.

After I finally made the decision to pull my passport, the visa agency went there and they gave them a hard time about giving it back to them and they didn’t return the application fee of $100 either which the agency paid and didn’t make me pay which was nice of them and had they asked me for the money I may have exploded at them as I have referred several people to them and used them myself numerous times. However, I do want to say that I really appreciate their cooperation and communciation with me during this annoying situation. So as I sit here in London early on a Sunday morning waiting for my friend Mike to wake up, I have no Algeria visa and am instead going to Tunisia this evening to meet my friend Jake.

The moral of the story is don’t assume anything in my case-that the visa application will be accepted and completed in a timely manner. Also, the Algerians are simply put-the worst people I have ever spoken with and dealt with. I have been to nearly every Arab country and the people and the embassies have always been wonderful, even Syria and Iran of Axis of Evil fame but the Algerians were just the rudest, laziest, most irrational and uncooperative people in the world and I may never go there as a result of how stressed out they made me and how deplorably they acted toward me and my visa agency. I wrote them an email demanding an apology, not because there is any chance I get one but just to see if they even respond which as you may have guessed they haven’t. I am sitting here trying to be as nice as I can about this but I just want to scream still because I am so pissed and they caused me to have to alter my entire plan for no reason.

The best part was that I got a voicemail from the asshole at the agency after my visa service picked up my passport to tell me they did not approve it because it was my agencies fault that they submitted the wrong application, which was total BS because it was the application from the Algerian Embassy’s website. A blatant lie and another example of how awful those assholes were and seriously, nobody goes to that country anyway but with represenation like that-who would ever want to deal with that type of bureacracy and attitude.

Comments

  1. Sounds like a real treat those Algerians. Never met any and also have no interest in going there.

  2. I hate embassies and have had various run-ins so this gets me fired up

  3. I wonder how easy it is for an Algerian passport holder to get a tourist visa to visit the United States?

    Have a great time in Tunisia, a very welcoming, pleasant country — very easy to get around by louage (shared taxis).

    • Well, Algerian are always rejected, unless you have a business and or travelling for business.

      Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be an excuse, I’m of Algerian origin and rest assured I get the same treatment from these assholes, they aren’t like that cos of being Algerians. they are like that because they work for a the state an think they can do anything, you will encounter the same treatment in all Algerian embassies / consulates across the world. and the main reason is that the people that work in these services aren’t qualified nor have any competency, they are there because their uncle or father placed them there (corruption), and this can be witnessed in all State owned / run companies or departments………. If it was a private company or service provider you are dealing with, then you would experience true Algerian hospitality :)

  4. Hey Michael, ya the people here are great as you will see from my Tunisia post this morning. Looking forward to seeing the sites today. Hope all is well with you.

  5. That’s an amazingly awful and ridiculous story! Wow I would be irate as well. I can’t believe they sat on your application for no reason. Not that I ever wanted to go to Algeria but I certainly won’t bother after reading this story.

  6. Katherine Hoffman says:

    So glad to read this (though sorry you dealt with it) because I just went through the same process and found out it was denied tonight. Everyone will surely extract their fees (totally 264$ actually for the ‘expedited’ service). I am livid. Also losing around 1k. The jerk who finally answered at the visa section this week said, when I said that I just want to know if it will be approved or denied, but regardless need my passport to go to other countries — he actually said “It is a privilege not a right to get a visa to Algeria and we decide who gets to go.” My god. And I was even invited to go to an academic conference. I’ll stick to Morocco and Tunisia, thank you!

  7. Ya Katherine, it was a complete nightmare and the guy was such an asshole to boot. Unfortunately I will be trying again soon although I may go through Mexico City or London to circumvent the US Embassy

  8. Yeah, it’s not as bad as you make it sound. I’ve been treated way worse at US Consulates and embassies.

    I don’t think it’s Algerians or Americans, etc. it’s immigration officers in general. When you find nice ones, they are the exception.

  9. MZ, it was that bad…I havent read this post in a while but just reflecting back on that week long experience was a nightmare. They simply had no regard and the guy who spoke English was such a dick. I hada similarly bad experience with the Angola embassy but they did nothing with a smile on their face!

  10. I’ve been reading a few of your posts now that a friend mentioned your site.
    I used to work in Algeria, and travelled in/out every month from South Africa.
    Then I visited there on business from the Netherlands quite often.

    I had the opposite experience with the Algerians, both with consulates, as well as in country.
    Very friendly people.
    In fact when I applied for my first Algerian visa in South Africa, I drove to their embassy in Pretoria from Joburg where I lived.
    And when I submitted my application, the lady asked when I was coming back.
    I said I’d call first to make sure it was ready first.
    When she found I was living in Joburg she asked the consular officer to stamp it right then to save me the trip…!
    Very nice people.
    In Netherlands when I needed to go there right after I was transferred to The Hague I had problems because I wasn’t yet officially resident.
    And Algeria required you to apply from your country of residence, which for me was still South Africa.
    But the visa guy told me the work-around was to apply with a passport issued in the Netherlands: so I got my Canadian passport renewed there (was the quickest one to do it with). And I got my visa the next day.

    I have three nationalities, so I can choose: Canadian, South African and British.

    I even got asked to the Algerian Embassy Independence Day party because I’d applied for a few visas: met the Ambassador and his wife.

    Of course it probably helped that I greeted them in French (the 2nd language of most Algerians).

    I’ve got many many visas from all over for both tourism and business.
    And sure sometimes you meet difficult people but you can always make a plan and get it.
    You need to be polite and somewhat friendly, but don’t overdo it.
    And know the rules, and fill in the forms right.

    It’s all part of being an experienced traveller.
    Some countries are just a real hassle to get a visa for, in fact I think the USA is found to be one of them depending where you are from. And sometimes other countries reciprocate by making it difficult for Americans to get visas there. Or else the officials do on their own steam.

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