Just now I got office where I’m working. I have spent all the morning standing in the queue to the Polish Embassy to apply for a visa. I’d like to write about it, because I feel strong desire to do it right now.
My wife and me decided to have a short break from work and spend a week in Krakow, Poland. We haven’t been there before, but we like such ancient cities with lots of cosy places and architecture masterpieces. Till this morning we had gathered all necessary documents including hotel reservation letter, insurance, photos and application forms. The only problem was that we printed the application forms in incorrect way. Yesterday evening we were filling out the forms, and figured out that we printed each page on the separate sheet. As we don’t have at home neither laser printer nor a xerox, we broke into Ivanka’s office at 7.40 and made there 6(for an emergency purpose) photocopies. The office security was interested in what we were doing, but we pretended that it was conspiracy theory. Then, we swiftly moving through old crooked ways got to the Embassy.
As we reaching the Embassy we were astounded by the number of people standing in the queue. There was a large crowd of people who were standing or walking along the street waiting for the open hours. Fortunately, there are two Embassies which are situated one near another. Another one is a Czech Republic Embassy. Therefore, only part of all people were standing in the right queue. At that time, near 8 o’clock, in the line were standing approximately 30 person. It’s not too many if the Embassy staff works fine. But this day, something was broken in the well tuned mechanism. It was expected that we would pass all procedures till 10 o’clock, but I had to wait until 1 p.m.
Ivanka had to go to work, so after she filled in the application form she left me. I was accompanied by few students who are planning to visit Poland by AEGEE program and a professional truck driver. We were socializing, mainly about Poland and Europe sharing our own experience. It was quite interesting and funny. But queue was moving extremely slowly which disappointed and irritated us. They started to let people in at 9 o’clock and processing around 5 person per hour from our line. The trick was in other entrance, or rather, another stairs. From that side were hanging
cute blonds from the tourist agencies with bunches of applications and well-connected people who trying to avoid standing in the public line. But what is worse, there are lots of swindler near the Embassy who always tries to insert another folk into the beginning. Some of their dummy people, usually old grannies or other loafers who want to earn some money, are standing all the time in the queue pretending that they are reserve place in the line for somebody else. When a swindler found anybody from real Poland visitors who don’t to waste time, and starting from 10$ you get the warm place in the queue instead of any idler who is near the head of the line. Everybody in the line knows what is happening, but only some of them are ready to argue and
to save time for honest people in the line. Another bad thing is that, the moneymaker violate even their rule and try to insert 3,4,5 people instead of one dummy person. It is so offensive to all people to behave like that. It seemed, that the Embassy security definitely knows about that cheaters, but for some reasons don’t pay any attentions on that. I’m not going to speculate on the supposing of any connection between the security and that guys, but I would estimate the behavior of the security as inappropriate towards people in a line. The security guys I’m talking about are Ukrainian soldiers. On the other hand, the Polish man from the security was extremely polite and cheerful. The office workers were excellent too without any complaints.
I can understand travelers who are not from Kiev and have only one day to get the visa. But what is more surprising, all that people don’t pay money to that guys, and exemplary stands in a row. Especially honest poor workers, who have to go abroad to earn some money for their families. There are lots of polite and high moral person. But between that who violates the queue rules always occurs very rude, offensive and bad-mannered individuals. They illegally pays money, push aside everybody, have an argument and irritate everybody. And what’s more important – they waste OUR time. In this simple game that businessman are earning money, that “smart” guy saves his/her time, and we, who came there at 8 o’clock, have to waste OUR time and loose temper. After seeing that, I’m not very surprised when Ukrainians are not welcomed to Europe. We have to learn how to behave in posh, unobjectionable way. Especially in public queues. I think that it is a litmus paper of any society.
If I could suggest to the Ambassador, I would definitely give him some advices how to improve that system. It is obvious that there are people who need an urgent appointment, why don’t improve the system allowing them to apply for money? It would be an organized process which could be managed not by street dealers. Or considering a huge flow of the people between Ukraine and Poland make more available rooms which receives documents.
Now, I’m trying to relax by eating a chocolate and drinking tea.
Some useful advices who wants Poland visa:
- you can apply for your wife/husband, your surnames have to be the same;
- write correct address of the hotel, and enclose a reservation letter;
- photo has to be with VERY large face, > 80%, they scan it;
- don’t panic