You don’t need a visa to enter every country. US citizens are allowed in the Schengen area for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. I’m spending 4 months studying in Italy, so yes I’ll need a student visa.
I had to drive to Houston to do an in-person interview, which wasn’t an interview at all. I just sat across from a visa officer, looking at her through a glass window and handing her all my papers. She yelled at me a bit for everything not being perfect. I had printouts of all my official documents, and one of them the signature wasn’t very dark. I emailed the document to her and that seemed to have worked. At least I hope.
Another thing I wasn’t told…. they take your passport. And keep it. Maybe it should have been obvious, but I have never left the country and so why should that be obvious to me? My appointment was tuesday and I leave on friday. I originally had an appointment in May, but the universities would not have all the documents ready for me in time. I received all the documents the day before my appointment after BEGGING the people to do it quicker.
With tears in my eyes and the anxiety beginning to consume me, I told the lady that I needed my passport back on friday because I’m leaving that day. She told me it would be in the mail in a week, but maybe it would be ready by thursday. I’m really lucky for this because I was told it takes 3-4 weeks for this process, which I don’t have. I’m driving back to Houston on Thursday early morning, with my fingers crossed. Hopefully it’ll be ready and I won’t have to change any of my flights.
Update: I ending up driving back to Houston two days later to pick up my visa. Thankfully it was ready and I was able to take all my flights to Chicago and then Europe okay. While I got lucky, I would not recommend doing it with this limited amount of time!