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My forced sabbatical

ImageOk, I guess I want to share a little bit more of what’s going on with me now. I indeed am a postdoctoral associate in the US. However, I am not there now. I came to my home country little bit more than an year ago to spend 3 weeks of vacations. What was meant to be fast and simple turned into a nightmare! My visa was denied and I was unable to come back!

What happened was that I had a reckless driving charge on December of 2011. Damn charge! In fact I had that trip booked on January but my lawyer advised me not to travel without going to court. So I waited, went to court, had my “sentence”, everything set up. Then everybody thought it was ok for me to travel, so here I came. At the embassy, they requested a medical exam – what I think is to make sure I am not crazy, drug addict, or something like that! But what happened was that the doctor claimed that he had guidelines from the psychiatric association that the offender could not apply for a visa for 1 year after the offense. Wow, really? Why no one told me that at the Embassy? Or when I was still in the US? Of course I would not have left the country if I know that this could happen.

Anyways, as some time had already passed since my offense, I reapplied for my visa when my “time out” year had passed. Then the Embassy tells me that a person that had their visa denied due to “health bases” cannot ask for a visa until 1 year has passed from the denied medical exam. WHAT??? So again, why no one told me that when my visa was denied the first time to begin with??? Well, there was nothing else to do rather than wait a couple of months.

The good part is that fortunately I always had an awesome relationship with my graduate mentor and I am actually doing lots of experiments in her lab now that look promising. The other good part is that I have an extraordinary boss in the US that supported me every step of this way, and yes I still have a job and I’m still getting my paycheck. I am now in the process of reapplying for the visa (3rd time). I went to the Embassy and they asked for another medical exam. The doctor was much nicer this time (another one). He asked me some actual exams and now I am waiting the results. Hopefully this forced sabbatical will finish soon and with a happy end…

6 thoughts on “My forced sabbatical

  1. Wow. I know of someone else who had a weird denied visa thing when she went home to get married (something about not using real name in US {this sounds shady, but it wasn’t…} and then changing name in home country). She ended up at home for a few months, but nothing like a year!


  2. I’m sorry this happened to you. This is really my worst nightmare: not being able to go back to your house and job and everything that you’ve build for yourself. I’m glad your advisors are so supportive and I hope you’ll get your visa soon!!


  3. I read this post this morning, tried to reply but was blocked by some stupid firewall or something at work… Once I got home I had to rush back to read this post again because I still can’t believe this happened. Hope everything’s gonna be OK soon!!

    And thanks for the warning….


    • Thanks for the kind words, and yes, it’s been such a nightmare that sometimes I can’t believe it’s really happening… Hopefully everything will be solved and very soon I can come back home!


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