Alban's Blog

Visa Trouble

In Mid-February I wrote about my little greencard-theft-desaster and the ensuing trip from hell to the US Consulate in Frankfurt, almost missing my flight etc… Now I seem to be bound to go through exactly the same once more: The greencard, which I “earned” by being married to a Puerto Rican lady with a US passport (well, all Puerto Ricans carry a US passport) was about to expire in September anyway, and since I don’t spend enough days in the US and the center of my life is right now in Berlin, I decided not to attempt to apply for a prolongation but to give it up.

My wonderful US manager Michal Schmidt suggested we’d go with a O-1 Visa (for people with extraodinary abilities – yes, we had to twist some arms to convince the right people…) which would allow me to go in and out of the US without having to apply for a working visa for each concert. The decision was made well over 3 weeks ago, and in order to get it in time we paid $ 1750 to lower the time of the process from 8 months to 2 weeks. This Tuesday the approval arrived at my managers office in New York, she forwarded it via Fedex here to Berlin where it arrived yesterday.

I managed to get an interview at the US Embassy at 7:30 am this morning to have the visa put into my passport. After waiting for almost 2 hours the very nice gentleman told me he couldn’t do anything because the Department for Homeland Security had issued the 0-1 Visa alright, but not posted it onto the internet, which was essential for him to actually put the visa into my passport. He claims the delay is normal, but it means that I would have to wait until Monday afternoon to get the passport back, and our flight (János and me) to Salt Lake City leaves in the morning at 9:50 am. Beside the fact that this morning I almost missed my dress rehearsal (I am playing the 2nd Saint-Saens Concerto with the Konzerthausorchester tonight in Berlin and arrived exactly 9:58 am at the Konzerthaus for the dress at 10 am, stress pure, after racing through Berlin like a madman), I will be late for my duties in Utah (Dvorak with Utah Symphony and skiing with my son and wife – what could be more important than that!!!)…

I am vividly imagining another crazy ride to the aiport on Monday morning: The Embassy grants me the visa plus my passport at 9am in the morning, we jump into a taxi, dash to the airport, arrive there about 25 minutes before departure, and the feeling, once you sit in the aircraft you are supposed to sit in, is absolutely phantastic – I hope it will happen….

But first I will try to do this beautiful Saint-Saens-Concerto justice, it’s a small, but tough cookie, I must admit, and since I don’t have so much experience with it, it’s rather nerve-racking, so I don’t need this visa issues hanging over my head.


  • Maja

    Poor, i know the problem very well.. Just be happy that you don’t have a serbian passport, each trip is a hell with visas and permissions 🙁 good luck and have a wonderful concert!

  • blake

    Does this mean you will not be performing in Salt Lake this weekend? I was really looking forward to it.

  • Alban

    You are right, Maja, I shouldn’t complain about my little problems – poor you with having to go through this every time!
    No, I got the Visa on Monday afternoon, paid a fortune to “change” the unchangeable tickets for Janos and me (1800 Dollars…) and now I just woke up in Deer Valley, ready for some serious skiing 🙂
    Yes, I will play the Dvorak this weekend!
    All best,

  • Jon

    I really enjoyed the performance this weekend! I also loved that you stuck around and performed Ein Heldenleben with the orchestra – it’s always fun to see the soloists to that. Hope you come back to SLC soon.

  • Cozette

    I hope that your family enjoyed Deer Valley. I was thrilled to see your performance Friday night with the Utah Symphony. You were marvelous! How your fingers can fly and instrument sing. It made me smile that you would stay on to play the remainder of the evening taking such a low profile. The cellist seated next to you particularly enjoyed your company as she smiled until final bows. Thank you for a magical evening.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *