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Losing your passport and F1student visa in the US

Losing your passport in a foreign land is certainly not the best thing to do; you will successfully get into a pretty messy situation if you ever do so, and I know quite a lot of people who have done so. So, listen to your parents and before leaving Bangladesh make three photocopies of all your important documents; keep one copy with your parents at home, one copy in your luggage and one copy in your carry on luggage, and once you reach your destination make and keep another copy with your institution's administration. By some miracle of God, I had actually listened to my dad for once, and had done so, which really saved me. Yes, I had lost my passport in the US and had to go though a hell lot. So hold on to it with your darling life!

Now suppose you do happen to lose that green booklet for some reason, or it gets stolen. First rule: Don't panic and stay calm! There are documents you have to get ready in a very short time, so forget all your dates and get to work! Oh and pray that you have cash in your bank account. You'll be spending almost 500 dollars on this; no, I am not even in the mood to joke! The entire process will take around 2 months so you will be stuck in the US till then, so be patient. You will basically have to go through three stages:

Stage 1: Police GD Report
Photocopies of Passport and VISA: Remember those photocopies you made. Well, get one set of them quickly. If you do not have it yourself, ask someone to fax them to you in some store nearby, such as Staples. Mailing often takes too much time. You will need to show this to the police when you file your report (see below).

Social Security Card: Even if you don't have the card or a photocopy of this, you will have to give the number to the police, so memorize it or write it down somewhere safe and secure.

Letter from Passport Office: This is kind of annoying and usually takes the most time. You have to contact the passport office in Bangladesh and get a letter from them saying that you contained the lost passport (with passport number, issue and expiration date) which was genuine and you had lost it or it got stolen (as per your situation). The police will not file a report without this. Ask one of your friends or relative in Bangladesh to do this for you. Keep bugging the passport office about this everyday so that they get it done quickly and ask your friend to send it to you by fax. Make photocopies and have fun suffering during the wait.

Photocopy of I-20 and Status letter from College: The police might also want to see these, so get them; better safe than sorry!

Police GD Report: Go to any nearby police station and report your case as soon as you have all the mentioned documents ready. American police are very different from Bangladeshi police and they will most likely want every single detail of how, when, where you lost your passport. They will drill you for a long time till you get them convinced that you are a genuine student and you genuinely lost your passport. File it and get the receipt of the GD report. Without this your new passport or your VISA will not be re-issued.

Stage 2: Getting the new Passport and I-94
Issuing a New Passport: As far as I know, Bangladesh Consulates, where you will be issuing the new passport, are available only at Washington DC (http://www.bangladoot.org), New York (http://www.bdcgny.org), and Los Angles (http://www.bangladeshconsulatela.com). Bad news for you is that since you have lost your passport or it got stolen, you will have to go there in person to issue a new passport. This can get really expensive buying the flight tickets if you live somewhere far off. Otherwise you could have used the mail-in-service to issue the passport. Nonetheless, visit the closest consulate and check out their website for their rules and requirement; sometimes they differ.

You will be needing: (1) Completed passport application, available in website (2) 4 passport size pictures, so start clicking early (3) Cash of $110 (15 day delivery) or $165 (3 day delivery) payable to the Consulate General of Bangladesh in the form of a money order or bank draft or certified/official check. (4) Photocopy of lost passport with VISA (5) Photocopy of Police GD Report. (6) Signatures (required on the application) and photocopies of valid passports of two attesters holding Bangladeshi passport pray that you know Bangladeshi passport holding people nearby, or else this may turn out to be quite a hassle!

One more bad news: you will be issued a new passport with only 1 and half year validity. So it is advised to get a new 5 year validity passport once back in Bangladesh before re-applying for the VISA. Don't ask me, it's the rule!

Issuing a New I-94: I-94 is the little piece of paper that is stapled to your passport when you enter the US that acts as your Non-Immigrant Arrival-Departure record. If you have lost your passport, you have probably lost this also, and you have to apply for a new one, and hopefully you have a photocopy of this too. Don't worry you can do this by mail. This falls under the duty of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). You will be need to fill up a I-102 form available at www.uscis.gov or www.dhs.gov (just type in I-102 in search) and also you will need to give $160 by check. Different states apply to different offices of the DHS specified in the form, so be sure to check the address before sending. Also attach a photocopy of your previous I-94, your passport with VISA and the police report, with the form when you send the package. The processing may take up to 2 months depending on the busyness.

Congratulations! You now have all the documents necessary to come back to Bangladesh. But before that, you better collect the following documents which you will need when you apply for your new VISA: Status Letter from College, I-20, Police GD Report, Photocopy of Lost Passport (with VISA and I-94), Photocopy of new I-94, SEVIS Receipt (you will NOT need to pay the SEVIS fee again), Social Security Card, W-2 Wage and Tax Statement (if any), Financial Aid Letter, Transcripts and Payments, College ID.

Stage 3: Issuing a New VISA
Remember the DS-156, DS-157, DS-158 and the questionnaire forms? Well, they are back. Get them from Google (or email me at adnanfakir@yahoo.com and I'll send them to you) and re-fill them up with latest updates. This shouldn't be that hard but annoying. Getting a new passport with 5 years validity will make things a lot easier for the future. Take the completed forms along with your passport, 2 copies of your passport sized photo, and a photocopy of the I-20 form (you will not need to submit the SEVIS receipt here) to Saimon Overseas at House#4A, Road#22, Gulshan-1, Dhaka-1212, Ph: 9893964, as before with Tk.7340.

On the day of the interview, same rules apply: Don't be nervous and be honest. Take all the aforementioned documents which the consulate may or may not wish to check. Also take along the Financial Statements you showed to the embassy last time you applied as proof that you have payment for the remaining years of study. Normally, they will not want to see too many documents but will certainly be curious how you managed to do the disaster that you did. Yet again, better safe than sorry!

Like before, if your intentions are all right and all documents are properly arranged and in order, there should be no problem at all. The only tough thing is going through all of these again, the waste of lots and lots of money, time and effort, and the continual mental pressure on you. There is definitely a lot of running around to do. For me, losing the passport and going through all these was certainly unpleasant, but quite an experience, which I am sure, that no one wants to go through. Nonetheless, these are issues that everyone going abroad should be aware of, because I was completely lost. Hope this helped in clearing things and DON'T lose your passport!

By Adnan M. S. Fakir

Graded discriminatory- RSRB (Rising Stars ratings board)

Our lives are ruled by quite a lot of things. Traditions, customs, parents, boy/girlfriends, corrupt dictators, and so on. However, for us teenagers, one of the most affecting rulers are Grades. That's right. School grades, I mean. The sort that has letters A to E, and U, whereupon A is Alright or Amazing (depending on who you're dealing with), E is Eww, and U, the letter, is… simply Unclassified. For a lot of us, grades couldn't matter less, if not for our parents. For another bunch, it's nice to get good grades. And for others, it's “A grades or die trying”.

One of the side effects of Grades existing, is the existence of discriminations regarding it. And now comes an attempt to orderly form it into a sensible order of orders.

A Discrimination
There is, sometimes, a tendency in parents to make sure that their child is a straight A student, regardless of the costs involved from the child's POV. These costs can be of a varying degree, but generally it involves the exclusion(s) of a) a social life, b) free time, c) freedom itself, d) grades that aren't A, or e) all of the above and more. Conditioned from birth to believe that good grades are the foundations of (good) life, and pressured intensely throughout most of their growing lives, these children literally have no choice but to know about nothing other than studying their souls out in order to achieve As (which, by the way, some of us get with one single night of reluctant hard work).

The discrimination in this, is this- They are generally held to be the perfect human beings, with straight A records straighter than light rays; they are infallible, they are the epitome of goodness and light. They are divine and they are incapable of failure, always right, never wrong. They are also the damned pains in the rear for those who are NOT all these things. At any rate, the gist is this- they are not expected to fall. It is outside the bounds of the teachers'/parents' imagination. However, very much within the bounds of the child. It's easy to go to the top. And when you're there, there's no way to go but down. More often than not, down is not an option. They never do go down. But, once in a while, for one unfortunate reason or the other, it does happen. They do fall. And, oh, how they fall…

It's not always like that, though… Things change. Seasons change. Perspectives change. And then more things change. And sometimes… they break free of the enforced illusion, and take control of their lives. And, of course, there are always exceptions. Where would we be without them, eh?

B Discriminated
If you aren't an A grade student, you are… something slightly less human. You are a side effect of the human evolution, and in the eyes of the Graders, you are… merely tolerated. Perhaps, for amusement, perhaps to show that, yes. B grades and below- they aren't mere myths, they do exist.

Some of them get by, though. They know that grades aren't everything. And some adults realize that, too. When they do, they cut the Bees a little more slack. They realize that these students are also human. Like them. And like all human beings, they're prone to failure. They are, in fact, NOT infallible, and can never be.

Getting A grades are all fine and dandy, you know? But, B's not bad. B's definitely better than C, right? And C? Well, C's cool, too, if you've tried your best. That's all you can do. Try your best not to get a D.

And while we're on the subject, D's… well, D's nearly damnable… You should have paid more attention to class, be a bit more forethoughtful. If you don't get good grades, the future wouldn't look so bright. Try to stay as far from E as possible. E's… eccentric, if I am to be positive. But, in all honesty. It's pretty bad…

C more discrimination?
And then there's always the bad blood between the students from English Medium Schools and Bangla Medium Schools. Concerning this, there's a significant amount of reactions and opinions, in the parts of parents and students. More than once have I heard the line “Bangla medium students have a stronger base than you English Medium students, do.” This observation is founded upon utter groundlessness. There are quite a lot of other similar viewpoints, insulting and discriminating to both sections of the academics, and most of them equally groundless, and sometimes stupid. There's a stereotyped view out there that Bangla medium students don't know how to speak proper English, and often, there's a consensus among the two groups, that the other bunch are inferior. Once again, groundless and stupid. Prejudice breeds prejudice.

There should be some sort of an international law against 'Grade Discrimination'. There are stories told about how students who on the off chance does slightly worse than usual, and rather than facing up to it, decides to take their own life. Is it really that shameful to get something other than an A grade. Do B graders not get by? Some of the most genius and impact-making people never even received a proper education. I mean… Sheesh… some of the 'greatest leaders' of our time didn't even pass college.

And yet, here we are, allowing grades to be a major deciding factor in our lives, letting it tell the tales of our lives, rather than telling them ourselves. Do they really mean so much? Yes, but only if we want them to…

By beb-E



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