Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Things that Iranians whose green card file goes to Ankara should know

1) People in Ankara do not speak English.

2) The Unite States immigration office has appointed a laboratory clinic called Duzen, which is located near the embassy, and adjacent to Kugulu Park. NO ONE in this otherwise fancy/modern/shiny clinic speaks English. Not even doctors. They cannot even understand simple words, nor can they produce them.

3) The doctors who are supposed to provide the health report do not speak Persian, but they are the only English-speaking hopes you may have.

4) The medical practice is rather sloppy for the followoing reasons:
- Older parents are given vaccine shots, without proper explanation and consent obtained from the patient. Older individuals have a suppressed immune system (natural to aging) and many shots are unnecessary for them and will produce side effects.
- There are 'translators' who operate visa-tours. The clinic basically puts your passport on a desk in some water-cooler area, and these tour operators have the ability to change orders and advance their own cases, irrespective of the appointment given to the applicant. Because they speak Turkish, they have the upper hand. I am very surprised how people's passports do not get stolen. I assume because the Iranian passport is not a hot commodity, but hey ... shouldn't there be some standard in the way people's private medical files and travel documents handled.
- The receptionists, who do not speak English either, are forgetful. Make sure you demand the health report package. It is a sealed 8x11 brown envelop with the laboratory logo on it. If they fail to give this to you, you are in for another visit to the embassy; quite an unattractive practice.

5) The doctor visit will cost you about 200 dollars (per person); this is because the doctor gives you those mysterious vaccines. Even if you insist for a list of the shots you were given, you will only receive a hand written receipt that says something in Turkish (one line) and the ~200$ written in front of it. For reasons beyond human logic, the receptionist will make you wait 4 days before she writes the receipt!!

6) At the embassy: the doorman does not speak English. At the Interview, the immigration agent does not speak Persian. The immigration officers can be somewhat clumsy, they are in fact VERY clumsy. They contradict the requirements that are mailed to you. Get one of your aggressive children to point these discrepancies at them. If they know you have an English speaker at the door, they will let them in.
7) People who have 'ever' worked for teh Iranian government, even during the shah's regime, are subject to extra 'administrative process'. Their cases will not be resolved immediately and they will be asked to return to pick up the visum.


Now some emotional rant:
I was very sad to be the youngest in the crowd of some 10 older (retired) individuals, having to go through this humiliating process, ONLY for the sake of their children--who happened to be doctors, businessmen, lawyers, professors in the US. None of those people wanted to live in the US for good; they just wanted the green card so that they didn't have to suffer the meat treatment in Ankara or Dubai when processing travel visa application. I was sad when one of those grandmothers told me how the vaccination had messed up her system. I was sad that people who LOVED their Iran were forced to leave, and thus forcing the parents to follow them. I was sad when an older gentleman was exhausted by the inability of the nurses to communicate a procedure to him. I felt his human right was being violated.

This post is for the mighty Iranian-Americans to lobby their representatives to at least simplify the process of wealth- and brain-drainage out of Iran!!! ...

I have stories of young parents migrating for their school age children as well; and how the Canadian banks are facilitating money laundering; but that shall wait for another time.

I HATE Ahmadinejad for doing this to us ... I HATE him.


Veni_1 said...

Dear Naj,

We are working on Improvements Naj the best we can. Please keep me updated on the hard facts of the refugee process in Van and Ankara.

The Iran Information Project

Joanne said...

Thank you for sharing this. Our hearts are with you.


Horace Jones said...

It is a shame to hear of the communications issues at the medical office. One of a doctor's primary jobs is to communicate with the patient to determine what is wrong. If these people are looking to get a green card visa to the US, the eb5 program is the fastest option.

Anonymous said...

I hope you get to immigrate to the USA and see for yourself how sloppy their health care system is. Plus, the doctor's office in Turkey is there to serve the Turkish people thus they don't have to be English speakers. Since people from Iran are being sent there, they could possibly have hired one person who spoke Persian.

Naj said...


You have a good point; either way it is the responsibility of the strong and wealthy Iranian community in the USA to get the american government to facilitate these things for their relatives.

Turkey has no responsibility in this, other than taking advantage of the stupidity of Iranian/American governments :)