Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Being a statistics teacher is great because I'm a data scavenger by nature. For example, I've set up a script on my server to scrape the State Department website for the number of days that visa applicants have to wait for their interview at the US consulate in Shanghai and return that number as a single-entry RSS feed. That script has been collecting data approximately once a day for almost a year now, and senior statistics projects are going to start next week so I thought I'd analyze the data as an example. I haven't typed up a full report yet, but here's the raw graphs off of which I'll be basing the analysis:

Downward trend over the past year, with a regression line of the form y = -0.0357 x + 36.098

The same graph done in R, with 95% confidence bands.

As you can see the consulate is showing a downward trend in the average wait time for visa interviews, significant at the 95% level as shown by the confidence bands in the second graph! Congrats to the consulate staff.


At May 15, 2008, 2:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said:

I would appreciate it very much if you could advise on how I can set up visa interview for my parents in the Shanghai consulate. I called from US last week but Shanghai visa center said they would only give my parents interview in Guangzhou or Beijing because there is no interview available in Shanghai. My parents live in Su Zhou, a city close to Shanghai.

At May 15, 2008, 8:02:00 AM, Blogger Micah Sittig said:

I'm sorry, I don't work at the Shanghai consulate so I can only see the same public information as you. As far as I can tell you, if the Shanghai consulate says that you parents can't interview there then they'll just have to go to Beijing or Guangzhou. Which sucks, so I'd call again to be sure. Remember that Shanghai only handles non-immigrant visas, so if you're trying to apply for a "green card" or something similar you're outta luck.

At May 15, 2008, 10:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said:

I can not understand why my parents who are in their late 60s have to travel thousands of miles for just an interview. They are just coming to visit me in US for one month.

Thank you for your kind advise. I will call Shanghai visa center again to see if they are more reasonable this time and allow my parents to be interviewed in Shanghai.

At May 15, 2008, 10:46:00 PM, Blogger Micah Sittig said:

If they are coming for a month only then they just need a tourist visa, nothing more. Make sure the person you are talking to at the consulate understands this. They may have misunderstood you the first time.

Also, remember that the person you are talking to on the phone cannot change the rules that govern the way that the consulate handles different kinds of visas. If it comes down to allowing your parents to interview in Shanghai for a visa that is only granted in Guangzhou, you should probably contact your Congressperson.


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