Prepaid Calling Cards: a great way to watch your budget
the same time
cheaply talk with your fiancee. These services provide you a toll-free
access phone number and a personal identification number (PIN). To make
a phone call, you dial the access number and then enter the PIN. An
automated voice will ask you to enter the phone number you are calling,
and tell you how much time you have left. You get AMAZING cheap
for your international long distance calls.
But BEWARE! when it is time to demonstrate to immigration you have a sincere genuine relationship
most calling cards are not worth the plastic they are printed on.
As expressed by the US consulate in Guangzhou China in their recently updated Packet 4 instructions, (the info packet they provide just before an interview), "Calling cards, without an itemized list of calls made using the cards, will NOT be accepted."
My guess is, those consular officers were plain tired of the frequent arguments they had with applicants, having to explain that a pile of dead calling cards, or handful of calling card purchase receipts DOESN'T PROVE ANYTHING. If there is no specific record that the phones which were connected were yours AND your fiancees, then there is NO record. There is NO proof.
In fact a Full Fiancee Visa Support client of mine with a fiancee in Thailand, had known the gal for five years, and had carefully retained every phone bill for all those years. But he used a calling card too. The only thing that his detailed five years records demonstrated, was that every day he called the access number of his calling card service. There was no proof at all where the calling card routed his call. It could have been to Thailand, could have been to his fiancee, but it could have also been to anywhere or anyone else.
Why are these calling cards not accepted as proof of contact? Well, a tricky person could buy a calling card, and claim he used it to call "Ms X" when he really used it to call "Ms Y". Or he could buy cards and resell them to friends, retaining the original purchase receipts. Dead cards or receipts do not show how the cards were used.
Rejecting calling cards that do not provide itemized records, is not only a policy of the Guangzhou consulate. It is the policy throughout the State Department. Guangzhou just had too many unpleasant scenes, and was frustrated enough they decided to post the policy specifically in their interview instructions.
What to do? Use a service that lets you keep detailed calling records. There are plenty of cheap long distance calling services, and some of them provide itemized usage records. Shop around.
I did. I checked out dozens of services from a google search. And I was AMAZED at what I found. Almost NOBODY wanted to provide a useful call log. They gave bogus answers like "we can't do it because of privacy issues". "Contact us and speak with an operator and she will tell you the number you called". " Send a certified letter requesting the information". "If we receive a subpoena we will provide the information". And best, "for $200 we will provide you with your last year's call re cords".
So I was surprised to find that the service I currently
out from the crowd because it provides this information. And this
information is necessary for proving you have been calling your fiancee
regularly. The service I use and recommend is called LD-Peanuts
offered by LDPost.
It is cheap, prepaid, you buy in chunks of $20, AND you get access to their website, where you can view the last 60 days of call history. The history shows the number you called from, and the number you spoke with, the date, time, and how long you spoke. What you should do is log in every two months and print out a copy of the call history page and save it for when you apply for your fiancee or spousal visa.
You pay online with a credit or debit card and it buys
you a ton of
time. Calls cost US to China 1.7 cents a minute, to
cents a minute, to Thailand 1.8 cents a minute, to Vietnam 7.5 cents a
minute. There are no connection fees, and there are competitive cheap
rates for the rest of the world too. You can make calls from
by calling a local access number. And they have local access in most
countries. You can even give your fiancee the pin number and she can
call the local access number in her country and call you. And
call made would be listed on the history page of your account. Just
regularly print out the history, and you have clear proof that you and
your fiancee or spouse talked regularly.
Another of my
Full Fiancee Visa Support
clients went to visit his Fiancee in Morocco. He took his cell phone
with him. He ended up with about $2,000 in roaming charges. If he had
signed up for LD-Peanuts the same calls would have cost him less than
Make a long distance call from your mobile phone or any other phone at extremely low rates without switching your long distance company
Peanuts-LD prepaid dial-around long distance is designed for customers who do not want to switch a long distance carrier and do not mind paying upfront. You will dial an access number and then, after the prompt, will dial the destination number.
Prepaid telephone service provides maximum flexibility by allowing to call from mobile phones, home phones and even some business phones. You can have up to 20 telephone numbers registered on a single account and share the minutes.
Learn more about Dial-Arround Long Distance
By Fred Wahl