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0417 Getting Travel Documents

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 417: Getting Travel Documents.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 417. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in the beautiful City of Los Angeles, California.

Our website is eslpod.com. Please go there and download a Learning Guide for this episode that contains all of the vocabulary, definitions, sample sentences, additional definitions, comprehension questions, cultural notes, and a complete transcript of everything we say on this episode.

This episode is called “Getting Travel Documents.” It’s a dialogue between Steve and Joyce about passports, visas, and other things that you need to know if you are going to travel to another country. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Joyce: We need to apply for our passports now if we want to have them in time for our trip to McQuillanland.

Steven: I have a passport.

Joyce: Yes, but it expired last year. You need to renew it before you can get a visa. McQuillanland requires a visa and vaccinations before they’ll allow entry into the country.

Steven: Okay, okay, where is the application? I thought U.S. citizens could travel freely in McQuillanland.

Joyce: That used to be true, but their policies have changed. We also need to bring our applications to their consulate in person, with all of the supporting documents.

Steven: Fine. The application asks which visa classification we’re applying for. Should I check student or tourist?

Joyce: Even though we’re taking a language course while we’re there, we’re asking for a tourist visa. We can stay for three months on a tourist visa.

Steven: What are they going to do if we overstay our visa, deport us?

Joyce: Yes they will, and you don’t want to deal with the McQuillanland authorities. They’re not known for being kind to lawbreakers.

Steven: Those McQuillanlanders are my kind of people.

[end of dialogue]

Our dialogue begins with Joyce saying to her husband Steven, “We need to apply for our passports now if we want to have them in time for our trip to McQuillanland.” A “passport” is an official document that you get from your government where you are a citizen that allows you to travel outside of the country; it allows you to go to another country. A passport usually is a small little book that has your photograph and many different pages in it so that each country you visit can put their mark – a stamp – on your passport. Passports in the U.S. for adults are usually good for 10 years. So once you get a passport, you don’t need to “renew,” or get a different passport, for 10 years.

Joyce says they need to apply for their passports if they want to have them in time for their trip to McQuillanland. The expression “in time for” means before something else happens, before something is due. If the party starts at seven o’clock, you need to arrive by seven to be there in time for the beginning. Of course, if you’re here in Los Angeles, you would probably arrive about an hour late. At least that’s what a lot of people here do; they don’t come in time for the beginning of the party, or at the time the party begins.

Well, Steve and Joyce are going to McQuillanland – which is, of course, is a very exciting place to visit! Steven says, “I have a passport.” Joyce says, “Yes, but it expired last year.” When something “expires,” it is no longer good; it is no longer valid. It was only good for a certain amount of time and now that time is over. If you are a student taking a test in school and you are given 30 minutes to complete the test, at the end the teacher might say, “Time has expired.” “The passport has expired” means that it is no longer good, you need to get a new one; you need to “renew” it, to get a new document in place of the old one.

Joyce says, “You need to renew (your passport) before you can get a visa.” A “visa” is a document from another country that gives you permission to enter that country, usually for a certain amount of time. Many people who travel to the United States may need to get a visa, special permission from the United States government that allows you to come to this country. Your passport, then, comes from your government in your country; a visa, if it’s necessary, will come from the government that you are visiting, or the government of the country that you are visiting.

Joyce says, “McQuillanland,” which apparently is a little dangerous, “requires a visa and vaccinations before they’ll allow entry into the country.” “Vaccinations” are drugs – injections that you get to prevent you from getting a specific disease later in life. Here in the United States, for example, all of the babies and young children are given vaccinations against diseases such as polio and the measles. Vaccinations are sometimes required when you visit another country that may have illnesses that you are not familiar or prepared for – or your body is not prepared for. Joyce says you need the vaccinations before McQuillanland will allow entry into the country. “Entry” (entry) is the process of going into another country. “Is this your first entry to the United States?” – is this the first time you have come here? “Entry” has a couple of different meanings in English; take a look at that Learning Guide I recommended for more information.

Steven, who’s obviously not the smart one here, says, “Okay, okay, where is the application (meaning the passport application). I thought U.S. citizens could travel freely in McQuillanland.” The expression “to travel freely” means be able to go from one country to another without needing a special visa or special permission. This is very common, for example, in Europe, where people can travel often from one country to another without any sort of special visa or permission from the government.

Joyce, who is obviously the smart one, says, “That used to be true (it used to be true that you could travel freely), but (McQuillanland’s) policies have changed.” Their “policies” are their rules, their regulations, their official way of doing something. Joyce says, “We also need to bring our applications to their consulate in person, with all of the supporting documents.” A “consulate” (consulate) is a building that belongs to another country where people can get help if they want to travel to that country. A consulate does many different things. In every country there is one main building that is usually in the capital of that country, that’s called the “embassy.” But sometimes in other cities of the country there may be other offices of that country’s government, which we call “consulates.” Here in Los Angeles there are consulates from many different countries, but the main building – the embassies – are located in Washington, D.C.

So, Joyce says they have to go to the consulate in person, meaning you have to each go there; you can’t just mail it in, you have to go to the building yourself. They have to go with all of their supporting documents. These are usually other papers that someone needs to look at in addition to your main application, or your main solicitation. These may include your birth certificate or proof of citizenship.

Steven says, “Fine. The application asks which visa classification we’re applying for.” A “classification” is the type or kind of something. Different countries have different visa classifications. Here in the United States you might be a student, that’s one kind of visa. Or you might be coming here just to visit, that’s another kind of visa. Visa classifications will be different in each country. Steven says, “Should I check student or tourist?” A “tourist” is a person who visits another country for a short period of time, usually just to have fun on vacation; they’re not working or studying.

Joyce says, “Even though (although) we’re taking a language course while we’re there (in McQuillanland, because they must speak a different language), we’re applying for a tourist visa (we’re asking for a tourist visa). We can stay three months on a tourist visa,” meaning with that particular classification they can stay in the country for three months.

Steven asks, “What are they going to do if we overstay our visa, deport us?” To “overstay your visa” means to stay in a country longer than you have permission to, to stay in a country after your visa has expired. Usually that’s not a good idea, especially here in the U.S. To “deport” someone means to make that person leave the country, usually because he or she is not allowed to stay in the country, or perhaps because you have broken the law – you have done something illegal and the country is sending you back to home country. That’s “deporting” someone; the noun would be “deportation.”

Joyce says, “Yes they will (yes, they will deport us), and you don’t want to deal with the McQuillanland authorities.” To “deal with” means you don’t want to have interactions with – you don’t want to be talking to the McQuillanland authorities. “Authorities” are the people who are in charge, often government officials. Joyce says these McQuillanland authorities are not known for being kind to lawbreakers. “Are not known,” here, means that’s not their reputation, that’s not what people think about them. They don’t think that they’re kind to lawbreakers. A “lawbreaker” (one word) is a person who does something illegal, something against the law, someone who breaks the law. So the McQuillanland authorities, I guess, are pretty tough – pretty difficult to get along with.

Steven says, “Those McQuillanlanders (those people who live in McQuillanland) are my kind of people.” When someone says their one’s “kind of people,” they mean they are people that you would feel comfortable with because they have the same opinions and beliefs and way of living that you have. I think the McQuillanland people would be my kind of people!

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Joyce: We need to apply for our passports now if we want to have them in time for our trip to McQuillanland.

Steven: I have a passport.

Joyce: Yes, but it expired last year. You need to renew it before you can get a visa. McQuillanland requires a visa and vaccinations before they’ll allow entry into the country.

Steven: Okay, okay, where is the application? I thought U.S. citizens could travel freely in McQuillanland.

Joyce: That used to be true, but their policies have changed. We also need to bring our applications to their consulate in person, with all of the supporting documents.

Steven: Fine. The application asks which visa classification we’re applying for. Should I check student or tourist?

Joyce: Even though we’re taking a language course while we’re there, we’re asking for a tourist visa. We can stay for three months on a tourist visa.

Steven: What are they going to do if we overstay our visa, deport us?

Joyce: Yes they will, and you don’t want to deal with the McQuillanland authorities. They’re not known for being kind to lawbreakers.

Steven: Those McQuillanlanders are my kind of people.

[end of dialogue]

The script for this episode was written by someone who’s my kind of people, Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2008.

Glossary
passport – an official document that one gets from one’s government, allowing one to travel outside of the country, usually a small book with a photograph of the person and many pages

* Becca likes looking through her old passports, remembering her trips to other countries.


in time for – before something else happens; before something is due

* You came home from work just in time for dinner.


expired – no longer valid, good, or true because something was made to be used only for a certain period of time and the end date has already passed

* My driver’s license expired, so I need to apply for a new one.


to renew – to get a new document when an old one is no longer valid or good; to extend the period of time that a document is valid or good for

* We hope you will renew your subscription to our newspaper so that you can continue to get the daily news.


visa – a document from another country that gives one permission to enter that country for a certain period of time

* When Hanna graduated from an American university, she had to go back to Vietnam because her student visa had expired.


vaccination – an injection that prevents a person from getting a specific disease later in life

* Babies and young children need to have vaccinations against hepatitis, polio, the measles, and many other diseases.


entry – the process of going into another country

* Is this your first entry to the United States, or have you been here before?


to travel freely – to be able to go to another country without needing a visa or any other special permission or documents

* People in the European Union can usually travel freely between its countries without having to show their passports.


policy – an official way of doing something, usually explained in writing

* The company’s vacation policy says that we need to request our vacations at least two months before we want to leave.


consulate – a building that belongs to a foreign country, where people from that country can get help and where people who want to travel to that country can get the documents they need

* Sharon lost her passport while traveling in Slovakia, so she had to go to the U.S. consulate to get a new one.


supporting document – papers that must be seen when one applies for something else

* When you apply to a university, you’ll need to send copies of your high school grades as supporting documents.


classification – a type or kind of something

* The biggest eggs have a Grade A classification.


tourist – a person who visits another country for a short period of time for fun, usually on vacation

* Are you traveling as a tourist or on business?


to overstay (one’s) visa – to stay in a country longer that one has permission to stay for; to stay in a country after one’s visa has expired

* When they overstayed their visa, they had to pay $100 to the government.


to deport (someone) – to make a person leave a country, usually because he or she is not allowed to stay in the country or because he or she has broken the law

* The man was deported and had to go back to his country when the government realized that he didn’t have a passport.


authorities – government officials; people with legal power

* If the authorities find out that you’ve hidden money from the government, they’ll make you pay it all back and more.


lawbreaker – a person who breaks the law; a person who does something against the law; a person who does something illegal

* The company never hires lawbreakers.


(one’s) kind of people – people that one feels comfortable with because one shares beliefs, opinions and a way of living with them

* She knew she wanted to marry James as soon as she met his family, because they were her kind of people.

Comprehension Questions
1. What will Steven need to bring to the consulate to get a visa?
a) Vaccinations.
b) Supporting documentation.
c) Authorities.

2. Why does Steven need to renew his passport?
a) Because it is no longer valid.
b) Because McQuillanland requires a special passport.
c) Because he is changing his visa classification.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
in time for

The phrase “in time for,” in this podcast, means before something else happens, or before something is due: “Did you finish studying in time for the test?” The phrase “to have time to kill” means that one has too much time and not enough things to do: “Do you want to meet for coffee before the meeting? I have time to kill.” The phrase “out of time” means to have no more time available for doing something: “Our radio program is out of time for today, but please listen to us again at 8:00 tomorrow morning.” Finally, the phrase “for the time being” means for a short period of time, or temporarily: “We want to own a home, but for the time being we’re renting an apartment until we can save enough money.”

entry

In this podcast, the word “entry” means the process of going into another country: “Which point of entry did you use to get into Bolivia from Peru: Copacabana or Desaguadero?” An “entry” is also one line of information that a person types into a computer database: “The new employee made a lot of mistakes in her entries today.” In a competition, an “entry” is what a person does, makes, or writes down to participate and try to win: “Please give your contest entries to the people in uniform near the door.” Finally, an “entryway” is the part of a home or other building that one enters immediately after walking through the front door: “Please leave your coat and hat in the entryway and then come into the living room.”

Culture Note
People who travel to the United States from other countries need to make sure that their travel documents are “in order,” meaning that they have all the necessary papers and that they are “current” (not expired). If someone flies to the United States without all the “required” (necessary) travel documents, he or she is not allowed to leave the airport and is sent back to his or her “home country” (the country where he or she came from).

Travelers to the U.S. need to have a “valid” (current) passport from their own country. They also need to have a “visa” (permission from the U.S. government to stay in the country for a certain period of time). Getting a visa can be difficult. People have to go the U.S. “embassy” (official government building in another country) in their own country to “apply for” (ask for) a visa, showing many supporting documents and often paying a lot of money.

Many travelers come to the United States with a student or tourist visa. Other people come with a business visa that allows them to work in the United States for a certain period of time. People who are married or “engaged to” (have said that they will marry) an American might have another type of visa.

When arriving in the United States, travelers need to “fill out” (write information on) an I-94 “form” (an official document that requests information). The I-94 is usually “passed out” (given to people) while they are on the plane or when they enter the airport. The form “requests” (asks for) information about why the traveler will be in the United States and for how long. It is very important to not lose this form, since the traveler will have to show it again when leaving the country.

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - a