London US Embassy
Strolled over to the Embassy hugging Bill tightly as we walked and I began to feel somewhat better once I was out of Dr Phelan’s. Was expecting a building somewhat grander than the one we were eventually faced with and which looked like a bit of a tip to be honest, though I think that is more to do with all the security around it which resembled a building site.
To get in we skipped the queue and approached the mountain of a security guard with a sense of humour that I really wasn’t in the mood for that morning. After navigating his banter and getting scrutinised because my passport photo is rather GOTH, and I’m not we were able to enter the portakabin that passed as security and go through the security checks. Here, Bill ended up practically stripping as he removed all metal items from his person, including his belt.
Made it through to the front desk where cameras and any other recording devices had to be handed in. Then we were directed up the stairs to the right.
On entering the next room we were temporarily confused. We stood around for a bit wondering what to do because the set up is such that when you enter you can only see one clerk at a desk and he appeared busy. In actual fact when we eventually confusedly investigated further there was actually a row of four counters with people waiting to serve that are located on a diagonal going away from us so they were hidden. Doh.
So, went to an open counter and handed the interview letter across. The guy took it, told us to be seated and he would call us again in a bit.
Thus we sat.
And he called.
The second time at the counter the guy had my petition on his desk and he went through and took all the required documents from me. Long form birth certificate, passport, Police Certificate, 2 ADIT photos and a photocopy of each of the documents. (I used scans and had printed them out so they were colour copies, oh I’m sure that impressed him and made all the difference!). Oh, and all the counters have really high surfaces. You have to stand in front of them, no seats, and the desk must have been up at my chest. Was very awkward and I found getting the documents out of my folder to hand over very tricky when I could barely see what I was doing and was having to fiddle around at that height. Very odd.
Then we had to take a seat again and watch more people we recognised from the medical trickle in and also get confused by the counter arrangement. We could also see people being called up for their interview at another row of counters but unfortunately were unable to eavesdrop too much. Though, did get intrigued wondered what an officer was saying to one couple when he had to raise his voice to get them to go to Dr Phelan’s immediately and seemed to be telling them off for not having all the correct forms with them.
Not very long passed and we were called to interview ourselves.
At the booth I had to swear that everything I told the officer was going to be the truth and then he simply gave me back the originals of my documents and asked a few questions, starting with “How long have you known each other?” He then asked Bill what his job is and whether he liked baseball. I thought the conversation was going to divert drastically here when he asked Bill about the Cubs playing the Braves but I guess Bill had missed that game being in the UK as he was and so he went back to asking me how long we’d known each other, again.
I was also asked how we’d met? (on an online forum for ActionScript), what on earth ActionScript was?, and what I do for a living. (“ahhh, that’s how you could talk about code then” *nods*)
And that was pretty much that.
Finally we had to hand over the Affidavit of Support and was told everything was fine, come back at 12.30 to get the visa, assuming the medical is clear. Cool!
Bumped into Daveyboy again as we were leaving and was able to actually manage a few words his time! My tummy had suddenly started feeling oh so much better! Wished him similar luck for his interview.
Felt incredibly light and spent a fabulous couple of hours with Bill after that. We had a wander through Hyde Park (had ice creams and a laze in the sun under some trees) and found a nice place to have a coffee before we returned to the Embassy all excited like.
I had had to leave my passport with the Embassy and was a little concerned as I had needed it for ID to get into the Embassy, but my fears were belayed when I was told that this time the interview letter would be enough on its own. Heh, as it happened pink hair is rather useful because I didn’t even need that…Mr Comedy at the gates recognised us straight away and sent us through. Strangely his wisecracks were a lot more entertaining when I wasn’t about to be sick with nerves too!
Bumped into Daveyboy again and had a quick chat, he had passed his interview too. Excitedly ploughed back through security and up the stairs to the right only to find the door locked at the top because I’d spent too long nattering. Was surprised to have an immigration officer open it for me, smile and greet me by name! Heh!
Back inside the Immigrant section I was expecting to wait some more or get called up to receive the visa one by one but when I went to let someone know I was in the room he handed my passport, complete with fancy visa sticker inside, and Mysterious Sealed Brown Envelope straight over!
Felt like running out the building quick in case he’d made a mistake! Not sure I could stop grinning! Was very glad I had Bill with me so we could hug and be happy together immediately. Actually, the way I was feeling that day I don’t think I could have done it if he hadn’t been there to hold me together!! Thanks babe.