Friday, September 9, 2011

Guest Blog: Interview at the American Embassy in London

Finally had my K1 fiancé(e) interview in London, and I got through unscathed, phew!

I knew the appointments were really done by the 'block', so even though it was for 9am I went on the train early in the morning and ended up at the embassy at 7. There was a queue of people even then! After getting something to eat and coming back at about 7:45 they were starting to let people in, so I joined the queue and got in the building not long later (it was scary seeing the police patrolling with guns. Living in a rural area we just don't see that). I was given my number, which started with I. I've read on these forums before how much more frequent N ones seem to be, and it's true - for every one I there were about twenty-five Ns called out. Not sure what that's about... Maybe I is for K1 rather than spouse, or maybe it's luck of the draw. Considering I'm kicking myself I didn't get married and then applied for a spouse visa, I hope that's not the reason .

Eventually my number came up on the screen and I went to the booth. The man was English but really hard to understand, what with the general hubbub and other factors. Asking him to repeat things four times was embarrassing and I ended up pretending I was a little deaf! Anyway he asked to see my embassy receipt and passport, and took the latter away for a few moments. When he came back he did a quick scan of some of my forms, asked if I'd ever been in the military, taken drugs, etc. I didn't hear him properly on a couple but he didn't question anything that I said so I guess I 'passed' that bit. He got me to do my fingerprints though it took a few attempts as apparently I had to push my fingers down with the other hand. He also wanted to see my police certificate, birth certificate, the affidavit of support, W2s and the latest IRS paperwork (just the one year). I brought SO MUCH in my folders but I barely needed 10% of it. I'm glad I did though, because it's better to be safe than sorry. Still, when I first went into the building I knew I'd overkilled based on everyone else, heh.

I'm really surprised he never questioned the online DS-156 duplicates. Mine had 'expired' in the top right corner even before the interview (I had no choice since it hadn't been updated until a month ago). Now, I knew that it didn't mean they were no good, but even so people on this forum have said before they were told they could re-write them out there and then with newer editions. Not one word was said with mine though, so I didn't need the re-done ones I had in my folder as back-up.

He handed me my fiancée's birth certificate. When she did the petition originally for some reason she sent the original [Amber:  the reason being Adam told me he read somewhere they would not accept copies so I HAD to.] and then complained she never got it back. Well, I've got it now! He also gave me an open white envelope which later I saw just contained a CD from my medical. I didn't hear him properly so am not exactly sure why I've got it or what's on it. He said it could be used as part of my US medical records or something, I'm not sure. Maybe it has a copy of the x-ray scans on? I've read before people are given back the actual scans when entering America, so maybe they're in the brown envelope you're given. Eh, whatever. Crossed fingers they weren't meant to be in the envelope I have now!

The man said to fill out the pink courier form and then wait for my number again, for the interview part. He wished me luck and I went back and did so and then waited... and waited. That took the longest - about forty-five minutes. Finally I went back up and this time had an American guy who was REALLY friendly. Seriously, I mean obviously as long as I didn't say anything out of place he was happy enough! He got me to sign that form you leave until a consular officer observes you (as you can tell I can't currently remember which one it is) and then asked how I met my fiancée. I thought he'd want dates and specifics, but nope. He then sifted through the forms and paperwork and smiled at the photos my fiancée had sent - one of them had us either side of a (fake) dolphin at the Boston aquarium, and he joked anybody that's in a photo with a dolphin gets free entry into the US. He even then went and showed his colleague it! Nice guy . After that I had more fingerprints taken, and then after handing back my original birth/police certificates (but obviously not my passport) he said the process was done and I'd passed or been accepted (whatever the term is) and to take my pink form to the courier desk to pay for it. He told me the passport would come in a white, plastic-y material but not to open the brown envelope as that's to take to America, which I knew.

The main waiting area was really busy by now (at a guess I'd say it was 11:20am) so I was pleased I was practically done and dusted. I went to the courier desk and she said it would take 7-10 days, and I'd need proof of identity like a bank statement, since I don't drive. I paid £36 for the early 6-8am time slot (there's also 8am-10am, and at a guess 10am-12 noon? Each is cheaper than the next) and was told they'd text me when it was going through.

That was it! I walked out feeling happy that for once there were no issues, and proud that I handled such a busy, bustling place with my Aspergers. Also exhausted since I'd slept little the night before and knowing my train wasn't going back home until 7pm, eek. I ended up sleeping in a pub, hah. Probably looked drunk!

Anyway, I came home from work tonight and saw on my phone a text was sent to me at 3:50pm. It was from the courier and it said I can expect the package at the specified time this Monday! Wow, I really didn't expect it so soon! I'm also pleased because it means there's no issue as the passport will have already been stamped and the brown envelope sealed.

Hope that was useful for anybody about to go through it. I know it's complete luck which people interview you but really if you have all the relevant forms and they're correct then you'll be fine - it's just all the waiting. When I left the building my parents were there to greet me and they said some guy that went in before me came out and told his partner he didn't get accepted "again" (!) because he lied on his form. Huh!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, maybe this K1 visa checklist can also help with you Blog reader


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