My Visa was approved at the US Embassy, London yesterday! I thought I’d write a review of what happened as I’ve been asked by friends and family and I know reviews are helpful to other people undergoing the same process.
I got the 2AM coach up to London from Exeter (who needs sleep right?) and was at the Embassy by just after 7am. There were already some eager people queueing outside the embassy at this point and I was about 30th in line. It was a beautiful morning but I was too nervous and full of adrenaline to appreciate it. When the queue starts moving you get your appointment letter looked at outside and then you go through security including a metal detector. As a slim guy I was holding my phone and belt in the plastic bag provided and hoping my trousers didn’t fall down! By 8 I was at the front desk getting given my number, I was I908 meaning the 8th Immigrant Visa applicant of the day. All of the different visa types have different letters meaning it’s hard to judge how long it will take as different numbers get called at different speeds. I sat down in a large room full of other applicants and waited.
After about 15 minutes my number was called and the friendly guy at the desk picked up my file. He collected my passport and photographs and my courier letter and did a fingerprint scan. He didn’t request any extra paperwork as the NVC had already received them from me and forwarded them to the Embassy. I was told to sit back down and wait for my number to be called for my interview. I think this was the longest hour and twenty minutes of my life, the ” I” numbers in front of me seemed to take forever (it was about 20 minutes between each I number coming up) while a steady stream of work visas and non immigrant visas were called. Every time a new number is called up there’s a beep and it was funny watching all the heads look up at the screen and down again at every beep. By the time I was called I was pretty nervous and just wanted it over with having read practically all of the tourist brochures for the US on display by this point!
When my number was finally called I was faced by a friendly American man. I had to raise my right hand and swear an oath that the information I was giving was correct. He asked me how I met my wife, how often I’d seen her and where we’d married. He also said “tell me about her family” and asked about their occupations. These questions are so they can determine whether it’s a bona fide relationship (If you don’t know the names of your spouses family it’s suspicious right?) and I was able to answer them easily. The only unexpected question he asked was “Why didn’t you stay when you married her over there”? I explained that we didn’t do this as arriving in the USA on a VWP and adjusting status is not the right thing to do (and can potentially cause problems) and we wanted to do things the right way. He then asked when I planned to travel and said “I can tell you that I’m going to approve your application, congratulations.” I broke into a broad smile and thanked him. This part only took 5 minutes which seems short compared to other peoples reviews I’ve read but I was very glad for that.
I left the Embassy on a high after my civil documents were returned to me and I was told that my Visa would arrive within two weeks and my first action was to let my wife and the world in general know about the outcome. I then went to find my mum who travelled up with me for support and we went to the Zoo and looked at the animals for a few hours in the warm sun and when she went home I met up with a friend for a few celebratory drinks. After 11 months, my process is finally complete and I can relax a little before the stress of emigrating takes over!