I don't have a watch, and without my mobile phone with me I couldn't say exactly what time I arrived at the Embassy. Why didn't I have my phone? Because it said in all of the letters I received that I must NOT take any electricals like mobile phones, mp3 players or digital cameras, so all of those things were in my luggage in the hotel reception. How annoyed was I when the girl in front of me had brought all of those things and was simply given a plastic zip lock bag to put them in? Pretty annoyed actually.
Once through the security checks, which are similar to airport security checks, you go to a reception desk where you are given a number and asked to take a seat. The seats all face two enormous screens which indicate where your ticket number is in the queue. It is exactly like Argos.
It felt like it took years, and my heart was going like the clappers for the whole thing, but eventually my number was called. I went to window one, and the woman dealing with the first part of the process was a little Chinese lady. She spoke very fast and very quietly, so I could barely make out what she was saying. It was extremely disconcerting. Fortunately I just had to hand her various forms in the order requested, and one of my 2 inch square photos. She gave me a scare because I hadn't made photocopies of all of my documents, I said I was sorry and she said "You will be sorry!". Then I remembered that the interview letter had said they could make copies of documents there, she said "Well yes. But it costs a pound for each copy and we don't encourage it!". Then she took my finger prints on an electronic pad, and sent me to pay my processing fee of $380 to the cashier. When I'd done that, she gave me a pink courier form to fill in and my chest x-ray from the medical examination a couple of weeks ago.
And here is my chest x-ray:
Isn't that cool? What other blog gives you chest x-rays? Alien Spouse for all your rib, spine and shoulder blade needs!
Then I had to sit in the waiting room again until my number was called a second time. This was quicker, but my heart was still racing. This time I had a very nice American lady, who I could hear clearly, and she looked at all of my forms.
Doc C had been getting particularly worked up about the tax forms he'd supplied as part of the affidavit of support, but she looked at those and said "Right, because he was living here for a few years". Then she looked at the pay slip and the letter from his employers, and smiled "Give your husband a gold star! He actually read the list of requirements, I've got everything here I need. That very rarely happens first go."
I signed something (I can't remember what it said. The American government wants my first born? Sure!) then I had to give my left hand finger prints again, finally I raised my right hand and swore the statements I had given were true.
Visa interview completed successfully. Assuming those fingerprints don't link me to any major unsolved crimes (which they won't, they never found the man I shot in Reno just to watch him die. Joke.), I'll be sent my passport with the visa inside and a sealed envelope which must not be opened before I give it, along with my chest x-ray, to the immigration officials when I get back to the States. That is actually the final hurdle of this process, so it's not 100% approved yet. It's more like 99.6% right now.
I went to pay for the courier to deliver my passport and visa in the next 3 to 5 working days, and then I left the Embassy. I was originally planning to noodle around London for a bit, but I suddenly felt so tired that I had to come straight home, and go to bed for several hours.