I covered off the application process in this blog post. We then had a timed appointment – 10:30am – to present ourselves at the US Embassy in London for an interview. This meant a very early start from Yorkshire (and a much more expensive train fare as not off peak) but we decided to make a day of it and arrived in London at 9am in good time. We then made our way to the Embassy thinking maybe we could grab a coffee and some breakfast before wandering in at 10:25am – wrong!
As we walked towards the Embassy in Grosvenor Square at 9:30am we could see what we thought was a long queue – wrong again – actually two queues. On enquiry – yes, these were all people queueing to get a visa and all with pretty much the same appointment time. So, sans breakfast and a wake up coffee we joined queue 1 and the rest of the morning till around noon unfolded as follows:
Queue 1 was to just ‘check you in’ – present your joining instructions and to give you a plastic bag for keys, phones and belts. No laptops allowed or (in my case) an iPad keyboard. I was despatched 50 yards up the street to a pharmacy where there was an arrangement, on payment of £3, that they would stop my keyboard until after my appointment. Having done that, and checked in, we joined queue 2.
Queue 2 is for security – the usual airport style affair but a long queue (see photo below) which we eventually went through and then walked in to an entrance to the Embassy where our papers were checked again and we were given a number, supermarket style and went to another room where lots of people were sat waiting for their number to be called. Hot tip – take a brolly – these first two queues are outside and we were in them for about an hour.
So, queue 3 was a fairly efficient process and our number was called in about 15 minutes and we went to a window where they took our fingerprints (all fingers and thumbs, both hands) asked us if we had property in America (no) and why were we going (holiday in a motorhome). Short and sweet but guess what, we were then asked to join queue 4…
Queue 4 was a bit like being in the chairs of despair in Argos. We sat in rows with each row now having a raffle ticket number. A row at a time was then called to join, yu guessed it, queue 5 for yet another window interview.
The blessedly final window asked a few more questions and then told us our Visas were approved and we would receive our passports back in a few days.
I do have to say that at all times the staff in the Embassy were friendly, efficient and pleasant. They had a lot to do and they did it as quickly as they could.
So, that’s it – job done! Departure now set for April 10th.