|Consulate Review: London, United Kingdom
Review Topic: K1 Visa
|Review Date :
||July 19, 2017
|Embassy Review :
||The building is HUGE. A lot bigger than I was expecting, after driving past all of the EU embassy buildings, which are around the size of a 2 bedroom house.
I walked onto their 'campus' (that's the only word I could think of!) and headed towards the blue tent that was labelled for fiancé visas. I was there an hour before my 1pm appointment, as I'd heard that the line to check in is sometimes very long. But... I was the only person there. The lady at the tent was so lovely and friendly, and told me to go and relax and walk off the nerves for a while, and come back at 12.40pm.
I did, and she checked me in. Again, very friendly, and it was nice to have a reassuring start to everything. This is the stage where you need your appointment letter/email. In her words - "something to show that you've been invited here today". She wished me luck, and directed me towards the security office. They scanned my bag and I walked through a metal detector thing like at the airport, and then I was sent through to the main building. You just follow the signs from there - it's really clear.
Next up is a desk where you check in again. They give you a series of stickers with barcodes on them - all of them are the same number/barcode, but there's 4 of them in total. You're then directed to a waiting room. That bit was quite intimidating, as it was just a very quiet room full of chairs, all facing forwards. There's a huge screen up front that indicated which number (per your sticker) is at which window, and a helpful little 'ping' sounds when a new number pops up. My ears were very quickly trained to jump and look up at that sound. The screen also has a presentation on loop that's really helpful - it tells you which documents to get ready, gives info on passport/visa delivery, gives estimates of turnaround time etc. It also warns you not to give them any additional documentation unless asked, so I would advise you to take as much as you can just in case of follow-up questions during the main interview, but keep everything easily separated so that you can hand things over easily and individually.
I waited around 10 minutes, and I was called up to a window. They're kind of like bank windows - just a screen separating you and the officer, with a wall between each one to give privacy. The officer here was really friendly too, which was calming. He asked for my i-134 and fiancé's employment letter, my passport (which I have guarded with my life for a very long time, so that was weird to hand over), police certificate, and birth certificate. I had so much other stuff such as my fiancé's pay stubs, tax transcripts, bank statements etc, but they weren't requested. He asked me a few very quick questions to confirm my identity, and took fingerprints on the exact same digital scanners that you use at US customs in the airports. He also did a cursory "have you ever been arrested? Ever served in the army?" etc check, but just kind of rattled through the questions quickly - I think he had my file up already. He then asked me to sit back down and wait, and let me know he had everything he needed. He also gave me my medical results on a CD-ROM and said that was all fine.
This wait was awful, as it took an hour for my number to come up again. I was just starting to worry, when the ping sounded and my window number was assigned. This window was in a different row, just a very short walk down a hallway. Again, they're just like windows in a bank. And you can see the entire office working away in the background, which I found quite amusing - I'd put so much pressure on myself for this (you know, the most important day of my life so far), and they were just casually going about their day in the office.
The lady here was another very nice one. I held my DS-160 out for her, but she said she already had my file up and didn't need it. I had to raise my left hand and swear to tell the truth, and then she got into the interview:
- Tell me a bit about how you met, how did your relationship come about.
(Easy, just gave her an honest account of everything. We met on Twitter, so it was a pretty straightforward story)
- And you've both been visiting back and forth? I can see you've visited the US a lot.
(Yep, I told her about my monthly visits, but explained my fiancé hadn't been to England yet. We plan to visit later in the year together, and have a wedding reception in the UK)
_ So you're going to live in the UK?
(Trying to catch me out, I think! I told her no, we were just going to visit a week. We'll absolutely be living in the US, and plan to buy a house there together very soon)
- Tell me a bit about the area where you plan to live
(Another easy one)
- This is the first marriage for both of you, isn't it?
(Trick question again! First for me, second for my fiancé. At this point, she looked confused. I offered the divorce decree from our original i-194 packet - so glad I took that - and just as I was getting it from my folder, she found it on her screen)
- I can see you've got plenty of photos in your folder, and there's a lot in your original petition. I've also got some letters and cards on screen here, so I don't need any more evidence. You guys look very cute and happy. I'm very pleased to say that you're approved. Congratulations, thanks for coming in today.
That was it! I thanked her about 15 times, and made my way back out of the building.