|Senegal|| Review on November 27, 2012:|
|Review Topic: K1 Visa|
The embassy has a turn-around time of less than 24 hours to email inquiries. Getting an appointment is a little cumbersome due to the need for a special calling card. The appointments are given to several people for the same day/same time and you just wait in the waiting room until your number is called. Very efficient process from fingerprinting to interview. I attended my fiance's interiew since we were worried about some "red flags" (age difference,language, religion), but when it came time for the interview, we were just asked a few basic questions in a conversational tone. The interviewer was extremely nice and tried to make my fiance at ease. When he asked if I spoke french, I told him that my french was "Baby french" which immediately prompted his question: "but then how do you communicate?". But he saw quickly that though grammar is nonexistent in my french, communication was not an issue since I "translated" his french to my fiance. I think we all saw the irony that my fiance could not understand "parisian french" (I assume that's what it was, since he has no issue with africans speaking french to him...or maybe it was the american accent?). The questions were basically "How did you propose?" and "How did you meet?", and he ended up asking me some follow up questions in very conversational tone and then told us we could pick up our Visa the following Tuesday once the medical was submitted.
And this brings me to the issues we had...mostly our fault, but hopefully this can prevent another couple to make the same mistake. My fiance did not get the medical done in time. We went after the interview. Xray was completed the same day and we could wait for the result. Bloodtest results took 24 hours and then we went back to Dr. Bahsoun for an appointment with our results. Dr. Bahsoun was kind enough to get us an appointment for the same day due to our situation and sent us on our way with the finished results that afternoon (usually count 5 days for the medical to be complete). The issue was that the embassy required us to call for another appointment just to drop off the medical, and didn't have one available for another 2 weeks. Luckily the receptionist took pity on us and talked to the officer if we could just drop off the medical without the appointment (our flights back from Senegal were booked and I had to get back to work) and they were willing to accomodate us. We picked up the visa the following Tuesday.
On another note, we originally had regular passport photos made, which were not acceptable. The embassy requires larger size photos. There is a photo place a few blocks away that fulfills the requirements, we simply went there and came back half an hour later with the right photos. You will need 2 photos to enter, and 2 photos for your application.
All in all, I was very impressed with the embassy staff and if it hadn't been for our own mistake with the medical, it would have been an easy and great experience.