|Finland|| Review on December 16, 2021:|
|Review Topic: F-2A Visa|
I had had my medical exam at Eira Hospital exactly two weeks before the interview date and I had been told to pop in before my interview to pick up two envelopes before my interview: one to take to the embassy and one to keep with me for when I enter the US. Normally with my visa type, the medical exam results get transferred to the embassy electronically but I had had a chest X-ray done a week before the green card medical exam for an unrelated reason so my process went a bit differently and I ended up with a physical results package which I needed to take to the embassy (Dr. Anna Back was lovely and had informed someone at the embassy to make sure everything goes smoothly). The hospital is an easy walking distance from the embassy so I went there about an hour before my interview. Before that, I had also picked up a return envelope from the Posti in Kasarmitori to take with me to the embassy. I had stayed in Helsinki overnight which I think was a good decision so that I didn't need to travel in the morning.
In the interview invitation email, my appointment had been scheduled for 1:30 P.M. but I had emailed the embassy to confirm my appointment (which the instructions said you needed to do but wasn't actually necessary) and they had told me to come at 12:30 instead. I got to the embassy about 20 minutes before my appointment and I'm glad that I didn't get there any earlier because once you let the officers at the gate know that you're there, you need to wait outside, and it was a really cold day. There was one family of three before me who got to go to the airport-style security check before me. I only had my documents (including passport), a photo album and a few necessities (phone and power bank, wallet, lip balm, hand cream, hand sanitizer, tissues, and a snack) with me in a canvas bag. I turned off my phone and left everything but the documents, photo album and my coat with the guards.
I was guided to another building where I took a number ticket before sitting down in a waiting area. Only the family of three was there with me and I was glad I had my coat because the room was really cold (or maybe I was just really nervous). First I was called in just to hand in all my documents (passport, one photo, DS-260 confirmation page, English birth certificate from DVV, the medical exam envelope, criminal record certificates, copy of my husband's green card, his latest tax return and W-2s, I-864 Affidavit of Support, and our California marriage certificate). I had taken copies of everything but only originals were needed. The documents person was the person the doctor had been in contact with, and he spoke Finnish, as had everyone else up until this point.
After waiting a little longer, watching CNN news, I was called in again, this time for the interview. The interviewer was the first and only English-speaking American I had come into contact with that day. I had prepared for all sorts of personal questions but I was only asked:
- when we got married (she was looking at our marriage certificate)
- if I lived in the Helsinki area
- if I've ever lived anywhere else but Finland and the UK (these are the countries I had criminal record certificates for)
- if my husband is a LPR and not a citizen yet (looking at his green card copy)
- if we've been living apart this whole time
- when I'm planning to go to the US
The whole thing was very casual, I replied quite briefly because it felt like she wasn't expecting any long stories, and she wasn't interested in looking at my photo album in which I had collected photos of us in different places and with different people throughout our relationship pre- and post-marriage. She said that everything looked good and I had to confirm that this meant that this was it. I gave her the return envelope and she said I would be getting the passport with the visa and all my documents in the post in 1-2 weeks.
The experience was very positive, everyone was very friendly and it took a bit over an hour. There was no reason to be as nervous as I was. :D