|Papua New Guinea|| Review on June 10, 2006:|
|Review Topic: K1 Visa|
Because there is no US embassy or consulate in his country, my (then) fiance had to go through the US embassy in neighboring Papua New Guinea for his K1 visa, which in many ways complicated the process and certainly made it more expensive. Fortunately the embassy's consular staff, from their consular agent in the Solomon Islands to the consular officer and her consular assistant in Port Moresby, PNG were extremely helpful, flexible, and promptly replied to all emails requesting assistance or information. The consular assistant, for instance, provided hotel recommendations and also called the PNG police headquarters requesting information on police clearance procedures in PNG for us. (My fiance had lived in PNG for two years, so he needed a police clearance from there.)
Rather than schedule a formal interview, the consular officer simply told us that my fiance could show up at the embassy on any Tuesday or Thursday between 9 am and 11 am for his interview. So once he had done everything he could in the Solomons (police certificate, medical examination), we bought a plane ticket, and he flew to Port Moresby. He still didn't have his PNG police clearance, since the police headquarters simply did not respond to a mailed request for a police clearance using their form and supplying official police fingerprints and the appropriate fee. So my fiance ended up getting the run around from the police ("we don't work on police clearances on Wednesday, check back tomorrow", "we can't copy anything because our copier is out of ink", etc.), and the advertised 24 hour service took the better part of a week.
When my fiance finally arrived at the US embassy on Tuesday, December 20, 2005, however, the security guard refused to let him in! I had anticipated this possibility and supplied him with an email from the consular officer (saying come any Tuesday or Thursday for the interview) along with the embassy's phone number. The guard escorted him out of the embassy before he could produce the email, so my fiance had to leave the embassy, find a phone (he begged at a police station), and call the embassy to apprise them of the situation. I think he reached the acting consular officer, who was furious and promised to take care of it, because when he came back that tough security guard was very apologetic and accommodating and even gave him a hug.
Once he reached the consular area, my fiance had to sit and wait for a while; he ended up being the last interview that morning. He found it bit unnerving as he sat and overheard the consular officer summarily deny visas for two Filipinos and a Kenyan. This consular officer was not the one we had been corresponding with for months by email, but rather a substitute brought in during her absence. He came from a US embassy or consulate in Japan, and he was tough.
So when they finally called my fiance up to the counter, he was met with smiles from the consular assistant who had been answering so many of our emails. She was ready for him, since I had advised by email that he would be at the embassy that day for the interview, and had three binders full of "evidence of ongoing relationship" that I had shipped directly to the embassy. The consular assistant helped get his paperwork in order, and then it was time for my very nervous fiance to be interviewed by the consular officer on the other side of the glass.
The following questions were asked:
Which countries have you lived in for more than 6 months?
How long were you in NZ? (It was just under 6 months!)
Where did you meet your fiancee?
How did you meet her?
Where does she work?
How long has she been at this job?
What did she do before that?
When is your wedding day?
Where are you and your fiancee going to live?
How many times have you and your fiancee physically met?
Did she came to your country?
By the end of the interview, the consular officer was smiling, which was apparently a good sign. He told my fiance that everything looked good and the visa was pre-approved, but he needed some time to put it together. My fiance thought that meant two or three days, but they told him to come back between 2 pm and 3 pm to pick up his visa! As he turned to leave, he must have had a look of utter astonishment on his face, because the consular officer laughed and said "You can't believe it!"
So my fiance rushed off to an internet cafe, found me on line, and relayed the good news via instant messaging! He returned to the embassy at 2:30 pm with no objections from the now friendly security guard and picked up his visa. The consular assistant also turned over the three binders full of evidence of ongoing relationship that I had sent to the embassy for the interview. Though the consular officer did not look at them during the interview, nor did he request any other type of evidence, it is possible he reviewed them prior to the interview.