|Consulate Review: London, United Kingdom
Review Topic: K1 Visa
|Review Date :
||November 9, 2010
|Embassy Review :
Just thought I'd post a summary of my K1 interview experience in London. Had it on the 27th Oct at 9am.
Lexi, my fiancee, was over so was able to attend with me. She certainly helped to organise and calm me down. For some reason, even though we knew there was really nothing they could refuse us on, I was a total bag of nerves and terrified of the Entry Clearance Officer giving me a stern and incontestible "Denied."
As the trains were a total rip-off, we opted to catch the National Express coach from Leeds to London at midnight. At that time it takes 6 hours to get there, with 10 stops along the way. Sure, it saved us a LOT of money, but neither of us managed to get any sleep, so we were pretty groggy when it arrived at Victoria Coach Station. We then strolled up towards Hyde Park and Marble Arch. It was pretty weird to wander around a pre-dawn London. The streets were virtually deserted, even outside Buckingham Palace.
After getting some much-needed breakfast (and taking a much-needed leak) at McDonalds on Oxford Street, we made our way to Grosvenor Square. We soon came to the famous Gould Pharmacy, where we handed over our electronic gizmos for storage and got my passport photos taken. Clearly, they get tons of business from visa applicants as they really had their stuff in order and fixed us up in 5 mins. So, then it was round the corner to the embassy to join the snake line of interviewees outside the security booth. Even just before 8am there were a good 30 people in front of us.
The line moved pretty fast. The officers were pleasant enough and going through was just like going through an airport security check. I hadn't called them to say Lexi was going to be attending, but it was no problem. They checked to make sure she was on my docs as my fiancee, looked at her passport, scribbled her name on my appointment letter, then waved us on.
Inside the embassy foyer, I handed the receptionist my letter and she gave me a number. We then entered the waiting area, which was far more pleasant than I expected. I guess I thought it'd be like a hospital waiting room, but it was more like a hotel lounge, albeit with no tables, only chairs, and a dozen windows off to the side behind which the staff sat. We took a seat and stared like everyone else at the screens, waiting for our number to be called to whatever window.
We were fully prepared for a wait of up to 5 hours, but we were fortunate. Things moved fast and after about an hour our number came up.
A word of advice: make sure you have your interview letter, birth/adoption certificate, police certificate and affidavit(s) of support ready to go. You don't want to be fumbling around in your files and peeving the person behind the glass off. Thanks to my super-organised girl, I was able to give the guy just what he asked for. No questions at this stage; he was just fingerprinting, processing and checking. He was British and very officious. Not rude, just kind of abrupt. Anyway, the only other thing I had to do was pay the $300 fee at the next window, which I did in a couple of minutes by Debit Card. After I handed over the receipt, he told me to return to the waiting area til I was called again.
It took about another hour before I was called again. This time we knew it'd be the interview. Maybe it was lack of sleep or getting step one done, but I didn't feel too nervous at that point. I wandered round, files in hand, to another window where a very friendly American chap took my fingerprints again, made me swear to tell the truth and asked me some questions:
How did you two meet?
When did you first meet in person?
What do you do for a living?
What does she do?
Where are you going to live?
This all sounds like an interrogation and very cold, but this guy was so nice it was like a chat and I wasn't nervous at all so the answers just flowed out freely and accurately. Then he told me that our case was extremely straightforward and we were approved. He gave me a pink form to complete so the courier could send my passport and immigration package to me then sent me on my way with a smile.
I was beaming. I'd have skipped down that corridor had I not been loaded down with coats, drinks and my forms! I told Lexi the good news and we wasted no time in completing the form and handing it over at the DX Courier counter at the back of the hall. We opted for 3-5 working day delivery before 10am. It cost £25. It took a couple of days for my item to appear on their website, but it's there now and scheduled to be delivered on Monday (3 working days).
So yeah, it was surprisingly swift and painless. Walking out of there, I think we both felt a massive weight had been lifted.
We spent the next few hours enjoying the sights of London. Unfortunately, we had a 'mare getting home as there was a crash on Park Lane that brought the traffic everywhere to a near-standstill. The coach was delayed by an hour and took 5 hours to get us home. We arrived home absolutely shattered, but, hey, it's a small price to pay. Now we can finally be together.
Hope all you guys have as easy an experience as us, and a positive outcome.