|Consulate Review: London, United Kingdom
Review Topic: IR-1/CR-1 Visa
|Review Date :
||October 22, 2012
|Embassy Review :
||My wife decided she wanted to attend the embassy with me so we arranged for her to visit for a holiday as well. We had plans if approved for me to travel to the U.S on the 29th August 2011 via Dublin.
I booked a hotel outside of London center so that we could get to the embassy relatively early and refreshed, but we did not envisage the riots that were taking place nationwide, however they did not affect us at all, we saw signs of rioting, but we were not affected, just as well as her family were a little bit concerned as it had reached international headlines.
On the morning of the interview we got a taxi from the hotel to the embassy which cost around 20 pounds and were in the park outside the embassy by 6:30ish and were first in line by 7am, just after we got there, it started to get busy with officials setting up the bollards and desks ready to check peoples paperwork prior to entering the security segment.
Our paperwork was checked and were sent through to the security gate to be checked. No phones, cameras or key fobs with chips in them were allowed, basically it was like going through the airport.
Once through security we made out way to reception where my passport was given a sticker of I901. I being immigrant applicant and XX1 being the first one to be called under the I section, not sure what 90 stood for, but once she checked the interview invitation and placed sticker on my passport we were asked to go up a few steps to the waiting hall. We got in and settled down all the time thinking what I could be asked, but wasn't nervous, just wanted it over and done with so we could enjoy our time together whatever the outcome!
I think it was 9am when they started the boards calling people to the desks for interviews, I-901 popped up and was asked to go to a desk out of view from the main hall where my paperwork was checked again by a middle aged man, neither happy or grumpy, but in a serious mood and asked if I had my medical file with me? I said no as this had been done early in June and that they said they would send my file to you, he went away to see if it was there and came back, much happier than he was when he went to check. He the asked me when I had plans to go to the U.S? Told him end of August around the 29th. He took my passport and relevant documentation and gave me the x-ray cd back from the file and said I would need to keep this safe for when I entered the U. and said to be seated and that I would be called again shortly. This took just a few minutes plus the 5 minutes it took for him to find my file, after getting the CD I was dwelling on his words of " You will need this when you enter the U.S" Had a decision already been made and the next step was just a formality? I was not sure and didn't want to speculate anything at this point.
About 30-40 minutes passed and I-901 was called for the interview, again around the corner out of sight of the main hall this time a very polite,courteous and somewhat bubbly American woman greeted me with a smile which immediately put me at ease.
She asked me to raise my hand and swear to an oath that everything said and submitted was true after which she asked me the following questions;
1..How did you meet?
A..Radio station site which I was a co-owner, she was surprised thinking it was WOW or dating site
3..Did you have a big wedding?
A.. not big and not small, about 120 attended the service and 50 or so attended our reception, I have some photos if you would like to see them? She declined and said it wouldn't be necessary.
4..Does your wife have any children?
A..Yes, she has 3 and all grown up!
5..What ages are they?
Still smiling all the way through this she really gave me the confidence in not being nervous and just reeling off what she asked....
After I had reeled of my wife's kids ages, the CO said. " I have no problem in approving you! To which I replied thank you so very much!
She was awesome, I couldn't have asked for a better CO.
During the time she was talking to me, her supervisor was pacing up and down the desks that were active.
The reality of moving was now setting in, the pains of being separated and hassles of traveling to and fro to see each other were finally over!!!
As I walked back out into the main hall with a big grin on my face, my wife didn't see me come out, but then again the 2nd interview took all of 4 minutes and she didn't expect it to be as fast as that, so I walked around and came up behind her and asked her how much she wanted to take an Englishman home? It was funny in my head at the time and she giggled.
Now to line up at the Delivery desk and pay the courier fee which I think was 10 or 18 pounds, its over 12months since and cant recall, but the interview occurred on the Thursday and by the following Monday morning I had my passport back with mysterious white envelope. I had it delivered to my place of work so it didn't get damaged with the postal service trying to squeeze it anywhere or leave it with anyone else whom I didn't know or trust.
We then decided to have our English honeymoon as we did not have time to have one when we got married so hired a car and toured parts of Scotland and see a couple of friends we both knew from the internet and radio station ending back at my flat/ apartment on the Tuesday prior to our departure from Manchester to Dublin. Tied up loose ends and get my brother and his wife to finally meet my new wife who totally got on well!
Arranged handover of the keys to my place and a friend took us to the airport on the Saturday morning and we were in Dublin by Saturday Lunch time, just to unwind and relax and do some shopping.
Check in and pre-clearance experience!
We got to our check in desk of US airways and when I stated I was traveling under a an immigrant visa they wanted more ID at the pre-screening stage and when finally cleared to check our cases in and spend a little time around the shops of the airport and have a bite to eat and coffee of course!
It was now time for our flight to head downstairs to the immigration hall to go through to the gates!
Approaching the line for immigration, making sure my envelope was prominent, we asked which line I should join and was directed down the U.S Citizen side along with my wife. The experience to follow made our day when we reached the IO, she was youngish and cheerful, and took the envelope of me and our passports to check and asked the usual questions, but the one question which left me a little red faced and made all the girls laugh and by girls...all the immigration officials and helpers... " We were asked if we were bringing in meat to the US to which my wife replied, Does importing my husband count?" I am rarely speechless, but this did it, i was dumbfounded, and both my wife and the IO were in hysterics about it, must have made her day more bearable!
She went on to say that we would now be processed through the next section which was the secondary part to where I have never had the pleasure or dis-pleasure of ending up, depends on your experience of it I guess!
We sat nearly an hour waiting to be processed! In which time many people were sent through for various reasons and you could hear and see the offenders or the recipients of secondary interview!
Some were Americans who had tried to bring fruit through and didn't know they weren't allowed.
Some were returning immigrants or residents who showed their passports as opposed to the Green cards they had!
Finally the interviewing officer called me up to the desk got a brown sheeted card out on a clip board, took my finger prints and asked me to relax my hand as it would make it easier, told me about the time frames I had if I did not get my GC within a year and said Welcome to America! Just a few things took an hour!
After that we really had to run to get through security and x-ray machines to run for our lives to the gate, we just made it!!!
All in all a very memorable experience, great attitudes by the officials and humor of my wife and officials made it all so easy and pleasant.
I was very worried for a denial and exclusion from the US due to a juvenile record now sealed, but I was honest with them all the way and had no reason to worry, they had no issues with it!
Lessons to learn, be honest and truthful, confident and look the officials in the eye when it comes time to answering their questions, they are trained to spot fibs.
Never offer anything unless it is asked of you, keeps waiting times down unless the IO is a woman and your other half is a funny person!!! We still talk about that day....Oh the memories we have together! Wouldn't trade them for anything!
To all that seek reviews and experiences! Good luck on your interview date! I am sure you will all do well and have a speedy reunion with your partner!
We now have a break from USCIS until May 2013 where it will be time to remove conditions...Oh the JOYS!!! lol