Maybe This Time

So, rather, embarrassingly, I sent off all of my Visa stuff without including my physical passport. Granted, I thought the point of the biometrics and passport verification sheet was to ensure that my passport was good, and not requiring me to actually send it in.

Anyway, I was super excited when I got something in the mail from the British Consulate in New York, only to be told to send in my passport next time.

However, having done that now, I got an email from the UKBA telling me that they’ve now got everything, and it’s being organized in preparation for consideration by an Entry Clearance Officer. They also tell me that 90% of applications are completed in no more than three weeks, 98% in six weeks, and 100% in 12 weeks.

I’m pretty damn sure that I’ve proved my ability to support myself in the UK while being unemployed, so that shouldn’t be a problem. I hope to hear back within three weeks… It’d be the beginning of April, which would give me about two months to get everything settled, booked, and ready to go by the end of May.

That sounds delightfully soon 🙂

Well.

My anxiety wasn’t all for naught.

Got to the Department of Homeland Security about 10 minutes before my appointment, checked in, and was told to go to a waiting area.

After about a half hour of waiting, I started talking to the woman next to me, turned out she was from Canada getting her US citizenship. She said I was supposed to have a print out of my appointment time, but if I didn’t, I could write my name on a slip and put it in the same box. Go figure. Did that.

After some more waiting, the man came out of the office and called the other woman up. She said, “her appointment is before mine” (very Canadian of her); but the man had already pulled up her information.

Shortly thereafter, he came out and asked me if I was sure I had an appointment.

My heart sank.

Why yes, I signed up on Tuesday to come down here and turn in my supporting documents and do biometrics, etc. He had me wait some more while he went and asked where I need to be.

When he came back, he asked me if I had my appointment print out. No I did not. He said I had to have this print out so that they can pull up my biometric information.

“If you can go print it out and come back…”
“If you can find a library near here and print it there…”
“You don’t even have to come back today…”

No thanks.

I felt a bit defeated, trudging out to my car having accomplished absolutely nothing but wasting my time. I noticed, as we were close to the airport, that there were several hotels in the area. I took my chances with a Holiday Inn Express.

The lady at the front desk was on the phone and distracted, so I slipped into their “Business Center” (containing one ancient PC and a printer), and proceeded to print out the document that I need.

Feeling a bit better, I trekked back to DHS, this time having proactively removed all of my jewelry and metal items from my person in prepration for security, and got sat in the waiting room of the biometrics department.

Luckily, that wait was only about five minutes and then I got to watch nerdily as the woman electronically took my finger prints. Another woman signed off on my passport and told me to mail everything to the address on the sheet.

 

In essence, out of all of the paperwork and passport photos and supporting documents I brought, the only thing they needed was my passport.

All I had to do was print that damn form.

 

HOWEVER, my supporting documents (paystubs, letter of leave, potential flight itineraries for there and back, proof of funds, executed application, and the damn form) are sat in an overnight FedEx envelope – so by tomorrow or at least Monday, they will be in the hands of someone in New York who matters.

Big sigh.

I was much more frustrated at the start of this post, but I can see that I’ve done all I need to do at this point, and I feel better.

It’s Friday. I’m getting a drink after work at my favorite bar/lounge where there is a drink named after me (containing lilac gin) and I get to sleep in tomorrow.

And my visitor’s visa approval process is underway.

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