16 May 2015

My visit to the U.S Embassy, London.

Are you applying for a J1 Exchange Visa to The United States of America? Here is an account of my journey down to the U.S Embassy in London to retrieve my own.

My coach leaves Manchester Shudehill Interchange for London Victoria at 3.15am. After very few hours sleep, I ordered a taxi from my flat in Rusholme at 2.30am. Me and the taxi driver had a wonderful conversation about Pakistan's railways which I'm sure would have been extremely interesting having I had more than 3 hours sleep, and I wasn't about to get on a 6 hour journey on a Megabus, so it's safe to say I did not have the patience for his information at this hour. To make matters worse, I was then harassed by a Brazillian at the coach station, and eventually I just lied and said I had a boyfriend to get rid of him. To which he continued to try with 'If you wont give me your number, give me your boyfriend's and I'll tell him all about you'. Fleeing him, I finally get on the coach and sat down.
Thinking I'd picked a reasonably good seat, cue the screaming baby, and the freezing cold air conditioning. I somehow manage to drift in and out of consciousness in my tired state. Only to wake up and find that there is a 40 minute delay.
Finally we arrive at London Victoria coach station and I use my Google maps app to navigate to Grosvenor Gardens where the embassy is located. My appointment isn't until 11am but I decide it would be best to make my way there and have a sit down in a Starbucks around there. But no, little did I know that the ques would be two streets away. And so I joined the end of the que as soon as I arrived at around 9.15. Just to make it worse, one of girls who was stood behind me dropped a full cup of coffee on my foot. Burning hot and sobbing wet, she's more concerned about how she'd lost her coffee than the fact she had burnt my foot. I now have at least another hour left before I'm getting in that embassy and after being awake for 7 hours by this point already, I was so passed caring. 
It's now 10.30 and a sheet has been passed along the que of which items are prohibited and will need storing before entering the building (laptops, iPads, things like that...) I have my documents and passport looked over and organised for me before I'm sent into an airport-like scanning room before we can enter the U.S. Embassy. Once we're in I'm given a bar-code and a number stuck onto my passport either side and sent into a waiting room where we discussed with one another what company we were going through and where we were heading this summer. 
After a short wait I was sent up to window 8 where behind a bank-like counter glass a lady stood and questioned me on my history in the states. I had my finger prints taken, my documents handed back and sent around the corner where I would have my 'interview'. I was sure this would be where (as I've seen on movies) I would sit opposite a very important person answering questions whilst they decide whether I can have the best summer of my life so far or not. But nope, it's just another not at all daunting window. A very friendly American woman greeted me, took my documents and one set of finger prints again then said 'you're all set, you're going to have an amazing summer.' And that was it. 'Is that it? Can I go now?' I questioned as I was shocked at how quickly it all took. 'Yes ma'am, you're free to go'. And that really was it. My passport would be sent out to me in the post with my visa printed on it and I am now all set for the states! Leaving the Embassy before my appointment was even scheduled, I then made my way back to Victoria where I met, Katy, who is going to the same camp this summer. We went for food close to the station and couldn't stop chit-chatting away about how amazing the summer is actually going to be. Time flew and before I knew it it was time to jump on the Megabus and back to lovely Manchester at 3.15pm. I arrived into Shudehill at 8pm and didn't get to my flat until gone 9pm. It's safe to say it was one of the longest days of my life but of course absolutely necessary, and after this summer, so worth it! 
Just 22 days to go!!

Keep an eye out for my travel posts during my few months in America too!

Just Write About It
Raven Twigg
Just Write About It.

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