For my visa interview I flew into Sydney the night before and stayed at the City Lodge Hotel. (Only $89 for the night and they give you free cookies, tea & coffee in your room!)
The next day I arrived at the MLC Centre at 8.30am for my 9am appointment. I took the elevator up to the 10th floor, walked around to the U.S. Consulate security room and in my nervous state managed to drag the door stop along with my small luggage bag half way across the room. Embarrassed I just pretended not to notice, and I guess nobody else had, so the door stopper remained in the middle of the room while I pulled my bags up through the scanner.
They checked my bags and kept my suitcase there while I carried my papers up to the next elevator. When you get out of the elevator there’s a woman sitting behind a glass walled room where you need to give her your passport. She’ll check your name off the list and you’ll proceed through double doors to the room where all the fun happens! You need to take a ticket for immigrants and then take a seat until they call your number.
I literally waited about 2 minutes before I was called to submit my documents and get all of my paperwork in order. The lady got me to fill in a few things I’d missed on previous forms I’d sent in and then she asked for my receipt for the visa payment. REMEMBER! This is the $240 fee not the original $360 fee you pay when you first applied. It’s different and you need to pay it at the post office before you come to your interview. She stamped the receipt and then added it to my file.
Next she asked for my 3kg envelope and my passport. I also told her I needed to give her an original I-134 form because we had only submitted a photocopy with Packet 4. (Apparently they hadn’t noticed but I wanted to submit the original anyway.)
She handed me my police certificate back and told me to take a seat again. This time I waited longer. I can’t be sure exactly how long I waited because the clock on the wall was broken and no phone to check but I’d guess it was about a 30-40 min wait.
Finally when it was my turn I went to the window and the interviewer asked me to put my thumbs on the scanner, then sign a form pledging that everything I say is true. (A written oath).
He asked me some basic questions first:
- How many times have you been to the United States?
- How long was your longest trip?
- Have you ever been arrested?
- Have you ever had any problems with U.S. immigration?
- Have you ever lived outside Australia?
(He actually asked me if I’d ever lived outside the U.S. and I asked did you mean Australia? He said yes. See they are actually human!)
Then he asked me questions more specific to our relationship:
- When did you meet?
(I answered with dates of internet meeting, thus answering that we met online and then the date of us meeting in person)
- When did your relationship start?
(This one was confusing, because he was just trying to verify that our relationship started when we met in person, so I guess that’s how they count the length of your relationship.)
- Have you ever been married?
- Do you have any children?
- When do you intend to get married?
- Has your fiance visited Australia?
And that was it! I was worried about more intense questions but he was satisfied with my answers and my paperwork and approved my visa!
I got a little piece of paper as a sort of momento. It says something along the lines of:
Your visa application has been approved.’
Then goes on to say how long you have to wait for your visa and paperwork in the mail.