US Visa... Approved!

August 21, 2008

US Embassy
8 am appointed time
7 am- 10:30am

The very first time I had my US interview was year 2004. To tell you honestly, I have no recollection whatsoever with what have transpired that day. This significant mental block as my DH will tell you is called my selective memory gap phase lol~
So now, I am writing it down. Next time I will have an interview, I will be able to "remember".

Yesterday, while I was double checking and flipping through my application form, I noticed that I haven't filled out the date as to when I signed the form. So, I quickly wrote down the date but to my dismay, I saw that the pattern should have been dd-mmm-yyyy. Ohmygas, I wrote down mm-dd-yy. I called up my travel agent and ask for another copy of the form and forward it through email to me. Good thing he saved it. I called DH and told him to print it for me. Problem solved!

That night, DH insisted that I set my alarm at 5:30 am. *darn* "too early"- or so I thought. So while watching a movie I was tinkering with DH's hand-me-down cell phone. I put it under calendar and set a meeting at 5:30 am. All is well, we slept early and then 5:30 am comes and no alarm. Good thing, DH woke me up to tell me that it's close to 6 am. What happened with the alarm? Turned out, I set it as meeting and not turned on the alarm lol~ I rushed to the bathroom and got out of the house by 6:30 am... a world record. DH drove me to U.N. Ave. for my scheduled 8 am interview.

There was a long queue in the waiting shed outside the U.S. Embassy. Seafarers on the left and non- immigrant applicant on the right lane. A guard was telling the applicants that passport without cover and application should be ready for checking upon entry by the Filipino staff.

After less than thirty minutes, I was inside Gate 3 for the x-ray. Cell phones, cameras and other electronics are not allowed. You can leave it with the guard provided you leave an identification card with them. After which, you will passed by the fingerprinting area in another open area which I mistook as the next step but I was abruptly called by the guard and asked if I have gotten my number. When I answered "no", he led me to a room filled with applicants. I asked a girl where I should queue myself, there were 4 queues- A, B, C, & D. Written in front of the glass window were the time and the surname initial. As I fall in line, I noticed that Gloria Jeans and Sabrette were selling drinks and hotdogs on one corner. A Kodak stand is readily available if you don't have a picture to go with your application. I was in line for almost half an hour. I have mastered and watched again and again the screen where it teaches applicants step by step how to approached the fingerprinting window. Finally, I was given an express stub which starts with 1xxx. Later on, I learned that stubs with 2xxx are for first timers and stubs like mine are for renewal. I waited for an hour as a woman randomly called numbers for the fingerprinting area. At last my number was called, a group of us was lead to the same open area where I first thought was the next step after the x-ray room. As I was three people behind the fingerprinting window, a woman called our number *again* and led us to the x-ray room and into another room where the interview was on going. On the left side, as you enter, was another fingerprinting station where an American woman was seating behind the counter. This time the room was air conditioned. And upon entry, you can see a large screen which shows the number and counter where your interview will be conducted. You have to check it from time to time. An old couple and an old lady in red were in front of me. They all had to re do their fingerprinting at one point. By the time that I was in front of the counter, I had muster the direction and the step by step process of fingerprinting-

1. ) State your full name and birthdate

2. ) First, place the four fingers of your left hand, each finger should be pointing on the green light

3. ) Second, place the four fingers of your right, do not move, roll or press hard on the machine

4. ) Third, place both your thumb in the middle portion of the machine

As I approached the counter, I greeted the woman behind the counter, said my name and birthdate and got the fingerprint process right the first time. The woman wished me luck for my interview and I said thanks.

A man was assissting and assigning seats for the applicant. This is where we were told and I learned that I have an express stub. Which meant that I got to be interviewed by a no number counter and that I should not be bothering to look at the screen to have my number shown. Applicants with an express stub are arranged in sequential order. After a few minutes, I was already infront of the young female consul. I greeted her with a smile and here is how short my interview more or less went:

C: Good morning ... How are you?

M: I'm good... I'm here to renew my visa. * showed her my old passport with an expired visa*

C: When was the last time you were in the States?

M: xxx 200x

C: What does your husband do?

M: businessman

C: What kind of business?

M: xxxx

C: How many workers are there?

M: I don't know much... maybe around xx and xx

C: How long have you been married?

M: x years

C: Do you have kids?

M: x

C: Who is Daniel x?

M: My local travel agent's contact in the States.

C: Well, it looks like there is nothing wrong with your application, Just go to the counter and pay for the courier service.

M: Thank you

Well, I think that sums up more or less of how my interview went. Less than five minutes. I still have to take a new number this time with the courier company. NO YELLOW STUB WAS ISSUED.

The entire process is tedious but as a follow applicant commented that it's ok- the whole waiting and falling in line- IF THEY ISSUED YOU A VISA.

As I exit the embassy grounds, I noticed that there were only two or three pax in the lining up in counters A, B, C & D. This time its around 10:30am so I guess it' s better to apply at this time than earlier.