Today I went down to London to attend an appointment at the US Embassy, and such an amazing experience it was. The embassy itself is a huge building, holding high the flags of the world, and guarded by an assortment of police and international troops. I was certainly a little nervous, and was thankful my appointment went smoothly. After taking the train to Euston Station, a taxi took me through the streets of London to the embassy, leaving ten minutes to spare. Speaking to a women outside, I was alarmed to find that I needed a sheet of paper with my appointment time and a special bar code (as well as other documents I had with me) in order to gain entry. Thankfully the lady was helpful and pointed me to a nearby chemist across the road, who allowed me to use their wi-fi to download and print out the form within literally five minutes.
Once I had all the documents, I was able to queue for entrance, where firm and fierce airport security checks were taking place. I had had to travel to the embassy without any electronic devices, including my mobile phone and laptop, as they were not allowed into the embassy, and there was no official location to put them. I was with a lady in front of me who I thought was going to be thrown out for sure, for she was being incredibly rude – and these guards weren’t to be messed with; I for one ensured I followed every last instruction and didn’t do anything I wasn’t told to do!
Once I got through the security checks, I followed the building round to the side, and to the reception to check in. The interior was grand, the walls lined with pictures of american history and culture, and as I sat down, large screens boasted images of american flags, american icons (such as the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge), as well as the great american seal I would hope to get on my visa.
I sat down in the hall and waited to be called to one of the twenty-five booths. Once I was called to a booth it was very straight forward. Hand over the documents, have my fingerprints scanned, and answer some simple questions. After two callings to the booths my visa was approved, and I went to a final desk to arrange for a courier delivery of my visa, and return of my passport. I left the building after two hours. Next stop – America.