After my last attempt in London two years ago I bit the bullet and tried again.
I must admit the new online application process and booking system for the US Embassy/Consulate is speedier and cheaper than going through the old (09) £1.20pm number.
I applied for my visa at the US Consulate in Belfast, very nice building, bit tricky to find but head towards the Ulster Bank offices and there is the security office.
My appointment was at 11.45am but arrived at 11.30am. Security were friendly and you can leave your mobile phone with them which is a bonus as there are no public pay phones near the Consulate. After being searched, I walked up the grounds past the Consular Generals office (he was in and waved when he saw someone walking up the path who was a visitor). You go right to the back of the building into a small office with three counters and an Interview Booth. There is a vending machine for drinks.
I passed all of my documents over:
- DS-160 Confirmation Page
- Interview Confirmation Page (Printed off the new website)
- Old Passport
- ACPO Certificate
- VCU01 Form
- 2”x2” Photo
I was asked to sit down and wait, there were another ten people in the room. I was called up to the desk again around 40minutes later and they took my fingerprints and handed me back my photo. About 20minutes later I was called into the Interview Booth and was greeted by a nice friendly American Lady.
She asked me:-
- Why I wanted the visa?
- What I was going to do in the States?
- How long I was with my partner?
- Explain to me what happened regarding your conviction etc. – I was very truthful and told her about my volunteering etc to keep paying back to the community.
She typed away at her screen. Thanked me for being so upfront and honest and she said that “it’s my decision [dramatic pause and stern look on her face] to grant you your visa for 10 years.” (Big moment! I cried and was full of thanks. Now I am just waiting for my passport to come back.)
Total time at the consulate: 1hour 20minutes
Just be truthful, honest and dress smart. Just remember to take all of your information with you and be honest.