The USA Green Card Journey (pt.4)

This is the one where things get nasty for me.

December 2017, right before Christmas I receive emails from both my attorney and the NVC with my interview date of January 30th 2018. There now follows a flurry of furious activity where I have to co-ordinate work leave, travel and visa medical all around this date. The important one being the visa medical a minimum of five working days before the interview.

Confirm interview appointment and book the courier for my passport. Arrange travel so I’ll be where they’re sending it. That’s a train back to Newcastle.

It took exactly 100 attempts before I was able to contact Knightsbridge Medical in London for an appointment. I book suitably far ahead (Jan 19th), arrange time off from work and look at the requirements to bring to the medical. Just as well that I checked beforehand too because the US had changed it’s requirements. My father ended up going to my doctor’s to get an abbreviated medical history for me.

Ok. Paperwork, check. Appointment, check. Doctor’s office … closed???? WTF?

Yeah they were closed that day and had made my appointment in error. They’d taken my email address down wrong so that bounced. They called but didn’t leave a voicemail so I didn’t know what to reply to.

Appointment rearranged quickly for the following monday. That’s most of my stretch factor gone. Three vaccinations (flu, mmr and tetanus), one blood draw, a physical, a chest x-ray for TB and a urine sample. They want “half a pot”, but anymore than that isn’t required. Or liked 😉

Little did I know it’d be the last humour I saw in this process from this point on.

Cue January 30th. This is the plan:

1) Taxi from where i’m staying to Kings Cross station
2) Drop off suitcase and bag into left luggage, taking only myself phone and documents.
3) London Underground to Vauxhall.
4) Get breakfast.
5) Bus to Embassy and
6) Profit?

What actually happens:

1) The taxi doesn’t bother to turn up, forcing me to run with bags uphill for 1.5 miles to the nearest tube station.
2) Tube to Kings Cross
3) Drop off bags
4) High tail it via Tube to Vauxhall
5) Find a Pret-a-Manger, grab something hot.
6) High tail it to the Embassy, ignoring the buses.

Immigrant visas take priority over others. You skip queues effectively and are allowed in 15 minutes sooner than non immigrant ones. You also get to go to the special immigration area vs the more public non-immigrant one.

The process here should be three steps:

1) First interview to give over documents such as original birth certificate, passport etc.
2) Actual visa interview.
3) Pay the cashier for the visa.

What actually happened:

1) Handed over the documents. Find out that my medical may not have turned up.
2) Eventually do the interview. Find that the medical did turn up.

The interview went in a direction I wasn’t expecting. I don’t want to go into many details but suffice to say I was painted into corners I couldn’t get out of. There were no right answers for this guy. I mean I’ve made no secret of the fact that film is what I want to do, everything else is a means to do it. Thanks to questioning, I wasn’t able to get that across. I think my fate was decided before I got there.

My visa application was not rejected. I was given blue form 226(g) notice of Administrative Processing.

I was informed that while this is pending I can no longer travel to the USA on an ESTA. I may be able to apply for a non-immigrant visa but I know full damn well that can take six months and is not guaranteed, especially with an potentially failed immigration petition.

I was also informed that I could be permanently excluded from the USA should this fail.

It’s nice to know that one guy can potentially ruin a life isn’t it? It’ll certainly kill my entertainment career, probably the career of the guy I write with and my IT career will also probably suffer because I won’t be able to attend conferences.

Form 226(g) Administrative Review from what I can tell is a “black box” process. You can chase but you basically won’t hear anything until they want to say something. I’ve been informed that it can be 60+ days as my file has to go back to USCIS in the USA.

The only thing left. I’ve contacted my attorney to set up a meeting.

Instead of getting a measure of certainty back in my life, I only have more uncertainty and doubt. I don’t like this at all.