How many times do you have to queue up to get a Visa to travel across America?
So, as you should be aware, we have decided on the first leg of our journey we will be visiting America!
For the length of time we are visiting, we require a 10-year tourist visa, sounds like overkill but we go for it.
2 hours of filling out forms on the iPad and a thousand and one questions later, along with the £260 mandatory fee we have been provided with a date to go to the embassy in London.
A Southampton to London train during Peak time for the two of us comes to a whopping £120 smackers. Scrap that!
Instead, we found a cheap hotel to go straight from work the evening before. Travel lodge booked, 2 single train tickets all in £90 much better, and we can enjoy ourselves while we are there. When will they fix our trains in this country?
The day of reckoning comes, its a Tuesday morning after a sleepless night. Hopes and Dreams depending on paperwork printed off and clutched passports like our lives depending on it.
Queue 1, pre-security outside. Preliminary checks on Passports and Paperwork. Told to sit still outside ready for queue 2.
Half an hour later we are ushered into airport-style security desks, throwing all of our stuff into dull grey plastic containers and through the metal detectors.
For most people this is not a problem, that is unless you have left a knife attached to your keys. Mrs security guard was apparently not impressed. Is this it, are our dreams over?
Thankfully not, mercy is upheld, and the blade is placed into the bins outside.
Queue 3. Once again outside, but between two buildings for yet further security checks where passports and paperwork are once again scrutinised.
We are given a number and directed to the 1st floor of this imposing building. This time we are provided with a ticket and led to take the lift to the 1st floor.
Eventually, we come to a room where there are hundreds of us waiting our turn we take a seat and wait for our number to appear on the display points. The Atmosphere is dull, we can only imagine its what the DMV is like. After what feels like an eternity, but was probably only ten minutes, we are called to window number seven.
Quick internal pep talks and many Deep breaths, we say to ourselves that we can do this. Introducing a lovely chap from Texas who admired our plans, although casually suggesting we should actually just hire a convertible as it would be much easier, we found out he loves to cycle as well.
Fingerprints collected and time to queue up once again for the next window, we get called to window number 14. This lady goes through many questions on what we are doing, and clearly believes we are mad. But takes our fingerprints one more time finally stating that she has approved our visas and they will be sent to us!
Happy days! When we leave the embassy, we retrieve Mike’s knife out of the bin to the amusement of a police officer with a huge gun. We need a drink!