After double, triple & quadruple checking that we had all of the documents we needed, we flew to Sydney a few days early, on the 10th of January. We spent this time with friends, and when the morning of the 13th came around, we got up early, checked all our documents again and walked to Martin Place. Despite knowing that the interview process would be pretty straightforward for us (no children, no criminal history, never lived in any other countries etc) we were still nervous!
The U.S Consulate is on Level 59 of the MLC Building but you have to head to Level 10 first to go through security. We took the elevator up, showed our passports at the entry and went through the metal detector. Our bags, phones and the CD’s our X-rays were on were checked in at Level 10 and we kept only our documents, passports, wallet and a book to take up. An official then escorted us to the elevator and sent us up to Level 59. Before the entry to the consulate there is another official behind a glass divider who checks your ID again and then lets you through the very heavy reinforced door.
Inside the Consulate is similar to a Medicare or other government office – waiting chairs and officials behind windows. When you walk in you press the button on the machine for Immigrant Visas to receive a ticket and wait on the seats to the right for your number to be called.
We got there a little early but didn’t have a long wait before our number was called. The woman at our window went through all of our documents to make sure they were all there, including the Document Checklist they had emailed us at time of interview notification – you complete this before you go to the interview with your intended US address. Interestingly she handed back the printed confirmation of our DS-260 submission, even though the checklist says we need it. She then advised us to go to the cashier window, pay our fee and then bring the receipt back to her, which we did. She then advised us to sit down and wait again and we would be called for our interview.
Another short wait and we were called to a different window with a male CO for our interview. First he took our fingerprints and we took an oath and then he went through our paperwork, handing the original back and stamping the copy. I was feeling a combination of nerves – like a child thinking “only speak when you’re spoken to” or a teenager on a first date “don’t say anything stupid!” Overall it was quite casual and he asked us a few simple questions, mostly directed to my husband as he is the primary applicant – “Why do you want to move to the US?, So you have a Bachelor’s degree?” (he replied he has a Masters) and “What is your Masters in”, “Is it your first marriage, for the both of you? Are there any children involved? Are you taking your husband’s name? Have you been to the States before?” He then advised us that we had been approved and would receive passports back in 1-2 weeks!! And that was it! It felt so strange… not even a slip of paper as proof!
We left the Consulate and headed to the Sheraton for a big breakfast and celebratory mimosa!
Our passports only took 2 days to arrive back to us – seeing it in print made it 100% certain – WE ARE MOVING TO THE U.S.A !!!