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Old Mar 5th 2004, 8:49 am
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I heard last night from my prospective US employer that my H1 has been approved, and we have a green light for GO!!

Only one more hurdle to jump - when I get the papers here (Monday) I'm assuming that my wife and I have to pay a visit to the embassy in London to get the stamps in our passports.

Anyone got any advice on what I should expect??

The children will be having their H4's put in their passports - do we need to bring the kids with us??
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Old Mar 5th 2004, 8:58 am
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No advice, but Congratulations!
Bet you're chuffed!
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Old Mar 5th 2004, 10:15 am
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You could say that!! We've been waiting since November...

I'm already packed
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Old Mar 5th 2004, 12:02 pm
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Firstly, no you don't need your kids with you if they're under a certain age. 16 I think. I seem to remember it says in the letter we received for our US Embassy appointment.

Remember to pre-pay your visa fee, using the payment slips provided, at your bank! It speeds things up enormously. Also remember your pre-paid recorded delivery envelope for return of your passports - we took one for each person but only needed one for the family.

What to expect? Lots of security at the embassy. Don't take a bag full of additional stuff other than the papers required for the interview. Plan to arrive with lots of time to spare, but be aware that if you arrive more than 30 minutes early (I think) they'll turn you away at the gate. It's all stated in the appointment letter.

Once inside we queued for about 15 minutes to get to the first counter where we gave in our proof of payment slips and all our other documents. Then we went and sat for about 30 minutes watching people have their visas refused (made us rather nervous!). Then we were called up to a counter, asked a couple of questions about the company I was going to work for, my job role and when we planned to leave. Reminded not to book flights before we receeived our visa And that was it.

Received all our passports in our pre-payed envelope three days later.

Hope that helps, and good luck!
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Old Mar 5th 2004, 12:50 pm
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Superb, thanks - I trawled a few older threads and read some horror stories about 5 hour waits...as we'll have our 7 month old with us (we'll leave the other two with family, I think) the shorter the wait and the less harrowing the experience the better.

If it goes as per your description, I think we can easily live with that.....
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Old Mar 5th 2004, 1:20 pm
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Pretty much echoing dbj1000, I went through this process in January this year...

When the attorney handling my h1 application informed me I that I had been approved, he told me to make an appointment for an interview at the embassy straight away. He said it could take a couple of weeks, but when I phoned, I got an appointment for just a week's time.

Make sure you get an appropriately sized photo for the visa - the embassy will send details. Cost me about 50 quid at a local photographer's studio. One thing that confused me was that some of the documentation specified b/w or colour photos, while other pages insisted on colour only - including notices at the embassy. I'd got a b/w photo, so I was a tad worried, but they accepted it without question or comment.

My appointment at the embassy was for 12pm, but I arrived there at 11:20am. I've read about people queueing outside in the rain or snow for over an hour, but today there was no queue, and they let me in despite being a little early. There's airport-like security - bags and pocket contents through a scanner, while you go through an x-ray machine. Inside, it's up the stairs to the left. There was a 15 min wait to get to the first window to submit all your docs, forms, passport, etc, at which point you're given a number and you go sit and wait. Be prepared for a long wait. I was there about 2.5 - 3 hours. Had a good chat with an Indian guy who was making a second attempt to get a student visa, and had all these conspiracy theories about which of the eight windows you were likely to be called to if being refused. He got his visa and disproved his theory in one go!

Anyway, don't expect the numbers to be called in order. The number before mine was called five minutes after I sat down. Take a small child if you have access to one; people with small children appeared to be given priority.

The interview itself was a bit of an anticlimax. I was worrying that I was going to mess up because my wife is a USC, the h1 is a non-immigration visa and I had no proof of intent to return. Basically they seemed just to be checking I'm the person described in the application. My number came up, so I went to the indicated window. What does the company do, how many people are employed there. Spotting my USC wife on the form, how did we meet? Have I applied for a GC yet? No? Well do so as soon as you get there.. good luck in your new job. And that was it! This was on a Thursday, and my passport with visa attached arrived the following Monday - much faster than the "10 working days" they specify.

Not sure if you have to take the kids or not, but as I mentioned, if they're particularly young, it seems to speed up the processing! Anyway, hope this gives you a heads up on what to expect!
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