Friday, January 27, 2006

Visas
Anne, Nic and I flew to Sydney on Wednesday to visit the US consulate. This was to present our paperwork, and attend a 5 minute interview in order to get our visa. The rules said Anne had to be there, and Nic naturally has to be with Anne. Luc got to stay with his grandparents for the day. Refer to Anne's entry for his day. (That reminds me... I need to tell her to use JPG instead of PNG. Even with low compression the photo is 1/4 the size).

I can only presume everything went well, as they said we would have our paperwork back in a couple of days. This is sure to be delayed an extra day with the Australia Day holiday on the Thursday.

I can't say I enjoyed the process very much. We had to be up at 4:30am in order to get our flight, and we needed to go through security at the consulate early enough to make our "appointment", which was set at 10:30am. What really happened, was that we cleared security with 5 minutes to spare, and then waited in line for several hours before being called up. At that point our documentation was inspected and filed, and we were asked to take a seat again, until the interview.

At this point we've been in there for several hours, having drunk a couple of coffees to help deal with the lack of sleep (Nic is a good sleeper, but he's still a 10 week old baby and needs feeding overnight). We were in a room where all the staff are behind thick glass (why are they so paranoid about security then?) and the only way in or out is a thick security door. The nearest accessible rest rooms were 59 floors away, and on the other side of security. This made for a very unpleasant wait.

Babies being as they are, Nic needed changing after a couple of hours, so Anne took him downstairs and back through security again. Coffee being as it is, I was obliged to follow soon after. I was lucky, since I got back just in time for the interview. Five minutes and $520 later, and it's all over. We grabbed a bite to eat, caught a train back to the airport, waited on the tarmac while they fixed a faulty fuel pump, and came home.

Time from leaving the house to getting home again? 14 hours. What a waste of a day.

1 comment:

Tom Adams said...

Ah, the US consulate. We had a similar experience, but with only one child to leave with the folks we spent the night in Sydney and had a great time. Unfortunately they stuffed up Vienne's visa (wrong expiry date) and though we thought it would be fine, didn't want to travel all the way to the states and get turned back at immigration. Getting back into the consulate after closing time is a big hassle, especially as there is no direct phone line to call them when they stuff up.