Sunday, April 7, 2013

Seoul Interview Review: He was approved!

Jay was approved!

It was an agonizing 2 hours of waiting but let me explain the process.

Our appointment was 8:00 am on February 12th. We arrived way too early [maybe 7:30] which was good to get a ticket, but the windows didn't open until 8:00. We were called up after only 15 minutes or so, with a distinct air of not-wasting-any-time.

Before the appointment I had arranged all the documents and supplemental forms and back-up paperwork I wasn't sure we'd need, into my own filing system [see previous post for that organization], but when we arrived the sign on the wall said to arrange all documents in the order they appear on the checklist supplied by the embassy. This, as it turns out, was the only document I hadn't brought with us and with no phones I couldn't look it up so we handed everything over as it was and helped the document-checker find anything she didn't immediately have.  Of course we had way more than we needed and my cover letters and indexes were quickly shed and handed back to me. So, point being, while I think it's good to be over-prepared, it doesn't score you any extra points for being an obsessive organizer.

The document checker found everything we needed, asked me a question about my tax forms [I was very afraid for a moment that I had supplied something incorrect] and then only took my most recent tax form and my joint sponsors most recent tax year information as well. The only forms they took were the ones on the checklist supplied by the embassy, plus copies of my domicile evidence [a letter from my graduate school]

After our documents were checked, Jay went downstairs to pay. He came up, handed them the receipt from the payment and we waited waited waited. I had read that I was allowed to stand with him during the interview, so I was very well dressed and in stockings in the frigid cold Seoul morning. When Jay was called to the window for his interview, the interviewer looked at me and quickly told me I should sit down. Haha, so I left and waited anxiously for maybe 10 minutes while he asked Jay questions similar to this:

how long have you been married [specific to the number of days]
what date we were married
when we were going back to the US
where did we meet and when
what did he do at [where we met]
how long we've been together
what we were doing in korea

The interviewer didn't even ask for any of our personal relationship evidence. He told Jay he was approved and would receive his passport in the mail in a few days.

We left feeling amazing!! [and celebrated with some Thai food]

That being said, a few days later we received an e-mail saying they couldn't confirm Jay's fingerprints and he had to go all the way back up to Seoul to confirm his identity. This turned out to be the fault of the consulate- our interviewer never asked Jay to officially confirm his name, so he had to go back up to Seoul and go to the consulate just to say, "yes, I am James Weedall." And then it was finished.  2 days later, we received his visa. 

We also have all his visa documents in a sealed envelope that he is supposed to present to the immigration officer at the desk when he enters the US [at JFK airport for us], along with his vaccination form and a chest x-ray. Since we're travelling for almost 2 months, Jay has to carry all of this in his pannier on his bike through 3 different countries before we get on the plane to go home. I will happily update our last report in June when we pass through those gates at JFK!

To anyone else going through this process, good luck and I hope this has been helpful!