This morning I woke at the unGodly hour of 6am in order to catch the 6.50am train into the city. I had an 8.15am appointment at the U.S. Consulate General on St. Kilda Rd in Melbourne and was advised to get there a half an hour before my appointment time. I managed to find my way to the Consulate and upon entry into the building, I noticed a queue had already formed. I was maybe the tenth person down the line. They took us in five people at a time. We entered our passport numbers into the computer systems and were issued a sticker with a barcode to wear on our shirts before our belongs were scanned through the x-ray machine and we had to walk through the metal detectors. Our bags had to remain at the security desk and we were only allowed to take out paperwork and our wallets in.
We were all told to take a seat and just wait until our number was called. In the mean time, we watched a security measures video and a montage of immigrants who had set up home in the U.S. and looked all happy and pleased with their new lives… it was on replay so I watched it no less than 15 times. Number 12 was called to window one so I made my way over. The old man behind the window asked for all my documents and my passport. He then took electronic fingerprints from both my hands and told me to sit back down. That was easy enough. Another hour or so passed before my number was called up again; this time to window two. The American lady behind the window asked a what reason I had to return home, asked to see financial proof of how I would support myself and then asked to see a copy of my University degree. She also asked if my previous trips to the U.S. were just for pleasure to which I nodded. I was rather nervous but that was soon forgotten when I saw her look up and smile at me… “Congratulations, I see no reason to not give you a visa. Everything is in good order.” To which I responded SWEET! Thank you! I left with the biggest smile ever plastered across my face!
I caught the train back home and headed straight over to STA Travel to purchase my airfares. At this point, I was still feeling a tad iffy about the response I had received from U.S. Customs and Border Protection last week. I didn’t want to risk flying into Los Angeles Airport then have the Customs Officer try to enter me on my J1 visa (even though I had been advised that I could enter on a Visa Waiver), so I decided to not take any chances and purchase a direct flight to Canada without any stop overs in the U.S. It was a tad more expensive than flying into L.A., but at least this way I know it will be hassle free and I get to fly my favourite airline, Air New Zealand! Yay to having a personal entertainment unit and movies and TV on demand the entire way!
Departure is June 28 flying from Melbourne > Auckland > Vancouver > Montreal… woah, what a mouthful!
I have my return flight booked in also flying Air New Zealand from Los Angeles to Melbourne however, I have to call closer to my return date (which, at this point is August 15, 2010) and push the date back further as they couldn’t issue the ticket that far ahead of time yet.
I’m so excited! Not long to go now! EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!