What is a biometric appointment, you might ask? Well, basically it's the UK Government's way (US too for that matter...we do the same...) of making you feel like a criminal before ever stepping foot in their country. I had to go get fingerprinted and photographed as part of my visa submission.
So, in just a few days, I'll be turning over my current passport, expired passport, visa application, work permit, bank statements (gotta prove that i'm not going to the UK to mooch off of their generous social system), and a few other odds & ends to send off to the UK Consulate in LA for visa approval.
One step closer to being in London. One step further away from Seattle. Hm.
About the actuall process itself..Though my effort was for a UK process, it's actually run by the US Government. My understanding is 'cuz this is simply due to the fact that we've got the people & the space to do it.
My appointment was for 11a, and I decided to get there a little early & beat the proverbial rush, so I arrived at 10.30a. Paid to park (doesn't that just seem like a ripoff? there is no where to park but this one lot at the building, and you're forced to pay. grr..), and went in. Cleared the metal detector-of which, i think they actually do a more thorough job of screening than TSA...and then queued up. From this queue, i was given a number, and sent to a big 'holding room' that was primarily full of immigrants wanting to get *in* to the US. Out of the ~50 people in there at the time, only 3 of us were there because we're trying to get *out.*
By now, it's 10.45a, and i'm thinking: woo hoo. this is going well!... In fact, though my number was 125, and they were only on 111 when i walked in the holding room, within 15 minutes, my number was called with a slew of others in which we queued up again. From there, we were called one by one to present our paperwork for preliminary review.
I almost hit a snafu b/c my passport lists my middle name, but my visa application does not. There is not spot for "middle name" on the app. There's a spot for "other name" but how the heck am i supposed to interpret that to mean middle name? I assumed that meant nicknames...Which, is what i convinced the preliminary review dude of. So, i turned my paperwork over, and was told to go sit down again while he did some basic checks.
I was then called back, given a new number, and told to go sit in a seperate line. Apparently, there is ony one individual at this facility that handles the UK Biometric appointments. And, by now, it's 11.15a. At 11.30a, someone made an announcement to the three of us waiting that the UK lady was on lunch break. And, we would have to wait out in the holding room to wait for her return. 30 minutes go by, and finally, my name is called. By now, it's noon.
I'm fingerprinted on some fancy-schmancy digital machine (no ink marks on my paws. yea!), a most unflattering photo is taken of me, and then after a few minutes i'm sent on my way.
Total time spent? An hour and 45 minues. Which better than the two hours I was told it would take. Total time of this spent in line, or waiting: An hour and 35 minutes. Gotta love government efficiency!
One step closer...