Thursday, 10 November 2011

Part eighteen - the tale of getting through the border

I thought it would be fitting to finalise this part of the visa tale with explaining the process of getting to America. A lot of what you read explains how applicants got their visa but little gets said about how they got through border control; so here's my little version for all it's worth. You buy your plane tickets as if you were a holiday maker, just at check in you declare yourself being on a visa - this is merely because airlines have to transmit passenger information and because with a visa, you don't need the visa wavier document. 

As most people who have been to America know, in flight you complete the customs declaration of checking your not bringing food, gifts or leaving anything of worth in the USA when you leave. When the airhotess pass these sheets around you may also be aware they have the a-94 form, which is merely known as the "white" form. It's basically the form visa passengers complete with address details and plane information. This form is stapled into your passport, stamped and dated with the date you need to leave the country by [unless you adjust your status]. A lot of people in the immigration queue saw me with my form and were stressing that they didn't have one - but it's only for those who don't need the visa wavier and have other paperwork. 

You might have heard some of the ongoing debates about the UK's border control with suggestions that the UK needs to adapt an American approach when it comes to people entering the country. I've heard people declaring how they were grilled about their holiday plans and why they wanted to enter America so I was fearing being dragged off for hours with all my paperwork being questioned. However in reality it was a lot more simple. I handed that delightfully huge envelope over to the immigration lady who basically went through all the papers - that was up to the point were she declared part of it was wrong - the embassy hadn't done something with one of the parts so it needed to be re validated, for which she needed an official to help - said official couldn't find my details on the database until they tried all the numbers on my forms. Finally there uncovered me, stamped my visa, stapled my form and wished me the best. In all it took forty five minutes but most of that was spent queuing and the people you deal with are friendly. You then run for your bags, get questioned again about your goods coming into America and then it was a quick dash to find the boy.

After the stress of the forms and the ten months from filing my application in consideration perhaps going through border control was realistically "easy", I think it's the nerves that push it into the scary territory. On a side note, more regular posting will occur soon, i'm not going to apologise for not being my regular posting self, i'm just catching up on eight months without my boy and befriending his cat.
Image taken from The Telegraph.


  1. Am so glad you made it after months of waiting. Lots of lost time to catch up on....we can understand that! Enjoy your man! Enjoy (maybe?) his cat. (if you like cats) We can't wait to hear of your new adventures here! Good luck to you both on starting your lives together!

  2. HOW EXCITING (I'm now caught up on your blog, phew!) !! I can't believe you're actually there!! It must be so wonderful to get to see your boy (and his cat!), enjoy enjoy enjoy! Look forward to hearing all about it when you find time!

    Elspeth xxx

  3. Yayyy youre there!! :) So happy for you!!

  4. :D thank you - feels really good to be here x

  5. wheee you made it there!! am totally excited for you, even though i'm halfway across the world:)