Ireland - US Consulate
One bike, one very slippy wet road and a VERY fast dash into Belfast! We were late – as usual I hear you all say!!
The rain had been even heavier overnight and by the time we got on the road the low mountains around us were running with water. The ride into Belfast was 'unpleasant' and I took full advantage of hiding behind Simon in order to avoid the beating rain – one advantage of being a pillion!
Time for miracles – at 11:00 we were still 20mins away from Belfast, which left us approx. 10mins to navigate an unknown city, find parking, find a chemist that could meet the exacting standards of American visa photos, get the photos taken and printed and find a post office for the required ‘special’ delivery envelope which must be handed to the US consulate.
Both of us had our doubts about this being achievable – ever optimist, Simon was sure it was OK – the ever pessimist I was not!
Once again Simon was right – we made it and despite there being some problems with the consulate staff understanding what we were doing and why – we then had a very easy-going interview and were able to provide all that was requested: proof that we were going to come back to the UK – this was mortgage info and a letter from the other Directors at Simon's company 'Clearcall' saying that he is required to come back as Managing Director; proof of how we are funding this trip – this was bank and building society statements; proof of what we were doing and why we wanted to enter not now but in the next two years but were unable to say exactly when – this was provided by letters of support from the charities that we are supporting. HEY- yes we are doing this for charitable purposes as well as for ourselves – so if anyone out there wishes to donate online direct to one of the charities visit our charity page!
We were unsure when we left as to whether we would be granted a visa as they didn’t like the fact that we were not living and working in Ireland – but we had explained that the London embassy was too busy to give us an interview until mid June! They initially stated that we should have an interview in the country that we reside- this being the UK – however, isn’t Northern Ireland but is still part of the UK? Needless to say we didn’t mention this fact for fear for undermining the consulate staff.
We now have to wait and see. If we're not granted US Visa it puts all our plans in jeopardy.