A couple of weeks ago I received the details that I needed from Cal State University Los Angeles for the US embassy in London. I am travelling on 4th and needed details for my visa. “28th December is the first date for your meeting” said the woman sternly on the
telephone at the embassy. “28th” I exclaimed “28th” she replied.
So I got on my bike on 28th and rode to Mayfair, to the US Embassy clutching a folder of
forms justifying who I was where I was going and why I was going there. I sat inside the embassy and waited for my number to be called via a computer screen. I was sat in one of the most threatened places in the United Kingdom.
My number was up and the visa interview was over in minutes, after a pleasant conversation with the immigration officer about what a writer in residence actually does. It makes me realise how much I love what I do when I find myself passionately explaining it through reinforced glass to an american woman. The interview ends and I then stand
in line for SMS Secure Mail Services. My passport and visa will be delivered to my home address via SMS for which I must pay.
“five days sir” said the teller. It’ll be five days before I get my visa from SMS. “five days” she says again. My flight leaves on 4th January. I pay for my visa to arrive before 10am .
It all seems possible, except new years eve and new years day and Saturday and Sunday
are not counted as working days. If I don’t get my visa on 2nd or 3rd of January I miss my flight on 4th. It’s all a little tight. A little against the wire.