If you haven’t been ‘done’ for anything serious, the police check is relatively painless. The United States want to know that you haven’t been convicted for anything or that you won’t pose a security risk.

Queensland’s police checks are more than adequate for the embassy. It costs a couple of hundred dollars. You will be required to opt for both the name check and fingerprint check. These can be organized through your local station (apparently), but as inner city workers, we mistakenly went to the main headquarters on Roma Street. After waiting too long to be served, we were told that the only central place to get that sort of check done was all the way down on Charlotte Street, just at the other end of the Elizabeth Arcade. If you’re driving in, there’s a car park across the road that used to service Festival Hall (RIP).

You’ll have to fill in a bunch of probing questionnaires before being taken into a side room to be fingerprinted. It’s a precise process, involving industrial grade black ink. Although they give you industrial strength solvent or cleaning agent (it smells like petrol or paint thinners) to get the ink off, its smell stays on your skin for hours – which was a stress for me as I had done this without the knowledge of my workplace, who I wasn’t in a position to tell about the whole process until we had been officially approved and had flights booked.

The results of the check came back clear a week later (and hopefully you’ll get a similar letter). Make sure you check these meticulously. I was caught out at the embassy as there was a typo in the spelling of one of my middle names (I have two of the buggers). I didn’t notice as I only read the good bit – the one that said that I was clear! This error held up the actual green card approval for a couple of weeks, so check, check and check!