The Interview

Interview Day is going to be scary. It isn’t scary, but you’ll feel like your future depends on it and to some, being unsuccessful will feel like the end of the world. Generally, if you are healthy, have been educated to the required level, have never messed with visas and entry requirements before and haven’t been involved in criminal activities, you’ll most likely get through. Oh, and don’t answer anything fraudulently, either on the forms or in person.

Coming from out of town (Brisbane), we wisely chose a budget-friendly hotel fairly close to the consulate. (Chifley). This meant we could stroll up early, find our way to the area and grab breakfast – a nice way to settle the nerves and double check all the documentation.

The key to getting through the day without wetting yourself or having some level of emotional breakdown is preparation. You’ll need duplicates of every document listed, placed in order, photos, etc. You’ll need the express envelope/satchel ready and you’ll need cash to pay the application fee – we caught out on that and had to trek down a bunch of lifts to find an ATM in the food court level of the complex.

Our appointment was set for 11 in the morning. We had read advice about getting there super early, but apparently this only counts for the interviews at the start of the day, where first up the lift gets the first interview. We arrived first and were turned away and told to return at our allotted time.

An hour and several nervous pee breaks later, we took the first lot of lifts. From here, you have to walk to another set of lifts. These take you up to a security checkpoint. Here you have to go through scanners and metal detectors and have your bags checked. It is advisable not to bring any electronics, like phones, ipads and laptops. Leave these back in your hotel room to make the process easier. Once through the checkpoint, you’re marshaled to a waiting area, before an official accompanies you up in another lift.

Exiting the lift, there’s another checkpoint, from where effectively you exit Australia and enter the United States. The door opens and you’re in a waiting area that looks and feels like where you’d go and get your ldriver’s livence renewed. Bulletproof glass teller windows house the officials who will be deciding your future. In my head, I had expected to be ushered into an office for the interview. Nope. You’re interview happens at these windows, communicating through a little speaker, with their questions audible to others close by. It’s a little intimidating.

We were called to a window to submit the wad of paperwork. It’s checked to see that it’s all there and all in order. If it isn’t, you may be sent to reorder it or be on the receiving end of a frustrated official. If it is in order, you are then directed to another window to pay your application fee. As mentioned earlier, they only take cash, so have it prepared or you’ll end up retracing your steps back through all the lifts and security to get it.

Once your payment has been made, you have to sit down again and wait to be called.

The actual interview went something like this:
The questions are general and friendly, but you can’t help but think that they are chosen to open up further questioning if the answers delivered trigger the wrong vibe.

It’s been a while since the interview and my memory is fairly hazy at the best of times, but they did include ones about the studies done and qualifications achieved. Area of expertise and what fields we worked in. How we met.

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