Minna | My experience with the American Embassy

by Au Pair in America

Hi again! I feel like you all got to know me a bit better in my last blog post, both in terms of myself but also my host family. I’m so excited for my life in Boston to begin! But before my departure, I have quite a lot of stuff to do! Some, I have already ticked off of my list, but I thought that in this blog post, I could share one of the bigger things on my to do list; namely my appointment at the American Embassy here in Sweden for my J-1 visa.

When you apply for your visa, you have to really give it your full attention and set aside some time to do it. The application process takes about an hour to finish – and remember to copy your application code! I didn’t do that at first, and I had to re-do mine at least three times because the site would sometimes kick me out… Anyways, once that is done, you get an email with a code, so that you can apply for and eventually book an appointment.

My appointment was scheduled for towards the end of April, and my appointment was at 11 o’clock. It was one of the first really warm spring days here in Sweden, so I decided to walk from my bus stop to the embassy; all of the leaves on the trees had started turning green, the sun was shining and Stockholm was just waking up. It was a very relaxing thing to do to calm my nerves, haha.

I arrived – I think – about quarter past ten. Some people had warned me that I should come well in advance since there are sometimes a lot of people there. They were quite right. When I arrived, there was a queue in front of the embassy, and I stood there for about thirty minutes before getting called in for my security check. I had to show the inside of my bag, show the soles of my shoes and I had to walk through one of these metal detectors. It’s sort of like it is at airports with their security checks.

After that, I went into another building and had to give some of my papers to a man behind a counter that I think “signed me in”, and then I had to take a seat and wait again. After the security check I had to leave my phone since no one’s allowed to bring electronics inside of the building, but I brought a book with me – so it didn’t bother me. There were quite a lot of people there, and I think I sat there for about another half an hour before my number got called.

The interview itself consisted of four questions:

  • What are you going to do in the USA?”
  • “Where will you live in the USA?”
  • “How will you pay for this?”
  • “How long will you stay?”

I answered with maybe a sentence each? Then the guy at the window said: “Your Visa is approved.”, and I was done!

So all in all, it was a really long process. But something hit me in that line, like when the security guard greeted me with “ma’m”: It was then that reality kicked in.

I am going to live in America for twelve months, a full year!

I remember thinking that over and over again, while waiting in line. Only 39 days left, and then it won’t be just a dream, it will be my reality!

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