Finally, it’s arrived. SMS delivered my passport with matching i-visa today. They didn’t text me, like they promised, but they did leave a note when they tried to deliver it last Friday and found I was out. Fortunately, I could use their lovely web site to reschedule a delivery for today – they even managed to miss all my interview times, which is a bonus with deliveries. The delivery guy was more interested in avoiding being clamped than asking for my ID, despite the great big “Identification required” sticker on the envelope, but you can’t have everything.
It looks the same as the last one, right down to the black-and-white photocopied passport photo look they gave that photo I’d spent ages trying to get. At least they’re consistent, hey?
Thankfully, I won’t have to do that again for another five years. Yey!
You have to climb up 17 flights of stairs to get there, but once you’re in, everything’s very simple. You go in, say you’d like a US i-visa photo, they stick you on a chair, give you a minute and a mirror to prepare yourself, then take the photo. If you like it, they print out a couple (for £5.95; it’s £11.95 for four) and off you go. I reckon the whole process took about five minutes, including getting a receipt.
Today, though, was the date of the interview down at the US embassy. I set that up last week, so there’s clearly not much of a backlog.
At current exchange rates, the $100 fee for the visa interview will cost you £57 or so, but it’ll soon be heading towards a straight 1-1 $ to £ conversion by the time you’ve finished your premium rate call to set up the interview: looking at my recent Onetel bill, the call lasted seven minutes, for which I was charged £9.24.
The interview itself was remarkably easy. The hardest part was getting to Grosvenor Square by 8am. Read on for details of the interview itself.
Transport for London used to have a nifty Palm OS app that allowed you to download train timetables to your PDA. It was a bit limited: you could only have a single route and a set range of hours, making it a bit useless in practice. No wonder TfL withdrew it.
So I’m delighted to discover [via Digital Lifestyles] Fahrplan, available from Deutsche Bahn. Type in as many routes into the web site as you like, for whatever time periods you want, and the site will produce timetables in Palm and other formats. Download the free viewer and you’re sorted. And yes, it works with UK train stations. Amazing.