On the other side of the window
The second week of ConGen is Immigrant Visa (IV).
This is a subject I find particularly interesting because many years ago, I stood in front of a visa window much like the ones we have at FSI and waited as the consular officer adjudicated my IV application to come to the U.S. I never thought one day I’d be sitting on the other side of the window interviewing people to determine if they qualify for a visa…yet, this is exactly what I’m training for now and will soon be doing.
Looking back, I didn’t really understand at the time how that interview was going to change my life…all I knew was that I wouldn’t have to take my final exam if I were to leave for America — a pretty big deal in the mind of a 16 year old. And all I remember from the interview was the consular officer asking what my name was, what grade I was in and then he commented to my mother on how tall I was. He was friendly but spent most of the time flipping through our documents…and then he looked up, smiled and said “Congratulations, your application has been approved.” Just like that, it was over in less than 10 minutes.
I wonder what that officer’s name is and if he’s still in the service. Of course, he won’t remember me at all, but it would be great to connect with him and perhaps he would find it amusing that a tall skinny Chinese boy whom he gave a visa to years ago is now one of his colleagues.