According to the signed contract, we have to be in the United States by the beginning of April 2019. There was a common intention, but one crucial thing was still uncertain: if we don’t get the visa, everything could be lost.
The visa application was initiated by the US employer. We were required to have an L-1A employee visa and an L-2 (dependent) spouse visa. We received the necessary papers by express mail, and then we had to take care of the matter in Hungary. We filled out the DS-160 form based on our information and waited to be invited for the interview. But since this did not happen, we looked into the matter after a week and asked for an appointment ourselves. We got an appointment for the 7th of March, 2019, after paying the fee, which was 2 x $75 at that time. That meant two and a half weeks of waiting.
The website was not always clear on which requirements apply to which visa. E.g., is a medical examination required before the interview? So we called the consulate to clarify the issues. At that time, among other things, it became known that the application (DS-160) had to be submitted separately for each person. Even though, Csibi had already given my data in his own application. This was important because the procedure fee has to be paid again if documents are missing at the interview. A new appointment must be requested; everything delays and the April start becomes questionable.
A special-size photo is required for the application. But as it turned out, you can also do this on the spot; you just have to take cash with you (500 HUF - at least in early 2019).
The big day has come. We were confused about how to dress for this interview. We have chosen classic interview clothing. Then we saw that the jeans and t-shirt combination would have been okay too. Anyway, we were dressed nicely. 😄
The interview took place at the US Embassy in Budapest. Although we had an appointment, we were admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. The entrance - which is not yet the main building, but where only the security check takes place - can be entered individually. The controls are about as strict as at the airport (metal detector, belt, keys, telephone, water, etc.).
We waited for each other inside the building and handed over the necessary papers at the front window. Most of the documents requested in advance were not required anyway.
After that, the visa application fee had to be paid at one of the counters, which was $500. Then they took a fingerprint at another counter, and we waited for the consul. Chairs were lined up in the waiting room, and everyone watched what was going on at the windows.
Passports landed at the consul in order of arrival, but he called people in any order. Everyone was excited about what he asked. We were also very excited because we didn’t know what to expect.
We received the stamp after a few questions when it was finally our turn. And what did you ask us? We mainly talked about professional things and then about casual topics. He was interested in whether we had already been to the US, whether I speak English. We were also talking about who got married where. He was an amiable and funny man. It was a shame to get upset because it really was just a friendly short chat.
The whole process took just over an hour. In the end, the consul took our passports and said that the visa would be ready in a few days that we could pick up at another address in Budapest.
We got the visa for three years.
After the interview, we could finally breathe a sigh of relief because all obstacles were finally cleared from our way. We thought it would be easier from now on, but the good came after.
After realizing what had happened, we started to end our lives in Hungary.
We only had three weeks left for that.