Arriving in America, customs

After months of preparation I was ready to get going. On Saturday 8th September my parents drove me to Heathrow airport’s wonderful terminal 5. We checked in, which didn’t take long and then had lunch. It later took me just two minutes to get through airport security. This is what an airport terminal should be like. I got through security 80 minutes before my flight. Eventually I was on the flight after watching some wheelchair rugby on TV.

For once the flight went ok. I am usually not great at flying. While I am not particularly afraid of the plane crashing, I just get really bored and its not a pleasant experience. I usually find I run out of things to do after about four hours. This time I alternated between reading and watching tv shows and that made it go fairly quickly. Eventually we arrived in Denver.

I made the walk from the plane to customs at my usual high speed to try and get further forward for customs. In the end I was maybe thirty back in the queue. Eventually I got to the front of the queue and the moment I was dreading arrived. I explained why I wanted to come to America and was sent through to an interview waiting room where I was left sitting by myself. I then had to wait until the rest of my flight got through customs before an officer appeared to interview me.

I convinced the lady officer that I had money enough to survive on and that I wasn’t coming in to work and she was satisfied by that. In the end she got hung up on the fact that I had booked a flight that returned me in May, eight months from my flight date. She kept telling me that the maximum stay I was allowed was six months. Apparently I should have asked the guy at my interview in May how long I could stay for. I told her that I assumed because I had a year’s visa I would be able to stay for as long as I wanted in that period. Then she asked why I applied in May and only just got around to coming to America, I explained that I didn’t know how long the process would take and so wanted to get it done early. She then reiterated that she could only give me six months and that I really should have asked at the interview. I was thinking, well its two in the morning where I come from so I’ll just take that and go. She stamped my passport and I was allowed into the States with a leave to remain until early March. I’d already read that you can apply for extensions to that so I figure that is what I will do in January. Or I can just go to Canada for a few days or something.

My bag was waiting for me as I had been held up about twenty minutes and then I met my wife through customs. We headed back to her parents’ house stopping at Chipotle for burritos on the way. I explained my visa to her parents on our arrival and we agreed we would aim to extend it (it would only be an extra two months after all). The important thing is that I was in and the adventure could began.

And on the plus side they didn't ask if I was a member of the nazi party or if I had recruited child soldiers. Nor did I tell them that my furniture storage contract is null and void during either a civil or nuclear war…