Well big headed moi has been invited to lecture in Buffalo in the US. Not too sure if I am going, so I thought lets start at the visa end and see how the process works and which category I can apply under, costs etc.
Well to know anything about booking appointments at the US embassy London you need to call a 0903 number, this costs £1.30 per min + the costs of the network provider. Not only is there no other way to book an appointment apart from calling this number. This number once it rings will book you an appointment, take your details, and also a payment in advance for your Visa. Should you not get the Visa, they shall keep the money! So its the standard 131$ for the B-1 + about 60$ for the phone call!! And then maybe you shall get an appointment in time to get a flight..6-8 weeks min time, 3-6 months max time..and then also there might be a refusal at the end of it!!!
I mean hello? Do you want me to come? I will not bother with this process, the effort involved in applying for a US visa is not only too expensive but their approach is condescending and he dont-bother-to-come, we-dont-really-want-you-there attitude sucks. What if I dont have a phone from which I can make a call to this number. In which case the USELondon page says, ask your friends or family to make this call. They know this number is costly and most phones wont allow you to dial!! And then there is the non refundable fee!! Tch!
Other embassies for European nations also have these numbers, but you can book things online if needed, they will take longer but at least everyone should have access!!
I am sure someone should raise this as an issue to the Brit authorities, this is unfair trade, after all we are consumers/ customers, we are paying for a service, not a favour!! It makes my blood boil!
Too much I tell you! And when people ask me if I have been to the other side of the pond, I say NO! And I dont want to either, they recoil with shock. The No.1 nation, the freedom of America, its power, its glory..they dont attract you? I am asked.
Nay, says I, Nay. Nothing does! And this is without my even starting a rant about Bush!