Had visa interview this morning (Paris Embassy) and was granted. Passport coming back end of week.
Recap: 2 arrests - 1 caution for D&D in 2005, 1 for ABH in 2010 which resulted in 10-week tag, 260 hours community service, £400 fine from Magistrates.
I applied for B1/B2 visa from US Embassy in Paris, as currently at university in France. Filled in standard visa application, whereby I declared both caution and conviction. I also got ACPO certificate but this is not mandatory for visas from France. Booked appointment online, and turned up with confirmation of payment, Stamped Addressed Envelope, photos, etc.
Arrived at 0730 (smartly dressed in suit and tie!), given a number, and gave all docs for registration. about
20 mins later, was called to a screen with US immigration officer. There was no private room, just a rank of booths not unlike a bank branch. She asked me what I was doing in France, what I wanted to go to the US for, and how was I going to finance it. I gave her a copy of my uni course confirmation, and my bank statements.
She then asked me to give more detail about
the 2 arrests / convictions which I did, and also handed over the ACPO certificate. After she tapped away on a computer for a bit, she then said "I just have to go and check something", and 5 minutes later she came back and said, "Everything is fine, and you'll get your passport back with the visa in 2-3 days".
Total time at Embassy - 1 hour. Obviously there will be some minor procedural differences between Paris and London, but the key takeaway is that the system can work, and the bureaucracy not be so bad. Clearly it's not all quite there, as I won't believe the final hurdle is overcome until I set foot on American soil. It's a major weight off my mind, however.
As for a "thinking outside the box" option, I can't see any reason per se why Paris might not be just as good a place to apply for a visa as London.
Post Edited (d211q2) : 28/10/2013 12:50:07 GMT