Hi all, this is my first time posting but I thought I'd tell you of my recent experience at the new embassy.
First a bit of history...
I'm in my mid fifties and in the early 90's I managed to get myself a hefty drug problem and long story short, I ended up getting myself a 5 year prison sentence for conspiracy to supply a class A drug. Going to prison saved my life and I managed to turn my back on that part of my life, got completely clean and have never been in any kind of trouble since. A few years later I then became a mother (late starter at 40).
Fast forward to 2017. myself, my partner and daughter all wanted to go to America to watch the total eclipse and travel the roads from Vegas to Yellowstone. First up, I needed to apply for a Visa - I researched everything I needed to know and was totally honest on my visa application. We went to the old embassy and saw a lovely man who fully understood that this episode just covered a couple of years of my life and fully understood that I was now an upstanding citizen. He supported my application and recommended that it be accepted. 6 months later, I got my visa!! We were so excited and off we went on our travels on what proved to be the best holiday ever.
Fast forward again to November 2019, we decided that we want to do a similar trip so off we went to the travel agents and booked an 18 day Vegas/ travelling trip for mid 2020. THEN applied for a visa. To my surprise there were no immediate spots open to go down for an interview and the first available were in January. That's cutting it fine I thought but was confident that we'd still get it back in time. Cut to January and we both booked a day off work to start the long journey down ot the other end of the country. We got to the new embassy in plenty of time but had to wait an age to get in as there had been problem with the IT system. Anyway got in to the first clerk who took my prints and asked me for my docs as a few basic questions, then went to wait for my interview. I waited about an hour then got called to a window and not a booth as I'd always gone into before. That's when my nightmare began. I didn't have an interview at all, this really rude American just asked me all the questions he already knew the answer to (in a really loud voice that everyone could hear). He asked what therapy I used to give up drugs, I said that prison was all the therapy I needed and that I used the sentence to change my life and as I'd never been a criminal before using drugs, it was easy for me to go back to my old 'clean' life. Well he wasn't having this at all and said that he didn't believe that I could just stop and therefore I must still be using!! I kept reminding him that this was over 20 years ago and it just wasn't my life any more. I told him that I'd already been given a visa with no problems just a couple of years before and he just kept saying that he didn't believe me!! The upshot of it was that he refused my visa under section 221(g) - basically that I wasn't suitable to be given a visa!! There was one spark of hope when he said that I could possibly get one if I went for a drug test - I said certainly, which way do I go - and he said that I'd have to make an appointment with a visa medical place in another area of London!! I was now panicking as I knew we'd have to go down to London again on another day. We'd spent £300 at this point for the visa, the police certificate and petrol. I went out to my partner and broke my heart, I never in a million years thought I'd be denied a visa after receiving one so easily the first time around. Anyway I phoned this medical place, then discovered that this examination costs £405 and tests for everything from TB to VD, with blood tests, chest x rays and urine tests and you need all your medical notes from your doctor - how bloody humiliating!! We hummed and ahhd about whether to go and eventually cancelled our trip, losing our £300 deposit. We've now lost £600 and all our travel plans are in tatters. I'm so devastated and just wanted to warn other would be travellers so they don't make the same mistakes as I did.