Last time we wrote about Little Sister, we had just been to the US Consulate in Hong Kong. We got several documents notarized and did our fingerprints which is a very detailed process involving ink and the perfect rolling from left to right of each finger – twice. We had a private appointment and were in & out of the Consulate in just two hours. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize we needed to go to the CIS office (Customs and Imigration Service) which is separate from the Consulate to file our 1-600A. Of coruse, the individual we needed was at home sick. We called back the next day and learned that we could not file in Hong Kong. We asked to file with the Consulate and have the documents sent via diplomatic pouch to Beijing, but this was not possible.
So…off to Bejing. On September 4th, we had our appointment with the Homeland Security Office in Beijing. Think small. Seriously small. The Ikea cafeteria children’s play area was larger than this Homeland Security Office. We had all our documents in order and handed them over. Then, we were told we would have to go the US Embassy to pay. The Embassy was 3 Beijing blocks away. No problem. We got to the Embassy and turned in all our belongings (except Schäfer) and went to the payment counter.
Now let me share this about the US Embassy in Beijing – they have a Starbucks. Yes, it’s true. It has it’s own little mini-building. My first thought was, “Homeland Security could fit there!” But I have no connections with powerful people, so I can not challenge their need for espresso versus my need for Homeland Security.
Once inside the Embassy waiting room, we waited for our number to be called. As we go to pay, we learned that you had to pay all in US dollars or all in RMB. We had half in each. So Shorel, beloved Hubs, ran (yes, ran) to the nearby ATM to grab more RMB. Meanwhile, the dearest Embassy worker informed me that they closed at 4pm, but they would keep the window open for us since our business was simple. She also offered to call the Homeland Security Office to see if they would let us back in since they also closed at 4pm. They agreed. thankyousomuch.
After payment, we taxied back to the Homeland Security Office and re-did our fingerprints because our Hong Kong form was not acceptable. More ink. Every finger rolled from left to right twice. Schäfer, at this point, was asleep in the sling. According to the powerful woman behind the single window, our paperwork would be sent to America on Friday and we should hear something from them in 4-6 weeks.
Goodness, we’re excited. One more document closer to Little Sister.