February 2020, that’s when I started getting all my documents together for this journey. Government appointments, needles (it was just the one i’m exaggerating), doctors consent… and that is all before you even start on the visa application. I wanted to start as early as I could; 1. because I like to be organised, 2. because it was a holiday and I actually had time. Working as a full time teacher equates to not having too much free time during a regular week, especially if you need to attend appointments.
An unexpected long wait,
First on my list was my criminal background check as it needed 10 business days (max) to be processed. Before going to the local governments office I needed to fill in part of a multiple page form and check the rest (ALWAYS CHECK… on one of my friends forms her name was spelt wrong). I got there 5 minutes early, so naturally 30 minutes later it was my turn. I even sent a ‘I can’t believe i’m still waiting selfie to my friend group’.
When I got up to the booth I thought ‘okay, quickly give them my form and leave, head home, make dinner’. Nope. The computer system scanner thing (no idea 🤷🏽♀️ ) was not working and they had to fill it in on the computer again by hand. Imagine a computer novice that has just learned to type with two fingers sitting behind the computer. Yes, I had that employee. So that added another 20 minutes onto the what would have been a 10 minute trip. Three days later I received my background check in the post which was approved.
Next was the ‘mantoux test’ as I needed to get that before my medical check at the doctor. So on the Tuesday of my holiday (at 8 a.m.😱 ) I was waiting for the test which will tell them if I have ever had tuberculosis (TBC). I had to pay first, obviously, which I did using apple pay which resulted in me giving the curious lady behind the counter a mini tutorial on how to use it. After that I was whisked away to be injected with a tiny amount of TBC in my forearm, to come back three days later when they would read the results. Which were negative. I could have told them that from the start but alas, I now had my form to go to the doctor for her to sign my health check.
I was looking forward to the doctors appointment the least, you know how long it can take in the waiting rooms. They had to fill in a form to say that I was completely healthy and that I had all my inoculations when I was younger. However, it was the quickest, easiest thing ever. They were right on time. Check, check, check, stamp, signature, done. And I left with a ‘have fun during your year in America’ within 10 minutes of having stepped foot in the building.
With all of this I only needed to sign the au pair agreement contract and send it to Cultural Care. I did that the next day and the following week I was sent information to apply for my J1 visa.