USCIS (formerly INS) does this thing now that they call biometrics, where they take a digital photo and fingerprints for any of your immigration related things. Problem is not all of their offices can do the biometrics thing.
So yesterday, I had an appointment at the Charlotte NC ASC (Application Support Center) which was the closest place I could go for the biometrics thing for my EAD application. Charlotte NC is a 3 hour trip (200 miles). Here's how the day went.
0830: Drop the wife off at school and head out on the road to Charlotte.
1130: Arrive in Charlotte. The ASC wasn't too far off I-77, so it was pretty easy to find. Get in line, person says I need to come back closer to my appointment time. :P. Head off to find a place for lunch.
1230: Back at the ASC. Hand the person at the desk my paperwork and passport. She stamps it, paperclips them together and hands me a number. Go sit down and wait for staff to come back from lunch.
1330: My number finally comes up. Head over to the computer, right index finger gets smushed onto the fingerprint capturing thingy, then I sit down to get my picture taken.
1345: All done, processing person stamps my paperwork again, then tells me my card will be mailed.
1350: Fill up the car and head back home.
1700: Arrive back home.
Argh. Could have had all this done the old fashioned way in Charleston and had my EAD card right then and there. Instead, it was a 6 hour round trip for something that took 15 minutes to do. And I didn't even get my new card!
The fact that they can do all this stuff digitally is great though. I just wish it was available at their local offices so I don't have to spend the whole day travelling just get something that takes 15 minutes to do.