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American Visa Application

By Val Ellis last modified Jan 15, 2009 03:20 PM

Published: 2009-01-15 15:20:26
Countries: USA

I will be flying to the USA to join a yacht on which I will then depart for the Caribbean. To help other crew planning the same thing - I have outlined the process I went through with the London, UK US Embassy.

I first called the US Embassy, (UK 09042 450100) to make an appointment.
- Appointment date and time given (had to pay $131.00 for the appointment (non-refundable).
- As soon as appointment made an e-mail is sent with receipt and confirmation of the appointment. You need to print them both out to take to interview.
- You also have to complete on-line a DS-156 form and print it out to take to interview.
- You will also need an American sized passport photo to take with you.
- They also ask you to take with you supporting documents; i.e. bank statement, proof that you have a house in the UK (a reason to return to UK), letter from employer. It is anything to prove that you will not overstay your visit and a reason for returning to UK and that you have sufficient funds to support yourself. I had a letter from the yacht skipper saying what we were doing and why I was going to US and that I would also be leaving to go on to Antigua. They only saw the letter and did not ask for any other documents, so obviously that was enough to satisfy them.

All details of what to bring to the interview, photo size, etc. can be found on their web-site.

My visa was granted for 1 year and is multiple entry, but I don't know yet if it will be a B1 or a C1D type. They told me on the day I was granted the visa and it should take 3 days to process and then they Fed Ex it the next day. You pay Fed Ex at the Embassy and can pay as much or as little as you like depending on the service you require.

I had one quick interview and was finger printed to check I wasn't on the most wanted list and then I sat and waited 3 hours for my interview. The time bore no resemblence to the time on my interview letter. My interview was basically to tell me I had the visa. There were some people there who were refused for one reason or another.

I also asked about the new ESTA form and was told that you only need to complete that if you have a visa waiver form. If you have a visa you do not need to complete the other documents.

Judy Fisk