Tuesday 25th October 2016                 Change text size:

Where To Apply For A US Visa

US flag By jnn1776 via Flickr

The United States of America has a strict Visa Policy that states that any foreign national wishing to enter the country must obtain a permit (visa) to travel, enter and remain in the United States. The most common kind are the B-2 visitor visas for anyone travelling to the US temporarily for tourism.

When applying for your US visa you can arrange an appointment to apply at the US Embassy in London or the Consulate General in Belfast. Either post is available to anyone who resides in the UK regardless of their nationality of status. You can also apply by courier to the Embassy if you reside in England, Wales or Scotland, but Northern Irish residents must submit their courier applications to the Consulate General.

For ease and efficiency you can also apply online via professionals who will thoroughly check your application, and make the process simpler. You can generally receive your ESTA faster this way, and once approved, you will be able to travel to the US within a two year time frame.

In some cases, applicants ages 14-79 may be required to attend the Embassy for a face to face interview with a consular officer. In this instance you will be required to bring your appointment confirmation letter with you. Te interview itself takes only a few minutes, but be prepared as you may have to wait at the Embassy for a couple of hours. The interview staff will review your application ahead of the interview and will need to take a set of your fingerprints to be electronically scanned.

Children under 14 are not usually required to attend a visa interview and are also eligible to apply via courier. When you’re applying for a visa you can bring your child’s completed application with you to your interview. For any concerns or queries you can contact the Visa Appointment Service for further assistance and information.

It usually takes 3-5 working days for successful applications to be processed, your passport in then handed to the courier for delivery and you should allow a further two working days for delivery. Unfortunately, it is not possible to collect your passport from the Embassy or Consulate in person.

Issuing or processing times of your visa cannot be guaranteed, therefore it is recommended that you apply as far ahead of time as possible, particularly in peak travel seasons, in order to avoid disappointment. It is advised that you don’t book non-refundable travel tickets until you have been issued your ESTA visa and are in receipt of your passport.


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