A few weeks ago I went to my visa appointment at the brand new US Embassy in London and, while the process is pretty much the same as it’s always been, there are a few little differences, so I thought I’d do an update on what to do when you get there and how it all works so your visa appointment can run just as smoothly as mine did.
Make sure you have all your documents sorted before you leave home! You will need:
- Appointment confirmation (this is the one with barcodes on)
- Visa payment receipt (this will be emailed to you, or you can print it from your embassy account)
- DS160 confirmation page (the one with your photo on it)
- DS2019 form (please check your name, DOB and other info are all correct when you receive this from your agency)
- SEVIS I-901 receipt (you will either receive this from your agency or they’ll give you instructions on how to print it)
- Your passport
- US visa photos (2×2… you can get them from any ‘Photo Me’ booth around London)
- Some sort of proof you will be returning to the UK at the end of the summer e.g. letter of student status, employment letter, return flights etc.
Take the tube to Vauxhall. It’s on the Victoria Line (the light blue one). There are buses you can get too but I always think the tube is the most convenient and reliable. Take Exit 1 or 4 out of the station and input ‘US Embassy, 33 Nine Elms Ln, London SW11 7US’ into your maps. If you take Exit 1, you get a lovely walk along the river. The walk from Vauxhall takes approx 10 minutes, depending on how fast you walk! Try to arrive about 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
Go around the building to the South Pavilion at the back and you’ll see a glass building with a little red gazebo outside. Go to the desk under the gazebo and give them your appointment confirmation and DS160 page. Then you’ll go through airport-style security. Note: you can take phones, tablets, small bags etc in with you, but not laptops or big suitcases, so leave those at home or with parents/friends.
Once through security, follow the signs into the building and join the queue for ‘Non-Immigrant’ visas. Once you get to the front desk, give them your passport and they’ll put a sticker with a number onto it, then tell you to take the lift to Level 1.
When you come out of the lift, take a seat in any chair you like and keep your eyes on the screens for your number to come up. When your number comes up, it will also tell you which window to go to. Go to the window and give them your passport, DS160 confirmation page, DS2019 and SEVIS I-901 and 2×2 photo. They’ll check your documents then ask to scan your fingerprints, before giving your documents back to you in a plastic folder.
Then you’ll sit back down and wait for your number to come up on the screens again. This bit took a while when I was there, but it’ll just depend on how busy they are. When your number comes on the screen again, go to the relevant window and hand them the plastic folder with your documents in. This is the actual ‘interview’ part. They’ll ask you a variety of questions ranging from, ‘What camp are you going to?’, to ‘What’s your job at camp?’, to ‘What are your plans after camp?’. But it’s nothing to worry about. They basically just want to determine that you are going to America for a legitimate job and that you won’t be trying to stay there once the summer ends.
They’ll tell you there and then if your visa has been approved and will say something like, ‘Your passport will be delivered to your chosen location in about a week’. And that’s that. You can leave with a smile on your face, knowing that you’re on your way to America for the best summer ever!
Now go enjoy a day out in London!
As always, if you have any questions about the visa application process or interview, don’t hesitate to get in touch!