The implementation of the Great American Road Trip has now started in earnest beginning with our US B1/B2 visa application. As the planning progresses I will try and keep the blog up to date to inform others as to what they may need to do and costs etc of undertaking a trip like this.
The start date has moved forward to April 10th for a variety of reasons and the itinerary has changed somewhat from the original posts but more on that in later blogs. Flights are booked and the first hurdle is the US Embassy and our visas.
It is a three stage process:
- Apply on line and make a DS160 submission.
- Create an account and schedule an interview at the US Consulate of your choice
- Attend the interview and hopefully receive the visa and passports back.
We have achieved the first two and below is a summary of what we discovered as they don’t make this process particularly easy as the website is not incredibly informative.
Before you start your application you will need a 2″ x 2″ photo for each person travelling. You will need to scan this and you will get the opportunity to ensure it meets with their requirements. We did ours at the local ASDA – £7 and delivers 4 US Visa style photos. Have the photo scanned and ready to upload when required during the application process. You will also need your passport and you need to set aside at least 45 minutes to an hour to complete the initial process for a couple of people.
As part of the process you also need to either have the name of a friend or relative and their address and email in the US or the exact details of where you are staying or who you are visiting – you can’t get through the process without that information as part of your submission.
The application website is here. Follow the instructions to start an application – you also need to have a printer available as the system will give you a summary of all your responses and most importantly a reference number and document to follow up your application which includes a barcode.
If more than one of you is travelling, at the end of the first submission you should select the option to continue with a family application – this saves time as some of the detail is already completed for you. When you have finished you should have a print out and it will say form DS-160 submitted.
I was surprised not to get any email confirmation or other contact following the submission. I expected the process to simply proceed from there. It does not! The ball is still very much in your court as you now need to go to this website, you may think you already have an account – you do not, you need to create an account and then step through a process of paying for your Visa (I paid £395 for two adults and one child) and scheduling an appointment. You will need the documents you printed earlier and in particular the various reference numbers.
We were offered plenty of options in terms of interview dates but annoyingly for us all times were in the morning and as we are travelling from Yorkshire for our interview this means more expensive trains.
Next follow up to this post will be after we have had the interview which will be in November.