US Visas: A Trip to the US Consulate

Visa

So – getting a US visa when you have sponsorship from a company in the US isn’t too difficult.

While the company will organise the documentation for you (letters, LCAs), you still have to rock up to the consulate and attend an “interview.”

The US consulate in Sydney is located in the MLC building Level 10 (Martin Place). Here’s how the process worked for us:

1. We booked our interview online and paid the visa fee. 

From what I gathered after the process, morning appointments are way better than later times in the day. This is because queues / waiting times are shorter.

My advice would be to get the earliest appointment possible.

We booked about a week in advance and ended up getting an 8.45am slot.

2. We showed up at the consulate at about 8.30am. 

When you book, they tell you not to arrive more than 15 minutes before your appointment.

This is important, because otherwise they won’t let you in. (I saw another woman show up about half an hour early, and they told her she had to wait outside.) They’ll ask you what time your appointment is, then usher you through the door.

3. Security check. 

When we got in, the queue wasn’t too long (say 10 people) so this step took only about 5-10 minutes.

First, we had to show our passports and again tell them our appointment time. They ticked our names off against a booking list.

Next, we went through a security check, which is basically the same as when going through customs. We had our bags scanned, and had to remove all electronics, and everything metallic etc.

Some people were asked to take off their shoes, but thankfully we didn’t have to do this.

4. Bag check in. 

You leave your bag with security and they’ll give you a ticket to collect it after the interview. Since it was also raining that day, we had to check our umbrella in too.

5. LCA check. 

Next, we got sent to a desk next to security to have our documentation checked etc. Then, we had to take a seat and wait once again.

A few moments later, a security guard put us in the lift and we got sent up to the actual US consulate.

6. We got digitally fingerprinted. 

Wooo! I had never actually done this before. There was a short wait in another queue and then we had our passports etc. checked again, and they took our fingerprints.

We didn’t get asked any questions, except about whether we were married (yes) and about a previous passport that was lost. After that, we were then sent to wait in another queue.

7. The interview. 

From what we could tell, the people going on an e3 are in a separate queue to everyone else.

There was 1 guy in front of us, so we had to wait in this queue for about 10 minutes. The interview basically takes place at at standing window, like seeing a teller at the bank.

The guy was friendly enough, and we only got asked how long we had been married. Our visas were approved in less than 5 minutes and we were told they’d be sent to us via courier. ID-10096061 Visa approved

8. Visas showed up!  They told us 5 business days, but we got ours within a couple. They showed up by courier and we both had to separately sign for our passports. HIGH FIVE!! Time to book some flights…

(Images in this post courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net / bplanet / Stuart Miles)

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