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Topic: My B2 visitor Visa Experiences.

  1. #1

    Smile My B2 visitor Visa Experiences.

    I am writing here to try and boost peoples confidence in being successful when applying for visitor visas.
    I like many others booked my holiday prior to realising that i am barred from using the visa waiver programme because of my criminal record.
    Having realised this fact with less than 2 months until my holiday departure date I then went into full on panic mode about the whole thing.
    Having read the embassy websites doom and gloom tale of visas taking many months to come and possible medicals at embassy doctors clinics (I have a drink driving conviction 6 yrs ago) my immediate reaction was to try and cancel the trip as i believed that it would be nigh on impossible to get a visa in time.
    Having phoned virgin holidays and heard an even bigger doom and gloom tale about how much it would cost to cancel I decided that I had no choice but to get on and apply for the visa.
    So....... As time was short I paid the premium service to get my police certificate 70.00 and shelled out the $131 to the americans for the visa application.
    Having done this I then started to research the actual process of the application.
    Yet more tales of woe when I read of the connectivity issues of the DS160 application form and the exact specification required for my photo!
    Because a uk passport photo isn't deemed acceptable for the americans (they want one 50mm x 50mm) I quickly researched a list of photographers near where I live in yorkshire and set about finding out who could do such a photo.
    Having found a nice bloke in Leeds centre to sort my picture I soon realised this is not such a daunting requirement if you know the right person for the job.
    Having got my photo for 25.00 quid for 4 I was a little happier (although I have since found out you can get them a lot cheaper!).
    The embassy actually have a photo booth you can use however its a big risk to take if its not working as you can only get them on the day of your visa.
    When my police certificate arrived a day later I was now in a position to email the embassy my documents and wait for permission to apply.
    It said it could take up to a week for them to reply via email granting me permission to ring and get an appointment however I was very glad to get my reply within 24 hours.
    I was very surprised to find that the embassy could see me within a week and so I booked myself some train tickets to London for the day of my appointment at a cost of 140.00!
    On the day of my interview I dressed up in my best clobber and set forth for my big adventure down south!
    Having dumped my bag at kings cross station (8) as you cant take electricals like phones etc to the embassy i set off in search of grovesnor square.
    Arriving early I was a bit daunted by the que outside the embassy for the security but i figured its there for a reason and got in line.
    After a few document checks and a security scan I made it into the embassy where you are greeted by a receptionist who once again checks your documents and issues you with a ticket.
    On the ticket is a number that is assigned to you for the duration of your embassy visit.
    Having been told by the receptionist to proceed to the waiting room i did exactly that.
    On my arrival in the waiting area i realised it is very much as if a bank and a airport departure lounge have been mashed together! They have interview counters as you would have in a bank and big banks of tv screens calling up numbers in turn rather like a meat counter used to be like at supermarkets!
    Then came the waiting!! lots of it! - I waited for about an hour or so before my number came up and i proceeded to my window for my first interview.
    There wasn't any questions that were too probing at this stage I think this interview is more of a check against your online form and to have your fingerprints taken/ supporting documents submitted.
    That done I was told to do some more waiting. This seems to be a key American theme - HURRY UP AND WAIT! lol.
    After a couple of nervous hours waiting I was called for my second interview.
    This interview was a lot more probing they asked me questions about both of my convictions (drink driving and criminal damage caution) and about my finances/ plans to return to the UK.
    One word of advice here is go prepared knowledge really was key take as much documentation as you can for instance I took things such as bank statements, employment letters, university letters,mortgage details, birth certificates and driving liscence ALL of which were looked at closely by the consular official. The top and bottom of it is they can refuse you on the basis of lack of evidence to return to the UK so be prepared.
    Having had ten minutes of questioning I was accepted for my visa and felt like I had just won the lottery!!!
    I couldnt wait to get to the couriers desk and shell out another 14.50 to enable me to have my passport and visa returned to me.
    Having done that I rushed to Kings cross station to retrieve my bag so that I could ring my equally nervous missus and let her know of my success.
    The visa took about 3 working days to arrive and I am now looking forward to my hols.
    All said and done it has taken a month in total and a hell of a lot of money but i now have a 10 year multiple entry visa so hopefully it will be a while before I have to go through it again!
    Sorry about the marathon essay!
    Good luck to everyone I hope this has lifted peoples spirits if they are in a similar situation.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    0 Post(s)


    Very good to hear, Steve, and really pleased it all worked out well for you. Hopefully you can now REALLy look forward to your hols!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Orlando, FL
    0 Post(s)


    Very happy to hear you're all set for your holiday! While everyone's visa experience is different, it's good to hear that yours went well.

    You do make a good point about the photos, though. The UK doesn't accept photos made to US standard, either (which we learned the hard way when Simon had to renew his UK passport), so it's important to know what the country in question's requirements are.

    PS: I had to laugh at your comment about "Hurry up and wait". No idea why anyone thinks this is an 'American' phenomenon, but it did make me laugh in light of various overseas trips we have taken.

  4. #4


    Thanks for the messages. Perhaps I was a little specific there with the hurry up and wait quotation perhaps its catching on worldwide lol!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    0 Post(s)


    A brilliant result and very well done for perseverance on something that should have been deemed spentenjoy all the more

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Northern England
    0 Post(s)


    Thanks for posting your experiences Leeds Steve, I'm sure that it will help other people in similar circumstances.

    And of course you can plan away happily.

    What plans do you have?
    91/92/95HI MGE;97NYC/Cali/Ariz/Chicago;98St.Petes Bch/Hyatt K'mee;00C'water Bch/Dixie Landings;02South'n Dunes;05Ft.Myers/Keys/Ft Lauderdale/BW LBV;06Indian Ridge;07Ind. Ridge;08Sanibel/Ind. Ridge;09Sarasota/Ind. Ridge;10Sanibel/Ind. Ridge;11Ind. Ridge;12Sanibel/West Haven;13West Haven;14Sanibel/West Haven;15Sanibel/West Haven;15West Haven;16Panhandle tour/Ashley Manor;16Loma Linda;17Sanibel/Loma Vista;18Gulf Coast/St Ag/West Haven;19Sanibel/Venice Beach/West Haven

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    0 Post(s)


    Glad everything went ok and your visa was granted and recieved so quickly

    Just wish, for all applicants, it was such a speedy service,
    I know all cases are different, but we have heard about a 'slow' case this week.
    Regardless of the decision, there should be a time limit, so people dont spend weeks or months worrying.

    Sorry will get off my soapbox.:o

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Gomersal, United Kingdom
    0 Post(s)


    hi leeds steve

    good to hear you got your visa mine was very similar to yours but cheaper my photo cost only 5 for two i also steered away from the train because of the cost so drove to the wembley travellodge 24 for the night with breakfast then a stroll down to hangar lane for the tube in.

    i also had the more probing questions at the first window the second guy was really nice but like you idid a lot of digging for info more stuff you take with you the better.

    but the feeling of euphoria when they say they have granted you 10yr visa

  9. #9


    Well done, very pleased it worked out for you.
    For those who have more time before their hols, we also got the train to London, advance ticket Manchester to London - 11 each. We stayed overnight at Travelodge Euston again advance booking - 30 for the room. The train home was a little more expensive at 27 each but still not bad.
    For the nervous waiting partner, the embassy is right near all the shops so you can lose yourself in Selfridges while you wait. (window shopping of coarse, there is a Primark across the road for bargain hunters like me)
    The main thing is your application was succesful, yay!!!

  10. #10


    Yes New York here I come, although as people have said it's a shame I din't have more time as I would have saved money on the application process.
    I know one thing and thats im going to use this visa as much as possible in the next 10 yrs!
    I have honeymoon to plan next yr and I think we will be heading across the pond for that now...... Just where is the next problem to solve!

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