Nonimmigrant Visa Processing At US Embassy, London

Things You Must know


Any person who is physically present in the United Kingdom may apply for a visa at the U.S. Embassy in London. The Embassy is located in Central London, and is easily accessible from London’s major railroad stations by taxi, bus, or tube (subway). The Embassy in London is responsible for issuing both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas to residents of the United Kingdom. The Consulate General in Belfast issues only nonimmigrant visas covering visits for tourism, business, work or study, but does not issue Treaty Trader/Investor (E Category) visas or Fiancee (K Category) visas. Further, the Consulate General in Belfast also does not issue immigrant visas. The Consulate General in Edinburgh, Scotland and the Welsh Affairs Office, Cardiff, Wales do not process any type of immigrant or nonimmigrant visas.

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Nonimmigrant Visa Processing

The following provides information on visa requirements for travelers to the United States who wish to visit, work or study for a temporary period. The type of visa required will depend on the purpose of your travel. Many travelers seeking to enter the U.S. for business or tourism for less than 90 days will be eligible to travel to the United States visa-free under the Visa Waiver Program.

Personal Interview And Waivers of Interview

Due to increased screening processes and biometrics necessitating fingerprinting requirements, most applicants are required to schedule an appointment for an interview with a U.S. consular officer.

You may be granted waiver from the personal interview and be allowed to mail in your visa application if you satisfy the following conditions:

1.You are under the age of 14; or

2.You are applying for diplomatic (A-1 & A-2) and International Organization (G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4) or NATO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 visas; or

3.You are an accredited official applying for a C-3 visa; or

4.You are aged 80 and over and:

a.are U.K. or E.U. passport holder, or have been granted indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom from the U.K. government; and

b.are not ineligible to receive a visa; and

c.have not been refused a visa under Section 214(b), or if refused, the refusal has been overcome; and

d.have not been denied entry into or removed from the United States; and

e.were not born in nor do you hold a passport from North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Sudan, Iran or Libya

Scheduling An Interview

You may schedule an appointment for an interview by calling the Operator Assisted Visa Information Service on 09055-444-546 Monday through Friday, between 8.00 am and 8.00 pm, and Saturday, between 9.00 am and 4.00 pm. Calls to this line are charged at £1.30/min from BT landlines, but some mobile and network providers may charge more. In addition, callers from outside the United Kingdom and some mobile and network providers cannot access this number. Applicants outside the United Kingdom should have a relative, friend or colleague in the United Kingdom call on their behalf.

In case you have an urgent need of travel, you should identify the nature of the emergency when calling the Live Operator Service.

Family or married couples applying for visas at the same time may schedule one appointment per family or couple. All others must schedule individual appointments. Your child under the age of 14 is not required to appear in person for the interview. You may bring his/her application, passport and other documents along with you, at the time of your interview.

Forms, Fees And Supporting Documents

All nonimmigrant visa applicants, even children and babies listed in parents’ passports, are required to submit the required forms and documents.

Application Forms: All visa applicants must submit Form DS-156, Nonimmigrant visa application. All male applicants aged 16 to 45 must also complete the Form DS-157. This form is also required of any applicant aged 16 or over who was born in or holds a passport from Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria.

Passport: A passport or other travel document valid for at least 6 months from your planned date of departure from the U.S. is required. This requirement does not apply to United Kingdom passports. The passport must have at least one blank page.

Photograph: One recent color or black and white photograph taken within the last six months is required of all applicants, including babies. The photograph should be:

  • Taken within the last six months
  • 2 inches (50mm) square, with the head centered in the frame. The head (measured from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin) should measure between 1 & 1 3/8 inches (25mm to 35mm) with the eye level between 1 & 1/8 inch to 1 & 3/8 inches (28mm and 35 mm) from the bottom of the photograph
  • In color, or black and white against a white or off white background. Photographs taken in front of busy, patterned or dark backgrounds are not acceptable
  • Unmounted, full face, with the face covering about 50% of the area of the photograph. In general, the head of the applicant, including both face and hair, should be shown from the crown of the head to the tip of the chin on top and bottom, and from hair-line side-to-side. It is preferable that the ears be exposed
  • Head-coverings are acceptable only when the applicant’s face is completely exposed
  • May contain a small (one quarter inch) white border on one side

If the photograph does not meet required standards, you may have to leave the consulate grounds to have a new photograph taken before the visa interview can proceed. You must affix the photograph firmly to the space provided on the DS-156. In case you need to staple the photograph, place the staples on the edge of the photograph, not in the middle of it, as the photograph will appear on the visa.

Visa application fee: Every visa applicant is required to pay a visa application fee of $100.00 or sterling equivalent which currently equates to £60.00. Payment must be made in cash at a bank using the Embassy supplied paying-in slips. The fee cannot be paid at the Embassy. The visa application fee may be paid at any bank in cash. If paid through Barclays Bank, no additional charges apply. Other banks may assess an administrative charge. Each individual must pay a fee even if he or she is traveling with others on the same passport. You should request a paying-in slip when scheduling the appointment for the visa interview.

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Processing Time

Routine visa applications take approximately 5 workdays to process. In case you tick yes to any of the boxes under point no. 38 on your DS-156 application form, your visa processing may take considerably longer and you can expect to wait a minimum of 14 to 16 weeks before being advised of the outcome of your application. Box 38 contains questions related to prior convictions, refusals on account of fraud, violations of terms of visa, affliction with communicable diseases etc.

If you are advised at the time of the visa interview that your application will require additional administrative processing, you should allow at least 60 days for this stage of the application to be completed. However, the processing times mentioned above are approximate and cannot be guaranteed. Thus, you should schedule your visa interview much in advance from the date of your intended travel to the U.S.

The Visa Interview

Incomplete forms, lack of documents or failure to pay the visa application fee may result in the cancellation of the appointment. You must ensure that you complete the visa application forms and pay the visa application fee before the scheduled interview and that you bring all supporting documents with you on the day. You must also carry the letter of confirmation of your scheduled appointment for presentation to the security guards at the gate.

You must review all the forms and supporting documentation and be prepared for the questions to be asked by the Consular officer. You should be confident in answering questions related to the purpose of your travel, duration of your visit, your present job and family ties to the United Kingdom etc.

For More Assistance

In case you need further assistance in your visa processing, please contact us. We also recommend you to view the following videos containing two mock interview sessions on how to handle interview at the consulate.

Mock Interview 1 (Windows Media File)

Mock Interview 2 (Windows Media File)

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