Though the United States of America apply strict requirements to many countries in the world in order to permit their residents to enter, this is not the case when it comes to Britons.
The citizens of the United Kingdom are privileged regarding traveling to the US. They are part of the list of the countries the US applies the visa waiver system to, through which the visitors can apply online for a traveling authorization in order to be permitted to enter the US, by land, air or sea.
Do I Need a Visa For USA From UK?
If you are a citizen of the UK you are not required to apply for a visa for USA since the UK is one of the 40 countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program. British citizens, with the unrestricted right of permanent abode in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, have been part of this list since 1988.
However, all UK residents who do not hold citizenship of a country that is exempt from US visa and are not citizens of Canada or Bermuda are required to obtain a visa to travel to the United States.
This tool will help you determine whether you need to apply for a US visa in the United Kingdom:
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US Visa Application UK
After you have decided what type of visa for USA you need and you have collected the required documents, it’s time to apply.
To apply for US Visa in UK you will go through these simple steps:
- Fill in Form DS-160.
- Pay your application fee.
- Schedule visa interview.
- Compile the US visa document file.
- Attend the visa interview.
Fill in Form DS-160
You should complete the online application form DS-160 and then print the confirmation page. Take this page with you when you attend the interview.
The application form contains questions about personal information as:
- Full name
- Marital Status
- Date & Place of Birth
- Mobile number
- Passport number
- Passport book number
- Family information
- Work, etc.
You can fill the DS-160 form online through:
- the Consular Electronic Application Center, or
- with the help of specialized agents.
Pay your application fee and schedule the interview
The MRV Fee for visa applicants depends on the type of visa one applies for. The schedule is tiered as follows:
- MRV Fee – $160
- Petition Based Applicants (H, L, O, P, Q, R) – $190
- E-1, E-2 & E-3 visa applicants – $205
American Visa Application Requirements
After you have selected the visa type you need to apply for, you should start gathering the documents that are required for that US visa. The commonly required documents to apply for a visa for USA in the UK are as follows:
- Confirmation page of the application form DS-160. You can file the form DS-160 here. However, you could use the services of a third-party company such as VisaExpress to assist you with filing this form.
- Appointment confirmation page (if applicable).
- Passport. Valid for at least 6 months beyond your date of planned stay in the US. The passport must have at least one blank page in order to be able to affix visa.
- One US Visa photo. Of 5 x 5 cm size, taken within the last 6 months. If you have successfully uploaded a picture to the DS-160 application form, then you are not required to submit an additional photo.
- Previous US visas. If you have visited the US before with an older passport, then you shall take it with you on the day of the interview at the embassy or consulate.
- ACRO – which is a police certificate you should submit if you have ever been arrested, cautioned or convicted.
- Letter from a physician, if you have a medical condition that could have a bearing on your eligibility for a visa.
- Invitation letter, if applying for a B-2 visa.
- If you have ever been rejected for entry or deported from the US, you must also submit documents in this regard.
Although not a requirement it is highly recommended that you obtain a travel health insurance policy before visiting the United States. For more information about getting a US visa insurance, visit the article.
Attend the US Visa Interview in the UK
All applicants from the age of 14 to the age of 79 that apply for a USA visa from the UK, have to appear in person at the US consulate or embassy for the interview. Applicants under 14 and over 80 are eligible to apply by a courier.
Show up on time, since arriving too late may result with the cancellation of your appointment. Get yourself ready to be at the embassy or consulate where you apply for around two to three hours, because of the processes. Have all your documents with you, and nicely organized.
Before you attend the interview, the embassy/consulate staff will collect, data enter and examine your application documents. You will have to get your fingerprints scanned, and then you will have a few-minutes-short interview with a consular officer.
US Visa interview questions for applicants from the UK
There are also a couple of questions on security and background information which include the questions listed below:
- Have you ever been arrested or convicted for any offense or crime, even though the subject of a pardon, amnesty, or other similar action?
- Have you ever violated, or engaged in a conspiracy to violate, any law relating to controlled substances?
- Are you coming to the United States to engage in prostitution or unlawful commercialized vice or have you been engaged in prostitution or procuring prostitutes within the past 10 years?
- Have you ever been involved in, or do you seek to engage in money laundering?
- Do you seek to engage in espionage, sabotage, export control violations, or any other illegal activity while in the United States?
- Do you seek to engage in terrorist activities while in the United States or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities?
- Have you ever or do you intend to provide financial assistance or other support to terrorists or terrorist organizations?
- Are you a member or representative of a terrorist organization?
- Have you ever ordered, incited, committed, assisted, or otherwise participated in genocide?
Types of Visas for USA from UK
If you are entering the US for non-business or tourism purposes, then you will need to apply for a visa to USA even if you are a citizen of a VWP country. The US immigration authorities have established a number of visas depending on the reason behind one’s purpose to enter the country. The residents of the United Kingdom can apply for one of the types of visas as listed below:
B-1 Visa – US Business visa from UK
United Kingdom residents who are not eligible to apply for a travel authorization will have to apply for a B1 Visa. In order for one to be able to obtain this visa, he or she must fulfill the criteria listed below:
- Your business must be of a legitimate nature
- You plan to remain in the USA for a limited period of time
- You are financially capable to maintain yourself during the time you are staying in the US
- You have no intention of abandoning the UK and staying in the US a US A-2 visa
Under this visa, your spouse and children are not eligible to apply for a dependent visa.
B-1 Visa – Domestic Employee
This type of visa is for personal or domestic employees (cooks, nannies, butlers, chauffeurs, maids, gardeners, paid companions, etc.) who are accompanying or following an employer to the US. One of the most important requirements that the US authorities ask for in this case, is the documenting of a proper wage to the employee.
B-2 Visa – Holiday Visa for USA from UK
The B2 visa is established for visitors that plan to travel and experience the United States, visit family, friends or relatives, for holidays, or enter the country to seek medical treatment.
Those applying for this type of visa must show evidence that they have strong connections with the United Kingdom, and do not intend to stay in the USA.
To increase your chances of having a successful US Visitor Visa application from the UK you can use the services of VisaExpress.
C-1 Visa – Transiting the United States
If you have to pass through the United States en route to another country, but you are not eligible for a Travel Authorization, then you will have to apply for a C-1 Transit Visa. If you already hold a valid visitor visa, then you can use that one to transit USA.
D Visa – Crew Members working on air or sea carriers
You must hold a C-1/D visa if you work as a crew member at an international sea carrier or airline that travels from the UK to the USA.
A-1/A-2 Visa – Diplomats & Foreign Government Officials.
This type of visa applies to diplomats and other foreign British government officials entering the US with the purpose of engaging in official activities.
UK residents eligible for an A-1 visa:
- Head of UK government (Prime Minister), regardless of the purpose of travel
- Ambassador or Consul of the United Kingdom embassy or consulate in the United States
- UK government cabinet member or minister, traveling to the US with the purpose of engaging in official activities
- UK residents part of European Union delegation representatives
- Family members (spouse and unmarried sons and daughters) of a UK citizen, holder of a US A-1 visa
UK residents eligible for an A-2 visa
- A full-time employee assigned by the UK government to work at its embassy or consulate in the US
- UK government official visiting the US with the purpose of performing government related duties
- UK military members assigned to work at the UK embassy or consulate in the US, or stationed at a US military base
- UK residents, the staff of a European Union delegation representatives
- Family members (spouse and unmarried sons and daughters) of a UK citizen, holder of aUS A-1 visa
Keep in mind that aside of the Head of the government of the UK no other government official visiting the US for a non-official purpose is eligible for this visa type. Officials of local governments representing a local political entity are not eligible for this type of visa either.
A-3 Visa – Domestic Employee of an A-1/A-2 Visa holder
This is a visa established for the personal employees, attendants or domestic workers of the government officials and diplomats who hold a valid A-1 or A-2 visa.
US Visa Application Processing Time from UK
Successful applications take no more than three to five workdays to get approved, Despite that, sometimes the application processing may take up to 6 months or even longer. Your passport will remain at the embassy while your application is being processed. After the approval or rejection of your visa, the embassy or consulate will deliver your passport. You cannot collect your passport by yourself.
What to do in Case of US Visa Denial?
In case of US visa denial you will not be able to get your fee money back. However, you can still re-apply in the future by submitting a new application and paying the visa fee again.
In order for your application not to get rejected for the same reason again, you should present proof of changes in the circumstances since your previous application that got rejected.