Procedures and Regulations for UK Visa Applicants to United States of America


A number of immigration laws have been put in place to assist any individuals that wish to travel to the United States of America from the United Kingdom. This includes any person wishing to go to the USA as a national of UK or as a foreigner currently staying in the country.

Currently, the USA has two embassies in UK in the city of London where any person can go to regarding any immigration matter. Besides these two embassies, the USA also has several consulate offices across the UK which also deals in immigration related matters. These offices are located in the cities of Belfast, Cardiff, Scotland, Northern Island and Edinburgh. To find out more about Consulate Offices of USA that are located all around the world, you can visit the official websites.

Just as the United Kingdom has the Immigration Rules, which are a set of laws for applicants coming to the country and define regulations for different categories of visas (work visa, student visa, visitor visa, t1 visa UK, t1 entrepreneur, British investor visa or London investor visa etc.) certain policies and procedures to visit the United States of America also exist. These policies might vary depending on the category of visa the applicant is applying for. The visa category depends on the reason the applicant states for going to the USA. Also, these policies and procedures and the decisions taken on the visa depend on the home country of the applicant, which in this case would be UK, unless the applicant is a foreigner.

Is there any possibility under which a national of the United Kingdom might not require a visa to go to the United States of America?

Yes, a certain number of countries exist that do not require a visa to enter the United States, among which one of them is United Kingdom. These countries are part of a list that is titled as the ‘Visa Waiver Program’. Individuals applying from a country that falls in the Visa Waiver Program should note that they can only travel without a visa if the purpose of coming to the United States is for business, for pleasure or if the person is in transit. Countries that are in the Visa Waiver Program includes:

  • United Kingdom
  • Iceland
  • Switzerland
  • Denmark
  • The Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Andorra
  • Norway
  • Belgium
  • Luxembourg
  • San Marino
  • Australia
  • Finland
  • San Marino
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • New Zealand
  • Liechtenstein
  • Japan
  • Brunei
  • France
  • Ireland
  • Monaco

Other countries also included in the Visa Waiver Program, but citizens of these countries require an electronic passport (which is also called an e-passport) and are travelling for purposes that are business, pleasure or if they are transit. These countries are:

  • Czech Republic
  • Taiwan
  • Malta
  • Hungary
  • Slovakia
  • Estonia
  • Lithuania
  • The Republic of Korea
  • Greece
  • Latvia

Any person who holds permanent residence in any of the countries that have been listed above must also require a passport to have been issued to them after the 29th of December, 2008 or on that date. Also, the passport that has been issued must also have a National ID number.

 

If I qualify to travel in the USA without a visa based on the Visa Waiver Program. How long can I stay in the country visa free?

If any person qualifies for the Visa Waiver Program, they are allowed to stay in USA for a period of 90 days without a visa.

What are the requirements for any person who travels to USA from UK without a visa?

A person qualifying for the Visa Waiver Program and wishes to travel visa free must provide a return ticket that is valid when he / she arrives at the port of entry. Before boarding the flight for the United States, everyone that falls under this scheme must also go through the registration process by the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

What is the procedure for applicants who wish to stay for more than 90 days under the Visa Waiver Program or who hold any other passport?

If any person wishes to stay for a time that spans for more than ninety days under the Visa Waiver Program, or who holds a different passport, can visit the United States Embassy that is situated in London to apply for a visa. Individuals who wish to seek employment in USA, and are from the UK, must also visit the embassy to apply for their work visa. This implies that any person who has to apply for a visa at an embassy must appear in person and not through any third person. Although, if the applicant is under the age of fourteen or is older than eighty years of age, can send their visa application through a third party courier service such as DX Secure.

Do I need to schedule an appointment with the United States Embassy before I visit to apply for my visa application?

Yes, applicants are required to book an appointment with the embassy by calling the phone number 09042-450-100. If the call is made from inside the United Kingdom, the person calling will be charged 1.23 pounds per minute including additional charges for network extras. If the call is being made from outside of the United Kingdom (including some other mobile services), the number will not be accessed.  Operating hours for this number are between 8 A.M. to 9 P.M. from Monday to Friday, and from 9 A.M. – 4 P.M. on Saturday.

Applicants booking an appointment must remember that a fee known as MRV fee must be paid. The MRV fee is $160.00 while applications that are petition based (H, L, O, P, Q, R) cost a total of $190.00. Applicants wishing to go to USA from UK under the E-1, E-2 and the E-3 visa must submit a fee total of $270.00.

This fee can be submitted through a debit or a credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express). If in the case that the applicant is not paying for the fee themselves, the person paying the fee on the applicant’s behalf must be present during the call with the operator. This is so that the payment can be authorized by the person paying and his / her details can be confirmed.

For a specific number of countries, another fee known as the issuance fee also has to be paid so that the visa that has been approved can be given to the applicant. This issuance fee varies from country to country and is dependent on the fee that the applicant’s government has set the other way around. This means that the fee the applicant is paying for his / her visa to the USA is also being paid by a U.S. citizen who wishes to go the applicant’s country. The amount being charged has to be submitted to the cashier present at the U.S. Embassy. The fee being paid in cash can either be the equivalent of dollars or sterling. And if the fee is submitted through a credit card, the payment methods that the U.S. embassy has approved are MasterCard, American Express, Visa, Debit Card, Discover or Diners Club.

If in the scenario that the applicant can submit his / her visa through a third party courier service, and has to submit the issuance fee, can authorize the payment in advance before the visa application is submitted.

All applicants should be aware of the fact that in the case the visa application is denied, no fee will be charged on the holder of the credit card.

What if the applicant applying for a visa to the USA from UK is not a national of the UK?

If the applicant submitting his / her visa application at the United States embassy in London is not a national of the United Kingdom, he / she will be required to fill out another form. The form, which is for non-immigrants, is an electronic online form titled DS-160. This DS-160 can be accessed at the official web address given by the United States government as ceac.state.gov/genniv/

What is the next step after the appointment has been scheduled?

Usually about an hour after the applicant schedules an appointment with the United States Embassy, an email is sent that contains the time and date. The receipt of the MRV fee that the applicant paid is also sent in the email.

When the applicant arrives at the embassy, he / she must remember to bring the receipt of the MRV fee that was paid along with the Nonimmigrant Visa Interview Confirmation Letter as the guards at the gate will need to see them before they let you enter the embassy for the presentation.

What happens when you visit the United States embassy for your appointment regarding your visa application?

The applicant will be asked to submit his / her biometric information which includes scanning your fingerprints. An interview will also be held which will help the embassy officials determine the decision that should be taken regarding your visa application. During the interview, the applicant will need to prove his / her ties to the country where they hold permanent residency along with providing significant evidence regarding your financial stability regarding your stay and return from the USA.

Both the UK and USA have different immigration policies and procedures that vary from each other based on many factors. Just as the United Kingdom has different rules for different visa categories (work visa, student visa, visitor visa, t1 visa UK, t1 entrepreneur, British investor visa etc.) for United States applicants, the U.S. also has its own rules for U.K. applicants. Any person looking to research further regarding the procedure and regulations to go to the United States of America from the United Kingdom can visit the website of the U.S. Embassy.