5 FAQs for Obtaining a Nonimmigrant US Visa in the United Kingdom

Here are a few questions and answers to better acquaint yourself with the process of obtaining a nonimmigrant visa for the US in the United Kingdom -

  • Who needs a visa? Anyone who is not traveling to the US visa free with the ESTA Visa Waiver program (please see here for more info), or who is not exempt from the visa requirement (please see here for more info), or whose registration has been denied under ESTA. There are two visa categories in US immigration - immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. Immigrant visas are issued to those who wish to live in the US permanently and nonimmigrant visas are issued to those who have a permanent residence outside the US but who need to reside (and work/study/etc) in the US on a temporary basis. This list of FAQs will therefore focus on the process of obtaining a nonimmigrant visa in the United Kingdom.
  • Where should you apply? In the United Kingdom, the US Embassy in London is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to qualified residents from the whole of the UK. Both the London Embassy and the US Consulate General in Belfast offer nonimmigrant visas to qualified residents (although please note that K-1 fiancee, E-1 treaty trader and E-2 treaty investor visas must be processed through London).
  • Who is required to apply in person? If you are aged 14 to 79, you are required to apply for a visa in person unless you are renewing an O,P, or J visa that has expired within the past 12 months and meet further criteria. Please see more here for more information on exemptions and here for a link to the Visa Reissuance Wizard.
  • What is the DS-160? The DS-160 visa application is an online form which must be filled out prior to scheduling an interview to obtain a nonimmigrant visa. The DS-160 link may be found here and the link to make an appointment for a nonimmigrant visa interview in the UK can be found here.
  • What is a waiver of ineligibility for a nonimmigrant visa? US immigration law renders some applicants ineligible for a nonimmigrant visa for a number of reasons including certain criminal convictions, specific immigration violations and controlled substances offenses. However, waivers of ineligibility are sometimes available for most nonimmigrant visa types and whether or not they are granted is determined by the Department of Homeland Security. For nonimmigrant visas, the consular officer at the post abroad (or the Secretary of State) must first recommend that the applicant be awarded a waiver, although DHS need not follow that recommendation. The waiver process for a nonimmigrant visa can be lengthy and at the time of the writing of this blog post, currently takes around six months.

To speak with one of our experienced Immigration Attorneys to discuss obtaining a nonimmigrant visa, please email info@baimmigrationlaw.com or call (0)203 102 7966