Thursday, March 3, 2016

US Visa Application

I couldn't believe I'll be writing a post on my US visa application experience this year but God is a God of surprises. Though I am not a fan of spontaneity,  it was an opportunity to experience God's hand especially on situation that is beyond my control.

Here are the nitty-gritty I went through with my visa application:
1. Identify the type of Visa you are applying.
2. Complete and submit your DS-160 form. Fill out all the required fields with valid information, upload 2x2 ID picture that meets their requirements.  Here's a guideline for completing your DS-160 application. Don't forget to print the confirmation page.
3. Settle the non-refundable Visa fee. For my case I paid USD160 or SGD232 for Business/Tourist US visa. In Singapore there are few options to pay:
- SingPost Office (accepts cash/nets)
- SAM Kiosk/Web/Mobile App
Check here for complete list of Visa type and application fee amounts.
4. Register as new user here to be able to schedule your appointment. In this step you will be needing the Visa Fee receipt, your passport and your DS-160 confirmation page. Print the appointment confirmation page as well.
5. Prepare the following documents before your interview:
- Appointment confirmation
- DS-160 confirmation
- Passport ( recent and old )
- Fee Receipt
- 1 Photo 2x2
- Supporting documents
  • Current proof of income, tax payments, property or business ownership, or assets.
  • Your travel itinerary and/or other explanation about your planned trip.
  • A letter from you employer detailing your position, salary, how long you have been employed, any authorized vacation, and the business purpose, if any, of your U.S. trip.
  • Criminal/court records pertaining to any arrest or conviction anywhere, even if you completed your sentence or were later pardoned.
In my case, I have original copies of invitation letter from US office and certification of employment.

On the actual day of interview, I arrived 30 minutes earlier than my appointment time. Entering the US embassy you'd feel that security was crucial, you need to leave any gadget or digital device from the security area and you need to pass two body metal scanner.

Upon entrance on the visa application room, you'll submit your appointment letter, passport and 2x2 photo. You'll need to basically go through three steps, first from window#2 I was asked to submit my DS-160 confirmation page to get a queue number, then wait for my number to get called. From window #3 finger printing and finally consul interview that is simultaneously happening in windows #4-6.

***

Me: Good Morning!
Consul: So it's your first time in the US?
Me: Yes.
Consul: What will you do in US?
Me: I'll attend a training.
Consul: What kind of training?
Me: Mobile testing and automation training.
Consul: Ohh so you're a Computer Science grad(looking in his computer)
Me: Yes.
Consul: How long have you been in your industry?
Me: In Singapore?
Consul: No, total.
Me: Ten plus years.
Consul: Where is the training?
Me: It's gonna be in Foster City, California.
Consul: How long have you been in Singapore?
Me: Three years and a half.
Consul: Any family in the US?
Me: No.
Consul: Okay that's it.
Me: So it's gonna be delivered(pointing to my passport)
Consul: Yes.
Me: Thank you! (all smile)

If your visa gets approved, the embassy will retain your passport for three working days(not including the day of your interview) and deliver your passport on the address you specify while creating a profile when you schedule your interview(see step #4).

By God's grace, I was granted multiple entry US visa for 10 years and got my passport one day earlier than expected.

"Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!" -- Psalm 34:8

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