How to Make a US Embassy London Visa Appointment
Non-US nationals between the ages of 14 and 79 applying for an American visa will in most cases be required to attend a visa interview at a US Embassy or Consulate in their home country.
For UK nationals, this would be at the US Embassy in London at:
Embassy of the United States of America
33 Nine Elms Lane
The visa interview follows submission of your visa application form and payment of the requisite application fee(s).
Note that you will generally have 12 months from filing your visa application form to make your appointment. Past this date, you will be required to start the process again by making a new application and paying the fee(s).
How to make your visa appointment
Interviews are by appointment only and must be scheduled in advance online on the US Visa Information and Appointment Services website. To start, you’ll need to create an account and pay the fee(s).
When you make your appointment, ensure you note the following details for future reference:
- Appointment password – the Embassy does not keep this information
- Your appointment confirmation number
- Time and date of your appointment
Waiting times for appointments vary on the time of year and the Embassy caseload. Visitor visas for example can take around two weeks, whereas other nonimmigrant visas will usually be much shorter at around 2 calendar days.
Take advice from your legal adviser or check on the Embassy website for current expected waiting times, particularly if you are concerned about an expiring visa or travelling while your passport is retained for visa issuance.
Expedited appointments may be available in exceptional, urgent and unforeseen circumstances, such as medical emergencies. You will first need to complete your Ds-160 form, pay the fee and book the earliest available interview before contacting the Embassy to request an expedited appointment.
In advance of your interview, you should check which documents you’ll need to bring with you. For example:
- Appointment confirmation letter
- Valid passport with six months after the date of arrival
- Your photograph, compliant to USCIS requirements eg 2 inches x 2 inches. Note that standard UK-sized photographs do not comply.
- Application form confirmation page
- Receipt for fee payment
In addition, you will also be required to bring additional supporting documentation. The documents will depend on the type of visa you are applying for and your personal circumstances and immigration history. There is no prescriptive or exhaustive list of documentation, so taking advice can ensure you take sufficient and comprehensive documents that best evidence your eligibility to the consular officer. Areas to evidence should include travel plans, employment information and proof of ties to the UK.
Photographs for your interview
It may be necessary to provide a physical photo at your interview. Not all embassies or consulates require this, so it is best to confirm if this is a requirement before your interview.
If you need to print out the photo, you should use photo quality paper. Both matte and glossy photo paper are acceptable.
Note that the US photograph specification is different to that of UK standards:
- It is a colour photo.
- The photo must clearly show your full face, neck and shoulders.
- All of your facial features must be visible and unobstructed.
- The size of the photo is 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm).
- The resolution of the photo must be 300 pixels per inch (12 pixels per mm).
- Your head should be between 1 inch (22 mm) and 1 and 3/8 inches (35 mm), or between 50% and 69% of the photo’s total height.
- The photo must have been taken within the previous 6 months of making your application.
- The background must be white or off-white.
- You must be directly facing the camera to give a full-face view.
- The expression on your face must be neutral and both of your eyes must be open.
- You must be wearing clothes that you would usually and regularly wear. Do not wear a uniform in the photo, unless it is religious clothing that you would regularly wear.
- Hats and head coverings that hide the hair or hairline are not allowed, unless they are religious items that are worn daily.
- Your full face must be completely visible and not hidden in any way, be that directly or through being in shadow cast by the head covering or hat.
- You may not wear eyeglasses or sunglasses in the photo, unless they can’t be removed for medical reasons. If there are medical reasons, a supporting letter must be provided by a doctor or medical professional.
- Headphones, hands-free devices or any other such item must not be in the photo. Hearing devices or similar may only be worn in the photo if you normally wear them.
Online application forms for nonimmigrant visas will require you to upload a digital format photo. There are further requirements for your photo in digital form. These are:
- The uploaded image must be square, that is, the height and width must be equal in size.
- The minimum dimensions for the image are 600 x 600 pixels. The maximum dimensions are 1200 x 1200 pixels.
- It must be:
- in colour,
- 24 bits per pixel, and
- in sRGB colour space (standard for digital cameras).
- The image must be a JPEG file.
- The size of the image file must not be more than 240 kB.
- Where it is necessary for the image file to be compressed to reduce it to an acceptable file size, the compression ratio must be no more than 20:1.
- The photo must not be digitally enhanced in any way, e.g. retouched, stretched or lightened.
- Should you wish to scan a physical photo that you already have in your possession, the resulting image must be 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51mm) and scanned at 300 pixels per inch (12 pixels per mm).
While you are at the Embassy, you will also be required to submit your biometric information; a set of your fingerprints will be electronically scanned.
How long will the interview last?
The length of the interview will depend on the complexity of your application, the volume and quality of your supporting documentary evidence and how quickly the consular officer is able to make a decision.
For common applications, such as tourist visas, interviews can typically last only a few minutes.
In general, you should allocate two to three hours for your time at the Embassy.
Note however that you will not be permitted entry into the Embassy more then 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
You will receive a decision on the day. If successful, you will need to hand over your passport while the visa is issued. Your passport will be returned to you by the courier company.
Cancelling your appointment
It is possible to rearrange or cancel your appointment in advance of the interview date via the Embassy website.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. NNU Immigration are specialists in US visa applications. We deal with the US Embassy in London on a daily basis, and can support and advise on making a visa application.
Image Copyright KieranTimberlake.