Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Getting a US student visa

Today we went to the US embassy to apply for a student visa for my fiancée (she’s also in my class of 2010).
The overall experience was pretty painless though I went to register for voting for the first time while I was there and it’s substantially easier on the US citizens side.
I have not heard of stories of international students who did not get the visa, but better be prepared.
So here are a few tips we gathered while listening on other people’s interviews:

1. Come at least 20 minutes prior to your interview. The security checks take time and it seems they invite groups of people once an hour rather than stream them every few minutes or so. So you want to be there before the full group gets there.
2. Don’t hide anything – they know anyway
3. Even though they took your fingerprints on the first step where you present your documents, don’t run off to the interview line. You are required to give your fingerprints again at a nearby window. I have no idea why, but if you don’t do it you may have to start the process all over (so the facilitator there says).
4. Bring a pen (black preferred). It’s a bummer to crowd around the few pens they have there or asking people to use theirs.
5. If you already have/had a US visa – bring it. They don’t ask it on their website and it’s not mandatory, but they sometimes ask if you have it.
6. Bring a paycheck. Again this is not something they specify on the website, but they sometimes ask for it. Better safe then sorry.
7. Bring cash. Preferably exact change. In Israel we paid 33.5 NIS for the postal delivery of the passport+visa.

*Information based on experience in US embassy in Tel-Aviv and is merely a suggestion. Author not responsible for any damage, loss or anything anywhere ever.

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