When Ben at the hiking store asked me if I’d had my visa interview yet, I answered ‘no’ whilst thinking, ‘do I need an interview to get my visa?’
This sparked some well deserved panic and led me to delve into the black hole of information regarding US visa applications. I seemed to stumble across the correct links without too much trouble and quickly learned I needed to pay the fee, fill in an online form, upload a photo, and book an interview at the consulate in Melbourne.
Here are the links:
How to apply: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/au/au-niv-typeb1b2.asp
Paying for the visa: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/au/au-niv-paymentinfo.asp
The photo tool was my favourite exercise and I was extremely impressed they had such a tool to line up your self taken iPhone photograph and crop it to the exact size.
I’m pretty sure you can’t pay the fee without filling in the form (just reverse steps 1 and 2 in the instructions), so I started the process of filling in the online form when I was suddenly stumped on the third page by the question ‘Address whilst in the US’. I tried to skip the page but it wouldn’t allow me to. What am I meant to write here? Address: Pacific Crest Trail, various locations between Mexico and Canada’?
My mum’s already on the case of contacting some friends of friends who live in San Diego (probably since I told her you need to get to the border early in the morning to avoid bumping into any illegal immigrants at the start of the trail), so perhaps I can enter their address to help me move the process along. Then I just need to hope the representative at the consulate agrees that hiking the PCT is a good enough reason for staying in the US for 5-6 months!