First steps to enter the US

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

Visa wait times: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4788.html?post=Melbourne&x=69&y=15

Paying for the visa: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/au/au-niv-paymentinfo.asp

Photo specs: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/visaphotoreq/digitalimagereq/digitalimagereq_5327.html

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.

CROPPED-RP US visa photo 2

Photo specs: Colour (24 bits per pixel) in RGB color space – 2″ x 2″, jpeg less than or equal to 240 kB (kilobytes).

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!

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