2012 is coming to an end. So many things have changed in a year. This week my best friends finally have a chance to go to USA. I am pretty sure my trip to Chicago last year has inspired them to travel there. We had this dream of traveling the world and USA is definitely the most prestigious of all. Our best friend is living in Portland with her hubby now, so I myself think that it’s not impossible to travel there because we have a friend who can offer accommodation and recommendation letter, but still we are all worried about the visa. USA Embassy is giving hard time for people to obtain it. I remember applying the visa for my regular ‘green’ passport right after I was back from Chicago. It was surprisingly easy because I figured I am working for the government and I have obtained the visa in my official passport. The one thing you hate about applying visa is the number of paperworks to fill in. In short, the process is as follows:
- Apply the visa online. Read the instruction carefully, make sure you put correct information;
- Pay the required visa application fee. It costs around $160 (for type B visa -tourist/business) and no refund if your visa is denied;
- Book an interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta;
- After the interview you will get the notification if your visa is approved or denied;
- Not long after the interview, you will get your visa (you will get a text message that inform the document is ready to pick up in your selected place)
I consulted my friend who’s living there before I apply the visa. There are some essential things to prepare:
- Recommendation letter from your company (I had my head of human resources sign the letter stating my purpose of travel, my annual salary and the assurance that I will directly return to Indonesia after my trip);
- Proof of your relationship to American resident or citizen (ex: postcards, letters, photographs, etc). My friend wrote a letter of recommendation and make sure that I will stay in her place during my visit;
- Evidence of financial resources (I had around 35million rupiah in my saving at that time -my mom’s money tbh :p);
- Make sure you have arranged the travel itinerary;
- Be prepared to answer the questions in English during the one-on-one interview. They will ask about your purpose & length of visit, current employment (your place of work, job descriptions, etc), family, and check your credentials. Those who interview are not local staffs and they are looking very serious, so don’t be nervous O_o
- Wear formal and comfortable clothes because you will have to wait and queue not in a short time;
- Pray and hope that your application will be approved! I don’t understand the internal assessment process for the embassy to approve or deny a visa, so I can not comment much on this matter.
I should be going with my best friends to Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Las Vegas, but due to some financial issue (I am totally broke now! I was hoping I can have spare money from my monthly school allowance, but the past months have been difficult) and technical issue (my passport is expired on January 2013 and I haven’t got time to renew it because I was in Melbourne. You should hold a passport that will be valid for at least 6 months into the future from the date of your travel), I can not travel with them. It was disappointing and really sad :( I have had my camera ready for this trip! I really want to visit Space Needle (Damn you, Grey’s Anatomy, for inserting this image in each episode :P). Oh well, maybe next time. I will see you in the near future, Seattle! :D Crossing my fingers that I will also have another business trip to New York or Houston in the future :p AMEN!
Should you have further questions about the visa, you can check their official website or you can ask me. Maybe I can help :)