US Visa App - the Quick and Easy (AKA the Down and Dirty)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
After waiting for just over a year since landing in Canada, the family has decided to take the plunge and apply for US visas.
It was not a quick decision as we've been hearing some horror stories about people getting denied with their applications for many unknown reasons (unknown to me anyways). Plus each application costs US$160 (circa March 2014) and this, by no means, a small change. So getting denied not only hits the self-esteem of the international traveler in you, but also financially painful if you are a family of 4 like us.
To apply within Canada, we were directed to a website, which contained everything we needed to know about getting a non-immigrant visa to the United States. The whole process was online, from the application stages through to payment and booking of interviews. It was seamless and efficient, I must say.
The day of the interview comes and we pitched up at the US consulate in Toronto ('cause that's where we applied) about 30 minutes before our scheduled interview time. There's a bit of a queue outside the consulate before going in and the website states that it is best to arrive a little early.
We go through security, which by the way, is a strict process of body scans. I made the scanners go wild again because of the pins and metals on my leg. But otherwise, all was well. We go through the next round.

It was a hallway before entering the main office where the security asks us to produce our passports and application forms. We pass and move along to the main office.

There was a queue and once called, you hand in all your passports and application forms to the nice person across the glass window. She asks a few questions, here and there, nothing major or serious. Like "What's your status in Canada?", "Where do you plan to go in the US?", "What do you do here?", etc. Our answers satisfied her and she gives us a number to go to the next counter for biometrics.

Once biometrics were done, that was that. The whole process took about 45 minutes.

We received an email after a week to tell us that our passports were ready. We collected our stamped passports at a collection centre.

Can't wait for that day I put my feet on US soil for the first time. You see, I've always wanted to go to the US ever since I can remember. So now here's my chance. I hope to tell more crossing-the-US stories in the coming years. :-)

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