So we have the next installment of questions - its all about visas and flights and what happens next. We understand it can get very confusing so we want to make it as easy as possible for you all. Enjoy.
1. Yay, I got placed! What happens next?
Great news! It’s great that you’ve got placed at camp and you can now move on and get your visa. Your footprints account will now update and our American office can now go ahead and print your DS2019 form (this is the important form saying we are happy to sponsor you to go to the States this summer). Until this has been issued you can’t book your visa appointment so please just be patient if your footprints account doesn’t update straight away. The good news is that even if you haven’t been placed just yet there is quite a good chance we have printed your DS2019 form anyway and this will also show up on your footprints so you can go ahead and book your appointment as well. This will help show camp directors how keen and ready you are to go to camp.
2. Do you organise my flights and insurance? How does this work?
This completely depends on what option you picked at the very start. If you have chosen the flight option and are a first timer then we will go ahead and book your flights about 4-6 weeks before you head to camp. If you didn’t pick the flight option then booking your flights is down to you. We would advise getting in touch with camp before you do this just to double check is they have a pick up location or time. If you are a returnee or pre-placed applicant then you will have to book your own flights as we don’t offer that option for you.
3. How does the visa process work?
The visa process has quite a few different sections to it and can sometimes get a bit confusing. The first form you need to fill out if the DS160 form. This needs to be completed by yourself and nobody else. Once this is done you will get a combination starting with ‘AA….’. This is very important and you need to keep a record of this. Next, you need to head to the US Embassy website and pay $160. Once this is done you can go ahead and book your appointment through the US Embassy website itself. You CANNOT simply choose a date and time on footprints because this isn’t booking your appointment – that’s just letting us know what date you are coming along so that we can bring your DS2019 with us. Then on the date that you have selected for your appointment you turn up and have your appointment.
4. Do you sort my embassy appointment or do I need to do it myself?
It is down to you to sort out your own visa appointment and choose the date and time that suits you best. We give you all the guidance and help that you need including the cheat sheets which take you through each step of the process. The only thing we ask from you is to read all the instructions we provide very carefully to ensure you do the correct thing.
5. Do I have to go to London to get my visa?
We would advise that everyone gets their visa in London because we know the process and exactly what to do. There are a few exceptions to this process, like travelling or not being in the country and if this is the case then please email Lydia asap at firstname.lastname@example.org to leave her enough time to send you the correct paperwork and enough time to get your visa. There is also a US Embassy in Belfast but again you need to contact the office as soon as possible if this is something you are interested in as the process is slightly different.
6. What happens at the Embassy?
The best way to describe your visa appointment is like entering Argos. Inside there are basically loads of windows with people working for the US Embassy. When you first enter the Embassy you are given a number and told to take a seat. On the big screens around the room your number will then appear and you will be told to go to a certain window. Here they will stamp some of your paperwork and take digital prints of your fingers. You will then be directed to another queue (this is the final queue we promise). Once you get to the front of this queue then you will be directed to one more window. This is where they will grant your visa. They may ask you a few questions, like what you are currently doing, what camp you are attending or what you plan on doing once you return to the UK. It’s nothing to worry about and the process is incredibly straight forward.
7. How long does it take to get my passport back?
The US Embassy say to allow 7-10 working days to get your passport back but it can often happen a lot quicker. If you chose the courier option to be sent back to your house then you can literally sit back and relax. Your passport will come through your front door and you are all set to go. If you chose your passport to be dropped at your local courier then once that has safely arrived you will be notified and you will have 30 days to collect it.
8. I’m going to camp really soon and I haven’t got my visa yet, do I have enough time?
This really does depend on when you are going to camp. We would advise everyone to book onto a visa day as soon as possible to avoid this situation. If you are going to camp soon and still haven’t get your visa appointment then you need to contact the office ASAP or email Lydia on email@example.com so we can talk it through and decide the best course of action to take.