Information about applying for a visa to travel to the USA

ISAS has outlined the main details below but you should go through the Embassy of the United States website thoroughly for full details and information -

We can check your application and documents but we cannot apply on your behalf. We can answer general questions but you may have to contact the embassy directly if you have more specific questions.

You should be aware that for applicants who are not applying in their normal country of residence, there is a risk your visa can be refused. Applicants have to provide strong evidence they have reasons for returning to the UK and not wish to remain in the US. Studying in the UK may not be considered strong enough ties to the UK. You may have a better chance of obtaining a US visa if applying in your home country.

What do I need to know?

Do I need a visa?

Some nationals may not require a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) or under an agreement between your country and the USA. Find out if you might be exempted from a visa from 

What type of visa do I need?

  • If you are going to the US as a tourist, you need to apply for a B-2 visa
  •  If you are attending a university in the United States on an exchange programme, after formally applying to the US institution you will receive acceptance materials:

If you receive a DS-2019 from the US university, you must apply for a J-1 visa.

If you receive an I-20 from the US university, you must apply for an F-1 visa

B-2, F-1 and J-1 visas are Non-immigrant visas.

How much does it cost?

For tourist visa, you have to pay a MRV Fee - $160:00

The MRV Fee Schedule is tiered as follows:

  • MRV Fee – $160:00;
  • Petition Based Applicants (H, L, O, P, Q, R) – $190:00;
  • E-1, E-2 & E-3 visa applicants – $205:00

If applying for a non-immigration visa (F-1 and J-1) for student exchange programme:

  • You must pay the SEVIS fee online: $180 (J1 applicants) $200 (F1 applicants)
  • Information can be found here:
  • Complete the SEVIS I-901 form online: 
  • You will need to print a receipt at the end of the process so ensure you are connected to a printer.
  • The SEVIS fee must be paid at least 3 business days prior to the interview date.
  • You can pay the fee by credit or debit card.

When should I apply?

If you are applying to undertake an exchange programme, you will have to wait until you receive the acceptance materials from the US University.

What do I need to do?

How to apply?

 If your visa application is successful, your passport and documents should be sent back to you by a special courier service.

Remember to review the Department of State photo specifications before uploading the photograph:

What documents do I need?

You should refer to the US Embassy in London website for the list of documents you will need.  This depends on what visa you are applying for.  Follow the links below for document lists:

B2 visa -

J-1 visa -

F-1 visa -

Contact - U.S. Embassy (London)

Office Address: 24 Grosvenor Square London, W1A 2LQ

Nearest tube station: Bank Station (Centre Line and DLR Line)

Nearest train station: Cannon Street Railway Station

Bus route: Number 8,23,25(Bank Station Bus Stop)

Business hours:

Access to the Visa Section is by appointment only. 

Nonimmigrant Visa applicants may schedule an appointment online at They may also call:020 3608 6998 Monday - Friday between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm local time. The call center is closed on U.S. and U.K. holidays.

Tel: +44(0)20 3608 6998


How long does it take to process?

Non-immigrant visas takes an average of 5 working days to process, but in some cases could stretch to 6 months or longer.