Two months before Eid-al-fitr holiday 2014, i already planning my trip to visit Belgium to visit my bestfriend who’s studying at Gent University on a full time scholarship. I haven’ t seen him for almost 3 years. That was my original plan. I have completed all my Schengen visa application documents and when it’s time to make an appointment for submission, i got a very late appointment schedule which, not enough to process my visa application so in order not to waste my visa application documents I decided to try to apply for US visa instead. Here’s what I did:
On 9 June 2014 I completed my DS160 visa application online, answering all questions especially the part where i have to provide details of my current work, previous work, countries visited in the last 5 years. After competing it and uploaded my photo, i printed the DS160 confirmation page, then printed my visa application for my personal record. Then i created my profile at http://www.ustraveldocs.com.sa and scheduled my appointment. But before you go to schedule your appointment, a link will lead you to how to pay your visa, i click on the over the counter at SAMBA option as i dont have an online banking with SAMBA, a payment deposit slip will be generated containing a CGI number which will be activated after 24hrs after you pay the visa fee of SR608 and once it’s activated you will receive an email saying that your MRV fee receipt has been activated and you have to click on the link to your profile for you to schedule your appointment, choose the date and time of your interview, print the appointment confirmation, bring all documents with it during your interview. I chose 12June 2014 Thursday 9am appointment. At the US embassy entrance you have to queue at your designated appointment time, 9am queue for applicants with 9am appointment schedule. An embassy staff ask us to prepare our appointment confirmation, DS160 confirmation page and passport. When the clock hits 9am they started letting applicants inside the embassy, you have to leave mobile, keys other personal items at the security. Security is tight at the embassy so be prepared. Once inside a staff will greet you and ask you to separate your Employment Letter and bank statement. They will put it in a separate plastic folder along with your passport and DS160 confirmation page, they will also give you a slip with applicant number. They will ask you to sit down and wait until your number is flash on the screen. When they called my number to a specific window, a visa officer will check the documents on the plastic folder, will ask you what is the purpose of your visit to the USA , i answered tourism and visit friends, then they do my 10 finger print scan, they also put an Aramex sticker on my passport. After this i sit down again and waited for my number to be called again to go to the next available window for an interview. When its my turn, i greeted the visa officer “good morning how are you today” with a smile, he replied “im good, how about you”, i replied im good as well, then i handed over to him my documents, he scanned my DS160 confirmation page and gave it back to me, then he scanned my passport and kept it with him, he read my Employment Letter and gave it back to me, he looked at the first page of my bank statement only and gave it back to me, then he ask me to put my left thumb on the finger print scanner, then he asked me ” so _____ why would you want to go to the united states”?, i replied “tourism and i wanna visit a friend of mine who used to work here in Saudi but now he’s in the US”, then the officer said “ok thank you”, then i waited for the next question but nothing, so i ask “that’s all?”, he replied ” yes, thank you”, i answered “ok thank you very much!”. A bit confused as the visa officer didnt told me if my visa is approve or not and didnt know whats the next step so i ask a lady staff “what is the next step after this?” She said “go home and wait for Aramex to send you sms if your passport is ready for collection. The whole process took me only 1 hr including the interview which is only about 2mins. Ater this i went back to my work, carrying my other documents which they didnt even checked. Now the waiting game is on. It was monday 16june 2014 when i received an sms from Aramex saying that my passport is ready for collection. I immediately went to Aramex at Sulaymania branch and took my passport. When i opened the package i check the pages of my passport and i cant see any visa in it until i reach page 38, there my US B1/B2 visa valid for 10yrs multiple entry was pasted. That was one of my happiest day ever!