US Embassy London

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The US Embassy in London is currently located at Grosvenor Square in the Mayfair area of London. It is planning to move in the near future to a new, purpose built, site in Nine Elms near Vauxhall and Battersea in South London. This is still a few years off however, so no need to start worrying if you’ll actually be able to get there.

The US Embassy deals with visa applications for most visas for visiting or immigrating to the USA. However most people going on tourism trips or business travel can simply use the US Visa Waiver programme which means they don’t have to visit the embassy. Another going for longer than this would need a B1 or B2 visa if they are not planning to emigrate.

If you want to emigrate to this USA you need to choose what visa is appropriate. Spousal visas are the most common route as thousands of transatlantic couples move to one side of the Atlantic together yearly. The process for this is quite long winded though, and you need to allow the best part of a year for it all to complete. Even then the visa you get won’t give you everything and things like citizenship take years to achieve. Typically having the American partner emigrate to the UK is a faster route.

Others go across to the US to work. There’s a few routes to do this. If you’re working for an international company and have worked there a while being relocated to the US is the easiest way of going there to work. Your visa will be restricted to working for your existing company however so you’ve got to make sure you don’t lose your job.

Another route is if you’re considered of special use in the USA. These visas are limited and come available only once a year, the vast majority (although not all) go to  IT sector jobs, often in software engineering. If you’re in this career the visa could be great for you as the US has a real shortage of software engineers and wages are high and jobs often involve lots of other perks, especially in Silicon Valley.

If you’re going over to the US for university you’ll need a student visa. You’ll typically be helped by the university for going to (or if you’re on a one-year or one-term exchange by your British university) in applying for this. The visa is pretty good, but there are restricted on what you can do over there and you need to ensure you keep your grades up to make sure your not thrown off your course. University in the states is typically more expensive than in the UK unless your from a low-income family when you can get, at some universities, grants that will make it cheaper than studying in the UK.

For those wanting paid summer work who have just finished university there’s visas designed especially for this. You’ll have to work, but don’t worry it’s not all Camp America if that isn’t your thing, many people go over and do things like graphic design or  theatre production for a few months while living in New York, a great way of getting experience in an industry while exploring one of the world’s coolest cities in blisteringly hot temperatures. Make sure you’ve got your job sorted before you arrive though as border agents like to ask about this.