View Full Version : More on Visas for Brits et al.

07-12-2010, 04:55
There has been a lot of questions asked, and good advice given on the subject of extended B2 visas for Europeans, Australians and the like. Iíve been going round all the forum's responses trying to find out whatís what and who thought doing what, was best, all very confusing. Whatís needed here is some solid advice from people who have actually been through the process. However, it seems that those who recently have, are now hiking the A/T and unable to respond to PMs. (doh!)

So far Iíve discovered that itís possible to get a 6 month visa, after having an interview at the US Embassy in your own country or were you are working. Iím in Iraq at the moment, teaching in the Kurdish region. Not only is getting down to Baghdad logistically difficult, but also dangerous and quite expensive. Even applying for a visa in the UK seems a long drawn out process involving a lot of waiting and anxiety, making planning a departure date, aiming for a March / April SONO start window uncertain and rather nerve racking. It seems easier to go for a three month visa, and take a break mid way to extend the visa. I believe a three month visa can be given on arrive and my question is. What is the best way of extending that?

In answer to Tunaís post re How Far in Ď90 Daysí? (most people reckon, on about half way at a steady enjoyable plod.) Pebble Puppy say that you can go to an airport in Harperís Ferry or Port Clinton and have your visa renewed. Is that really possible? (it would be nice and solve my problem, if it were :-?) Garlic08, met an Australian heading to DC to renew his visa. Has anyone else done that?

Then thereís the question of extending your return air ticket if you get an visa extension. Apparently, you need to show your return ticket to get issued a 3 month visa, which would need to be purchase for three months prior to knowing you had the visaÖ..arrgghhhh!

Maybe I should stick to the Viking Way J

07-12-2010, 06:20
Although i cannot answer many of your questions, my wife (Thai) has just been through the visa process here in Thailand and you are correct: It is not easy.
It took us 4 months of red tape to finally find out the other day that she got it (tourist visa good for 10 years, 6 months at a time)
I believe you have to go to a US embassy to start your process.
They are in capital cities of countries although bigger countries have them in other cities also.
They cannot be done by mail and the process is lengthly.
You being from the UK will make it easier than my wife from southeast Asia.

Don't know much about extending it either except that Port Clinton PA has no airport, and is a small town with next to nothing in it. Don't know where you heard that you could get anything related to a visa or passport in that town. They don't even have a grocery store.
Possibly they meant someone hitched from there or caught a bus to New York city (via Phila or Reading perhaps???)

Yes, I believe you may need a return ticket. I would try to make sure you buy a ticket that allows you to change the date for free or no more than $100.

If you are going to try to extend a 3 month visa, I would try for Washington DC when you get to Harpers Ferry, WV. It is not far and a bus should be fairly easy to catch (although keep in mind, Greyhound buses in America are probably far worse than most bus systems in any developed country in the world and don't expect much as far as being on time, efficient, secure, or friendly people to deal with, just a word of warning on our bus system)

Good luck, I hope you find some help from others from the UK or Oz who have been there and done it for the particulars.

Ps, if you do a SOBO hike, New York city is another option for the extension. It is close to the trail and trains are easy to catch going there.

English Stu
07-12-2010, 11:33
Hey Gauguin, I'm a Brit, there used to be a leaflet from the AT Conservancy called Tips for Brits which has loads of useful advice.I think the visa idea is too much hassle and most don't do it. In 2004 I did 10 weeks on the AT and then a further 5 weeks in 2008 on the Muir trail and then some more on the AT. Due to do Maine this Sept.
You need a return ticket to enter and an address for stay, I used a genuine hotel at the likely stop point of the hike but had little intention of using it and there was no attention paid to it. A friends address/long lost cousin home is better.
You need to book with an airline that is easy/cheap/possible to alter the return date. Have always changed mine- given up trying to guess a finish date place as over a long hike things/progress changes, can cost $100. I have used Virgin and American Airlines.

I have heard of going to Wash, DC to renew a three month travel visa or even going to Canada and re entering. The regulations are to stop people illegally settling in the US if you are a half way into thru hike you should look and talk convincingly.

I would carry useful contact numbers British Consulate and US offices for the issue and have your story straight ie I need x amount moretime and have researched flights home around the finishing date etc.

Keep asking around on the message boards as our European and our Antipodean friends all have this problem.

07-12-2010, 12:01
Assuming you enter the US under the Visa Waiver programme ie the visa that you pretty much get automatically as a uk citizen then as far as im aware you cant apply for an extention.

It seems that its tricky for you to get a B2 seeing as you dont have access to a US consulate.

Also in terms of flights if you attempt to enter the US without a definite scheduled and paid for return ticket they could very well just turn you around and send you home (this happened to a friend)
When are you back in the UK? - getting an appointment and a B2 visa is not that difficult.

07-12-2010, 17:17
just fly to Mexico City and take the bus. Then if anybody asks you a question just say que?

Kaptain Kangaroo
07-13-2010, 06:10
Just to clarify a couple of points for you.

When the US issues a B2 visa, it is valid for either 1 or 5 years (if you are approved for a visa you choose whether you want the 1 or 5 year, just a higher fee for the 5 year). The visa is valid for multiple entries to the US, but it does not guarantee how long you will be permitted to remain in the US on any given visit. The maximum duration of your stay is determined by the immigration official who processes you at the port of entry into the US. They may decide they don't like you & only give you 2 weeks. (I have never heard of this actually happening but it is possible) They usually ask the purpose of your visit & will give you an appropriate amount of time. 6 months seems to be a common duration. I got a 5 year visa for my thru in 2006 & have used it to enter the US 4 times since. Each time I was given 6 months stays. (even if I was only on a 2 week trip). If you are not allocated enough time at the port of entry then you can appeal the decision once you are in the coutry & try to have it extended.

So you can't really get a 3 or 6 month visa. You might be confusing a 3 month visa with entering the US under the Visa Waiver Program, which allows you to visit the US for up to 90 days without a visa if you are a citizen of a certain range of countries (UK & Australia included). You cannot extend this visit & they take a very dim view of you overstaying it.

Hope this helps.


Kaptain Kangaroo
07-13-2010, 06:20
Here is a quote from the website of the US Consulate in London....

How long can I stay in the United States?

The period of validity of a visa relates only to the length of time during which the holder may travel to the United States and apply for admission at a port of entry. It does not determine the length of stay which is a matter decided by U.S. immigration at the port of entry. If, while you are in the United States, you find that you need to stay there longer than the period of time initially granted to you, you must contact the nearest office of the USCIS to apply for an extension of your stay. The USCIS has sole jurisdiction over such matters. It is not possible to extend your stay if you entered visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.

And here is the link to the site. It has all the information you should need. read through the FAQ's as they answer a lot of your questions.