Before someone starts telling me how Poles shouldn’t have to get visas to the States – I know and I’m fully aware of the idiocy of this process. Why isn’t Poland in the visa waiver program like all the other European countries? The official reason is that too many people overstay their visas or never return. Is that true? Hell if I know but anyway that’s their reason. Trust me, I get it. I’ve gone through two travel visa obtainments with two separate people and it not great but overall I have to say that it’s really not that bad (but then again I’ve dealt with more bureaucracy than most). People are frightened of the process for many reasons. You hear sometimes that someone was rejected. You hear that one person was given the USA travel visa for 3 months, one for 1 year and one for 5 years so you think it’s a lottery. Perhaps it is?
However, both people I’ve completed the process with received their visas for 10 years and they were young, single males so it makes me think it’s not actually that strict nowadays. The process looks something like this. You have to first fill out an travel visa application, make an appointment, and pay. Luckily you can do all of those through the website, making it a very smooth process. That’s the great thing about this process is you only have to go there to have the actual interview, not to do all the paperwork. You used to have to call and make an appointment, which was totally annoying. The current cost of the visa is $160, so it’s not cheap with the dollar so high. If you’re rejected, you don’t get the money back either, which is certainly unfair.
So now the worst part: the interview. When my husband went for his he was very nervous but then he ended up speaking with them for about 30 seconds. They asked him where he was going and why. We decided that when they ask what he was going there to do that he’d say “traveling” and nothing more. He was going to Orlando, Florida so he could always say Disney World was his destination. It seemed like a better idea than saying he was traveling to his girlfriend’s parents’ house. It seems better to say that you’re traveling than to say you’re visiting people you know. If they think you’re visiting someone, they might think you’re going there to stay and never come back. So it’s hard to give advice about what you should say exactly but in most people’s cases, probably honesty is the best policy.
After you’re granted your visa, you need to wait about a week or so and they’ll send you your passport with the travel visa inside. In general the process is quite quick, which is great if you’d like to take a last-minute trip to the States.
All in all, this is just one of those irritating bureaucratic things you have to go through in order to visit the States. Is it unfair? Yes. It is unfair that I can come to Poland for a trip without a visa but you can’t go to mine without one? Absolutely. Do we all just need to stop hoping they’ll make Poland visa waiver process and get over it? Unfortunately, yes. Hopefully it won’t deter you from visiting America one day as it’s an incredibly vast and beautiful country.
Has anyone ever had a good or bad experience with the USA travel visa process? If so, let us know in the comments so we all know what to prepare for in the future!