The United States is represented in the UK through the U.S. Embassy in London, and the U.S. Consulates General in Belfast, Edinburgh and Hamilton. For most travel and visa related affairs, the embassy in London is where you will likely need to be. The consulates offer supplementary services and information. On this page you can read what the embassy and consulates are for.
What does the U.S. Embassy in London do?
The United States Embassy in the UK is located at 33 Nine Elms Lane. It represents the primary seat of the U.S. government in the UK. To reach the embassy, it is advised to use public transportation. Public parking is not available in the immediate area. The goals of the U.S. Embassy are:
- To strengthen the ties between the British and American governments
- To stimulate economic co-operation between the USA and the UK
- To fight terrorism, crime and drug trade
Take note: the U.S. Embassy cannot be visited without an appointment. Also be aware that security is naturally very strict at the Embassy. A number of large electronic devices, such as laptops, are not allowed inside the Embassy. Smaller electronics, such a phones, iPads (without keyboards) or e-readers are allowed. An overview of prohibited items can be found here.
The U.S. Embassy deals with all visa-related matters. Travellers that need a visa have to make an appointment at the Embassy to have their application processed. For this, it is important that you plan ahead. Failing to arrive with the proper documentation will lead to your appointment being cancelled and your visa being refused. It is advised you arrive 15 to 30 minutes before your appointment, as you will first have to go through security. The security at the Embassy is similar to the ones you find at airports. Next, obtain your ticket number and follow the instructions provided to go to the Visa Services waiting room, which is located on the first floor.
It is important that you bring the right documents. Only bring the documents that have been asked for by the consular staff. Attempting to provide additional documents can lead to a delay in the processing of your visa. Processing generally takes 3 to 5 workdays. If you wish to have the visa delivered by courier, you will need to make special arrangements for that. Delivery can take a further 1 to 2 days.
Address information U.S. Embassy:
33 Nine Elms Lane
The Consulates General in Belfast, Edinburgh and Hamilton
The United States also operate consulates in Belfast, Edinburgh and Hamilton. As with the Embassy in London, you can only enter on appointment. Take note: the Consulates General in Belfast, Edinburgh and Hamilton do not process visas. All visa-related matters are handled by the U.S. Embassy in London.
However, British citizens that want to travel to the United States of America generally do not need to make an appointment at the U.S. Embassy. Instead of a visa, they can make use of an ESTA.
Only travellers that do not meet the ESTA requirements need to apply for a visa. For that, an appointment must always be made at the U.S. Embassy in London, regardless of where you live in the UK. A visa cannot be applied for by telephone. The main reason why you have to visit in person is that biometric data is taken during the application process, which includes fingerprints. Each visa application also comes with an interview, in which the intentions of the applicant for travelling to the United States are gauged.
To apply for a visa, follow these simple steps:
- Check whether an ESTA suffices
- Fill in a DS-160 form
- Make an appointment at the U.S. Embassy in London
- Once the visa has been approved, you can either pick it up yourself or have it delivered by courier
Address information Consulates General:
223 Stranmillis Road
Belfast BT9 5GR
3 Regent Terrace
Edinburgh EH7 5BW
16 Middle Road
Devonshire, DV 03, Bermuda
Pressing issues or emergency applications for visas
The U.S. Embassy only provides emergency support for inhabitants of the United States. Travellers that need a visa for their trip to the USA cannot in any way have their visa application expedited. The only available way to apply for a visa is through a normal application.
Urgent questions about visas are generally not answered on the phone by the U.S. Embassy. While you can find a large amount of information about the various visas for the USA on this website, the application procedure itself can only be started through the website of the U.S. Embassy. For those that qualify for it, the fastest way to get a travel permit for the USA is by applying for an ESTA.
Take note: this website is not a part of the U.S. Embassy in London or the Consulates General in Belfast, Edinburgh or Hamilton. We are a commercial visa agency which can only help travellers in acquiring an ESTA for their trip to the USA.