LegalIndonesia Agency provides a full range of services:
- Consultation on obtaining an American visa in Indonesia.
- Assistance with filling out the interview form at the consulate.
- Assistance with payment of the consular fee.
- Appointment scheduling for the consulate interview.
The services include:
- Evaluation of the situation and risks of visa refusal.
- Answers to questions regarding the process of obtaining an American visa in Indonesia.
- Assistance with filling out the application and scheduling the interview, rescheduling the interview in case of changes in the client's plans.
- Payment of the consular fee at an Indonesian bank (the consular fee is not included in the service cost).
- Preparation for the interview: assistance in preparing answers to key questions and consultation on nuances.
The cost of services is 3,600,000 IDR, which is approximately $245 (the consular fee of $185 is paid separately).
We've noticed many questions on forums and expat communities in Bali related to obtaining a US visa in Bali/Indonesia.
Having just gone through this process ourselves, we've decided to write a guide. So here it is:
1. The first thing you'll need to do is fill out the DS-160 form. This form is universal for applicants worldwide. You can fill it out here: https://ceac.state.gov/GenNIV/Default.aspx
When filling out the form, make sure you have all the answers at hand, whether it's passport details, diplomas, work certificates, or electronic photos. The photo should be 600x600 pixels, 5x5 cm. The form is filled out in English.
There's nothing tricky or complicated about it, but keep in mind that all the information you provide in the form will not only be available to the consulate at the embassy but also to immigration upon arrival in the US. Therefore, it's advisable to plan everything in advance. There are plenty of examples of filling out the DS-160 form. In the form, you also choose the consulate where you plan to have the interview. The nearest and most accommodating one is Surabaya. It's a 50-minute flight with ticket costs ranging from 300,000 to 400,000 IDR. We applied for a B1/B2 visa (Tourism/Business). I'll provide some tips on filling out the form a bit later.
So, once you've filled it out, click on "Send confirmation to email". You'll receive a confirmation with a barcode indicating that you've completed the form. You'll need to print out this document and not lose it, as you'll need to present it at the embassy.
If you're traveling with family, after filling out the form, click on "Create Family Application" and fill out the form for your spouse. In this case, you'll be the Main Applicant, and your spouse will be the Dependent.
2. Now it's time to pay the consular fee. In the vast majority of cases, if you're applying for a B1/B2 visa, the fee is $158 per person. You can print the payment receipt here: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/id/id-niv-paymentinfo.asp
Click on "Deposit Slip $185", print it, and take it to the bank for payment. You can only pay at two banks in Bali, Permata Bank and Standard Chartered, specifically at their main branches in Denpasar; small branches are not accepted. After payment, you'll receive a receipt labeled "MRV FEE" with a number starting with "US". Keep this document safe, as you'll need it for scheduling your interview at the embassy.
3. The third step is to schedule your interview. Go to the website: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/id/
and register. Follow the instructions. Indicate where you want to have the interview (in our case, it was Surabaya). There are only 2 consulates in Indonesia: in Surabaya and Jakarta. Fill in your passport details, and provide the address where you want your passports to be sent in case of visa approval (usually, there are 2 options: delivery to your home address as indicated in the form, or pick up from FedEx on By Pass (here). We chose the second option). Next, you'll enter the MRV FEE receipt numbers and schedule your interview for available dates and times. After scheduling, you'll receive a confirmation email, which you should also print out and bring with you.
Nuance: The US immigration website states that you can schedule your interview 3-4 hours after payment at the bank. It seems that would have been the case if we weren't in Indonesia. We couldn't schedule our interview even after 3 days, so we had to contact Customer Service. Many of our acquaintances experienced the same issue, so don't worry. Let's say you schedule your interview for 8:15 AM. Keep in mind that despite the appointed time, everyone enters in a first-come, first-served basis. If you arrive at 7:30 AM, you'll be the 140th in line.
4. NOW, THE INTERVIEW! :) We grab our tickets and fly to Surabaya (or Jakarta). We took Lion Air at 6 AM there and 1:30 PM back, very convenient, and we made it on time for everything. We leave the airport and take a taxi to Citra City (you can show the address to the taxi drivers), it costs 175,000 IDR because it's more than 30 km, about 40 minutes. We join the queue, wait, get registered, security check is quite strict, so it's better to bring as few items as possible. We wait outside until they let us in, they let in groups of 5 people at a time. We enter the embassy, they give you a number. We sit and wait until your number appears. There are only 4 windows at the consulate. The first one is the American consul, and the others are local Indonesian women. First, you go to the women. You give them all the MANDATORY DOCUMENTS, namely: passport (+ preferably all old passports), DS-160 confirmation, interview appointment confirmation, MRV FEE receipts. They will ask you to take your fingerprints, give your left hand 4 fingers, right hand 4 fingers, and 2 thumbs. Then they say "Thank you, wait for the interview." We wait and get nervous :) When our number is called, we go to the consul. He's a very friendly guy. He asks standard questions. He asked us: What is the purpose of your visit to the USA? What do you want to visit in the USA? How long do you plan to stay in the USA? That's it, our interview is over. They told us: Your visas are approved, wait for your passports in about a week. That's all. We realize we were nervous for no reason :) We fly back home and wait for the passports. We receive an SMS message in about 5-7 days that the passports are ready and we can pick them up at FedEx on By Pass. The duration of the visa depends on your nationality.
NOW, SOME NUANCES :)
The main idea you must prove to the consul during the interview and when filling out the application is your Non-Immigrant Intentions. According to U.S. law, anyone applying for any type of visa to the U.S. is a potential immigrant. You need to prove otherwise. The simpler, clearer, and, most importantly, more LOGICAL your application is, the better.
In the application, you need to demonstrate ties to your "Homeland." Ownership of property (even rented), employment (contract), a motorbike, etc. No one will ask you for a KITAS.
And it's IMPORTANT: "Homeland" in our case is Bali :) There's no point in proving ties to your home country because you've already left.
For those who work as freelancers or remotely, there's no need to make anything up, just write "freelance." This works :) The consul knows very well who lives in Bali :)
Good luck to everyone in obtaining their visas!