People in Samoa can now apply for a visa at the United States Embassy in Apia, instead of traveling to Auckland. Every two months, a consular officer will travel from the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland to our Embassy in Apia to interview applicants. Applicants must fill out the application online, on a computer, then make an appointment online, and pay the normal fee of US$160.00 or Samoan Tala equivalent to the Embassy the day of the appointment. The visiting consular officer can only conduct a limited number of visa interviews per visit. The number of applicants seeking interviews may exceed our interview capacity, so we may not be able to interview all applicants immediately.
Alternatively, if you need to travel to the US immediately or your travel to the US will not fall within a visa week, you can make arrangements for travel to NZ to apply for your visa at the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland, New Zealand. For details of applying in NZ, please visit the U.S. Embassy New Zealand website. For applying for a visa under the Apia visa pilot program please follow steps below.
There are four easy steps to applying for a visa:
- Fill out the DS-160 application form online and upload a photo.
- Make an appointment for interview online.
- Gather supporting documents.
- Attend interview and pay the visa fee at Embassy Apia.
You will be required to prove to the satisfaction of the Consular Officer that you do not intend to remain in the U.S. after your legitimate purpose of travel has ended. This may require demonstrating strong social, economic, family and financial ties to Samoa or American Samoa. It may be necessary to provide some of the following:
- Letters of employment;
- Proof of ongoing academic studies;
- Proof of funds, i.e. bank statements, asset statements;
- Evidence of ownership of property;
- Marriage certificate and birth certificates for children;
- If visiting relatives, it is helpful to show that they are themselves in the U.S. in legal status. Your relative may also provide a letter explaining why they are sponsoring you, these documents are NOT to be sent directly to the Embassy but sent to the applicant themselves to hand-carry on the day of their interview.
Please note that supporting documents can vary from person to person depending on your personal situation.
Certain visa classes require original, official documents provided by your sponsor in the U.S.:
- Student (F) visa applicants must have an I-20 from the intended school;
- Exchange visitor (J) visa applicants must have a DS-2019 from the program sponsor;
- If your J program requires that you are enrolled full-time at a tertiary institution, a letter from your institution confirming your full-time student status or a copy of your transcripts (unofficial web version is fine.)
- Work visa (H, L, O, P, Q, R) applicants must have an I-797 approved petition notice, although a legible photocopy is acceptable.
- Proof of SEVIS payment.
Photos that do not conform to the specifications below will not be accepted and applicants will be required to provide new ones. This may lead to significant delays in visa processing.
The photograph of each visa applicant must be an unmounted full-face photo, taken within the past six months.
A “full face” photo is one in which the applicant is facing the camera directly. The applicant should not be looking down or to either side, and the face should cover about 50 percent of the area of the photo. Although variations in hair styles and in head coverings make it difficult to rigorously define the term “face”, in general, the head of the applicant, including both face and hair, should be shown from crown of the head to tip of chin on top and bottom and from hair line side-to-side. It is preferable that ears be exposed. Babies must have their eyes open. The key requirement is that the photograph clearly identifies the applicant.
The photograph should measure 2 inches square (50 mm square) in color against a white or off-white background), and should be uploaded to Form DS-160 (Non-immigrant Visa Application). If unable to upload the photographs you must bring one photo with you when you come for the interview, but must complete and submit the online application form DS-160. Photographs taken in front of busy, patterned, or dark backgrounds will not be accepted.
Head coverings and hats are only acceptable due to religious beliefs, and even then, may not obscure any portion of the face of the applicant. Sunglasses or other paraphernalia, which detracts from the face, as defined above are not acceptable unless required for medical reasons (e.g. an eye patch.) A photograph depicting a person wearing a traditional facemask or veil that does not permit adequate identification is not acceptable. Photos of military, airline, or other personnel wearing hats are not acceptable. Photographs of applicants wearing tribal, national costume or other headgear not specifically religious in nature are not acceptable.
Requests for an Expedited or Emergency visa appointment
Embassy Apia is a limited service, non-immigrant visa issuing Post. Outside our regularly scheduled visa weeks, we will ONLY accept requests for emergency appointments if it is related to a U.S. national security matter or it direct impacts the national interests of the U.S. Government. All other emergency visa appointment requests, such as requests to visit a dying relative or attend the funeral of a relative, should be referred to our Consulate in Auckland, New Zealand or our Embassy in Suva, Fiji.
Please review the following list of circumstances that may merit favorable consideration. If you believe your circumstances merit consideration, you may respond to this email with your written justification requesting an emergency visa interview in Apia.
Valid National Security or National Interest Reasons for Emergency Visa Interview:
1. An agency of the U.S. federal government has requested that you travel to the United States.
2. An unexpected urgent need to travel to the U.S. to conduct business with or on behalf of the U.S. Government.
3. An unexpected visit that is of significant cultural, political, journalistic or economic importance that is sponsored by or in the direct interest of the U.S. Government.
4. A lost or stolen visa with an urgent need for travel that cannot be delayed and will result in irreparable harm to a U.S. citizen or U.S. business.
In all cases, the applicant will be expected to bring to the interview documentation which substantiates the emergency in addition to those forms and supporting documents normally required. For more information on how to apply for a non-immigrant visa at our Consulate in Auckland refer to http://nz.usembassy.gov.
5. I have scheduled an appointment online, but would like to get an expedited appointment because the dates available online are after my travel dates?