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Going to Seattle for Amazon Work?

I'm sure many people travel to Seattle from across the world to work on their projects at Amazon (or Microsoft). I'm no different and am going to write my Seattle journey in this post. This is going to be a long one, so take what you need and leave what you don't feel :)

Underlying facts of this post on visiting Seattle

Everyone may have different reasons for their travel. People from across the world visit seattle everywhere, so I'm going to tell you facts about my own trip. I'm an Indian, and this journey will resemble to all Indians traveling to Seattle, however, the fun part is for everyone. So some facts are important here before proceeding.

  • I applied for USA Visa, I hadn't one before going on this trip. Post includes details about that as well

  • I earn in Indian Rupee and obviously, we have to spend USDs in America, point being, I was tight on personal expenses ( No skydiving or similar adventures)

  • I stayed at Seattle for 1 Month.

  • I traveled to New York City and Washington DC from Seattle and back to Seattle as part of my stay, details of the same covered here as well


Starting Point - Applying to USA Visa for Seattle Trip

As mentioned before, I had no US Visa before. Here's a little secret, I had no visa whatsever on my passport ;). So it was my first experience going abroad, applying to visa and staying for a significant amount of time out of India. This may totally resonate with you, or it may not. But keep in mind that these experiences are from someone who had never experienced foreign land and people outside of India.

So the starting point is getting your visa for the trip. I'm sure you know some details about it already, but I'll still put some details and links to make life easier for you.

While visiting USA, there are many time of VISA's you can apply to depending on your purpose of visit, the intended stay and whether you're going for pleasure or business. That is if you want to work there, the visa is different than the one which is needed if you're going to USA only as tourist from India.

  • There are plenty of type of USA visa which you can check out here

  • I had applied for B1/B2 Visa, this allows you to visit USA for either work or as tourist. Its valid for 10 years and one stay can be at max of 6 months in an year.

  • Know your applicable visa type using below link

  • Above page should show the types as well as all the different fees associated with each one.


Process of applying to USA visa from India

As of this writing (Jan'2024) I had followed below process. If it has changed, I'm not sure about it. Since the USA Nonimmigrant visa portal was recently updated before my application, I hope this post remains relevant for few years from now.


Step 1 : DS160

  1. Step 1 : Fill in DS160 Form, this is the primary step where you mention your background information and the type of your VISA.

  2. Throughout the process, you'll need name, contact number and address of at least one person from USA as reference. (Usually someone from your company who is working at USA)

  3. Start DS160 form submission here : https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/

  4. Once you start the application, a unique identifier number is generated for you, please keep it. It can be used to retrieve the application if you face server down issue (Which you'll most likely face once or twice)

  5. DS160 asks for a preferred location for Visa Interview, however, it can be changed while scheduling, so feel free to chose a nearest location while filing this form.

  6. DS160 form needs a payment of $160 USD.

  7. Fill in as much details about your work in DS160 as you can. No matter how much documentation you're asked to bring, the interview person rarely looks at those documents and only reads this DS160 details. (My personal experience)

  8. Make the Payment


Step 2 : Schedule your USA VISA appointment

  1. Visit https://www.usvisascheduling.com/ and login using the same credentials you generated while paying the Visa fees.

  2. Schedule your visa appointment at the locations you desire

  3. First Appointment is also called as Office Appointment (OFC, aka biometric) In this appointment, all your hand fingerprints will be scanned and your photograph will be taken.

  4. Second appointment is the in person interview which happens at USA Consulate

  5. With great luck, you'll get your visa appointments in same city on 2 consecutive days. I myself had to travel to Kolkata twice with a 10 day duration in between the visits.

  6. There's a long wait list for USA visas, with good luck, you can get an appointment within 6 months from application. I guess I got extremely lucky to get an appointment within 15 days of visa application.


Step 3 : Attending your office and interview appointments

  1. When visiting for office interview, please keep all your belongings including phone, luggage, every single thing either at your home or hotel room or the counters available outside the Visa office. Even a mundane thing like bluetooth headset will cause issue, so please keep those things at safe place

  2. Only things allowed are your documentation (which has passport and DS160 form as must) and rest supporting documents and your wallet having no other electronics items.

  3. Even a bottle of water is not allowed for any of the interviews, please keep this note in mind.

  4. Office interview is pretty simple and straightforward, it takes no more than 10 minutes. You go into the office, show the officials your ds160 form and passport and they ask you to scan your fingers and take a picture. That's it

  5. My office interview was at Kolkata. There are many good hotels at walking distance from the office interview building. Make sure to book something nearest while visiting so you can go to office walking.

  6. Make sure to reach at least 30 mins before your time. They won't allow you to go in, but its good to wait there rather than getting lost in the Kolkata traffic.

  7. In person interview happens at USA Consulate.

  8. My in person interview happened at Kolkata only.

  9. There's a long list of documents which are supposedly needed which includes

  10. Educational Certificates, Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, AADHAR, PAN, Driving License, Appointment Letter, 6 Month Salary Slips, Invitation Letter from your company from India, Invitation Letter from your company from USA office. Invitation letter and contact details of a US citizen. -- Having said that, I carried all these documents BUT I wasn't asked to show any of them, not a single one. The interviewer simply asked me for my passport and talked to me

  11. As said before, in my experience, the interviewer had more interest in talking to me than seeing documents.

  12. Same rules for interview appointment, no cell phone, no electronics, no luggage, nothing more than a folder of documents and your wallet. There are no restrictions or stated rules to remove in person gold ornaments like ring / necklace / mangalsutra.

  13. The interview itself happens in an open hall usually 4 windows. You can see other interview happening and see them being questioned

  14. For me, the interviewer asked many questions about work, He was genuinely interested to know about my work.

  15. If your visa is approved, they'll deposit your passport and tell you that "your visa is approved, you'll get your passport in couple of weeks"

  16. If your visa isn't approved, they'll return your passport then and there.


The whole process of visa application sounds overwhelming, and it really is, but if you keep doing one step at a time or one thing per day, then its all fine. We usually have a tendency to complete something within a day itself, don't do that to avoid feeling overwhelmed. The DS160 form itself can be filed in multiple sittings, you can save your form and continue with it later on.



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