1. 1. DS160 Visa Interview Appointment
  2. 2. Preparing Visa Documents
  3. 3. The Day of the Interview
  4. 4. Beijing Itinerary

This content was automatically generated by gpt-4-turbo-preview (No human review). The original post is in Chinese.

It’s been 20 days since I published my last two blog posts. A lot has happened during this period, with events in both my personal and professional life, making my parents’ trip to the US seem like a distant memory. Right after my parents and brother returned to China, I felt energized, as if my 2024 was just beginning. I started making New Year’s resolutions, bursting with new ideas and a zest for life. This motivation stemmed primarily from repressing many personal needs and desires while my parents visited the US, feeling obligated to spend time with them at the expense of my own life. So, their departure freed up both my time and mindset. However, due to complicated interpersonal relationships, work stress, and issues with commuting and accommodation, I soon found myself anxious and depressed for two weeks. It wasn’t until last Saturday, when I took a fall and had to stay home to recover this week, unable to do any exercise, that I found the time to write this blog post. I felt that if I didn’t do it now, it might never happen.

For me, having my parents and brother visit the US was a major event in my life, akin to getting my first job. Planning their trip to the US took almost a year, during which we invested a lot of time, effort, and money. Their stay in the US was my top priority, considering how rare it was for them to visit.

This blog post mainly discusses the process of applying for a US visa for my parents.

DS160 Visa Interview Appointment

The first time I applied for US visas for my parents and brother was in 2019. We had prepared all the necessary documents and submitted three DS160 forms, scheduling an interview in Shanghai for after the Spring Festival in 2020. At that time, I was still a PhD student at UCSD, with plans for my parents and brother to visit for some time during the summer of 2020. However, when the pandemic broke out early in the year, we didn’t want to risk going to Shanghai and thus cancelled their interview. This delay lasted for more than three years, during which a lot happened: I graduated with my master’s degree, started working, and even moved on to my second job.

In early 2023, as the situation with the pandemic in China finally improved, we decided to restart arrangements for their trip to the US, aiming for them to visit before Christmas 2023. At the end of January, I began to submit the DS160 forms for my parents again (filling out these lengthy forms was truly painful, mainly due to the clunky application website), prepared the visa documents anew (since the previous ones were outdated), and booked an interview in Beijing for early March (since we couldn’t secure an appointment in Shanghai for March). We thought it would be a good opportunity to also enjoy a few days in Beijing, so even if the visa application was unsuccessful, the trip wouldn’t be a waste.

Preparing Visa Documents

My parents and brother applied for a B2 tourist visa. For preparation, refer to this link:

Some questions about the visa documents:

  • Do we need to book flights?
    • We didn’t purchase flight tickets since we planned to come to the US in December and were applying for the visa in March; it was too early to buy tickets. However, we did take screenshots of the planned round-trip flights.
  • Who will cover the travel expenses?
    • I stated that I would cover the travel expenses, not my parents, reflecting the actual circumstances.
  • How detailed should the travel plan and invitation letter be?
    • Below are the lists of materials prepared, travel plans, and invitation letters I used at the time.

The Day of the Interview

I booked tickets and accommodations for my parents to go to Beijing and arranged a sightseeing itinerary. We also went through the visa documents together several times via video call.

The interview went smoothly, with only a few simple questions asked. None of the tricky questions were posed, and most of the prepared documents weren’t even needed. It seemed they only looked at my I20, and asked about the relationship between my parents and brother (since my brother was born after the one-child policy was lifted and has a large age gap with my parents). They exited the interview with a blue paper indicating that they had passed the visa interview, and soon after, all three received a 10-year US tourist visa.

To provide some background on my family: my parents are in their fifties and still working, and my brother was under six at the time. They are from Fujian Province and had not traveled abroad before (their passports were new). This trip to Beijing was also the first time my mother and brother had flown on a plane. So, it’s delightful that they were able to obtain a 10-year visa!

Beijing Itinerary

Here is their actual itinerary for the trip to Beijing:

2/28 Tuesday:

  • Fuzhou Changle Airport - Beijing Daxing Airport, arrived at 21:55
  • Accommodation: Yongxing Hotel (Beijing Daxing International Airport)

3/1 Wednesday

  • Sightseeing: National Museum of China, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City
  • Accommodation: Home Inn - Beijing Xuanwumen

3/2 Thursday

  • Sightseeing: Temple of Heaven Park, Beijing Zoo
  • Accommodation: FX Hotel (Beijing Yansha Embassy Area)

3/3 Friday

  • Morning: Attend the visa interview
  • Afternoon Sightseeing: Summer Palace, Peking University + Tsinghua University (from outside the gates)
  • Accommodation: FX Hotel (Beijing Yansha Embassy Area)

3/4 Saturday

  • Sightseeing: Mutianyu Great Wall
  • Accommodation: FX Hotel (Beijing Yansha Embassy Area)

3/5 Sunday

  • Return home by high-speed train from Beijing South Station at 8:00am

In the end, they had a great time on their trip to Beijing, making all the time and planning worthwhile!

  1. 1. DS160 Visa Interview Appointment
  2. 2. Preparing Visa Documents
  3. 3. The Day of the Interview
  4. 4. Beijing Itinerary