Applying for a U.S. visa (nonimmigrant visa)

23 Aug 11:34

Nonimmigrant visas

Visas, which allow people of other nations to enter a country, are given after applicants are pre-screened.
The issue of a visa does not ensure entry into the country. Immigration officers make the ultimate choice during screening.
Citizens of foreign countries who wish to enter the United States must get either an immigrant or a nonimmigrant visa, depending on whether they intend to stay permanently or temporarily.
A nonimmigrant visa is for persons who intend to stay in the United States for a limited time, such as students, business (including special-purpose workers), or tourists.
Apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) if you want to visit the United States for little more than 90 days for sightseeing or short-term business travel.

Types of nonimmigrant visas

1. Diplomat visa For government officials and their families visiting the United States on official business.
2. Temporary business or tourist visa For candidates seeking to enter the United States for medical treatment, tourism, or business.
3. Transit visa Applicants wishing to enter the United States in order to transit to another country
4. Commercial resident visa For candidates who want to invest or trade
5. Student visa For candidates planning to study as students in the United States
6. Employee of an international organization visa For candidates who want to attend conferences or other events hosted by foreign organizations
7. Temporary worker visa For candidates planning to work temporarily in the United States as specialists in subjects requiring specialized knowledge.
8. Training visa For those who require specialist knowledge or skills
9. Media visa For TV network and other media organization reporters, camera crews, editorial staff, and freelance journalists
10. International cultural exchange visitor visa For professors, researchers, graduate students, and those involved in cultural exchange programs and other activities.
11. Fiancé visa For candidates who want to marry American citizens and live permanently in the United States after marriage
12. Intra-company transferee visa For candidates who plan to work in the United States for a limited period at a parent firm, subsidiary, or other associated company.
13. Work-training student visa For candidates planning to participate in work-related training at a school or other institution in the United States.
14. Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge visa For those with highly specialized talents or accomplishments in disciplines such as business, athletics, education, science, and the arts. Those with great achievements in television, cinema, etc.
15. Religious worker visa Applicants who want to engage in religious activities in the United States (such as teachers, physicians, evangelists, and translators)

Applying for a nonimmigrant visa

As previously stated, there are several sorts of nonimmigrant visas.
Because the required documentation and circumstances differ depending on the kind of visa, make sure to select one that is appropriate for your situation.
Select whether you want to apply in person or by mail.
Most nonimmigrant visa applicants must be questioned at their nearest US consulate or embassy. However, in rare situations, only individuals wanting to extend nonimmigrant visas, those applying for diplomat or foreign government official, and those aged 13 or younger or 80 or older may be exempt from an interview.

Fill out the visa application, form DS-160, once you’ve decided on your visa type and method of application.
Complete all of the form’s questions.
You cannot edit form DS-160 after submitting it online. As a result, pay close attention to the details to avoid making errors.

Payment for the visa application fee will be made after submitting the visa application, form DS-160.
The application price varies depending on the kind of visa requested.
Also, because the charge is priced in US dollars, the amount may fluctuate depending on currency rates.
Payment options include credit card, Internet banking, and Pay Easy ATM.

Because the visa application cost is nonrefundable, avoid making repeated payments.After you have finished your application fee payment, you will be given a 12-digit receipt number. After payment is completed, the receipt number will be valid for four hours. You can schedule an interview by using the 12-digit receipt number.


Do You Have U.S. ESTA VISA Travel Authorization? If You Have ESTA Application, Check if it is Still Valid!

The visa interview

A nonimmigrant visa applicant must attend in person to the US consulate or embassy where he or she has arranged an appointment.
Some objects may not be taken into, or deposited with personnel for safekeeping at, consulates or embassies for security concerns. If you are unsure if you can bring something, we recommend contacting the consulate or embassy ahead of time.

You might be surprised by how long it takes to issue a visa

In general, the time between when the visa was applied for and when it was awarded is estimated to be roughly one month from the day the application was received. This duration may be reduced based on the purpose of your visit and/or the embassy’s or consulate’s discretion. However, if there are any concerns about the substance of the visa application, additional screening may be necessary. In such a circumstance, it may take even longer than one month following application to receive the visa.
If you require a visa, we recommend that you apply for it well in advance.

Detailed application procedures for a nonimmigrant visa

Each stage in the application process for a nonimmigrant visa is outlined below.
The methods outlined below apply when a visa application fee and an interview are necessary.
(The processes for those completing all application procedures by post and those applying for diplomat or foreign government official visas will change.)

Step 1: Determine the kind of visa.

The types and conditions of visas available to you will vary based on your reason for visiting the United States.
Begin by determining the appropriate type of visa for your situation and reviewing the requirements for each visa.

Step 2: Complete the DS-160 online application form.

All nonimmigrant visa applicants must complete the DS-160 online application form.

Step 3: Create a profile, pay the application cost, and set up an interview appointment.

Next, even though you will need to complete the visa application cost payment and schedule an interview, you must first build an online profile.
Make an appointment for your interview when you have finished payment of the application fee and the receipt number is shown in your profile. Print the confirmation paper and bring it with you to the interview after selecting your preferred interview day and time.

Applicants for F/M/J student or cultural exchange visas must pay the SEVIS charge in addition to the visa application price. Complete this payment before submitting your visa application. However, in other situations, this payment may be avoided if the individual meets specific criteria. Check with the institution you intend to attend or the exchange program in which you wish to participate in advance.

Step 4: Gather the papers required for the application

All candidates must submit the following documentation. Check for any extra documentation required for the sort of visa you are applying for to ensure you have all you need.

  1. A current passport
  2. Passports granted in the last decade
  3. The DS-160 confirmation page (print this page after completing the DS-160 online form)
  4. The interview appointment confirmation page (present a page with the interview date and time)
  5. One identification photograph (50 x 50 mm)

Please keep in mind that the photo must be in color with a white backdrop and shot within the last six months.
Also, as of November 1, 2016, images with persons wearing glasses are no longer accepted.

Step 5: Attend the interview.

Please attend the interview at your local US embassy or consulate.

【Embassies and consulates in the United Kingdom】
The US Embassy in London
General Consulate of the United States in Edinburgh
General Consulate of the United States in Belfast
Consulate General of the United States in Hamilton (British Overseas Territory of Bermuda)

【Australia’s embassies and consulates】
US Embassy in Canberra
Consulate General of the United States in Melbourne
General Consulate of the United States in Sydney
Consulate General of the United States in Perth

【New Zealand embassies and consulates】
The US Embassy in Wellington
General Consulate of the United States in Auckland

Interview appointments: US embassies and consulates work hard to finish interview processes as quickly as feasible in order to reduce interview wait times. Please apply for your interview as soon as possible, as the earlier you apply, the more probable you will be able to receive an appointment on your preferred day. As a general guideline, we recommend applying for a nonimmigrant visa three months before your intended trip to the United States.

Step 6: Get your passport stamped with the visa.

Visas are seldom granted on the same day as the interview. Later, your passport with the visa stamped will be mailed to your registered address.
Check the content of the visa carefully after receiving your passport to ensure there are no inaccuracies.

Notes on applying for a visa

Visa issuance No visa applicant is automatically authorized for visa issue. Visa issuance cannot also be assured in advance. As a result, it’s best not to book any nonrefundable flights or make any other travel plans until your passport with the visa stamped in it arrives.
We recommend making your final trip arrangements after receiving your visa.
Period of time to complete the visa process If the issue of your visa was approved during the interview, your passport with the visa stamped in it should arrive within one month of the interview date. However, in other circumstances, screening may take longer. The following are some reasons why it can take longer:

  1. When there are no documentation
  2. When the consulate determines that more papers are required,
  3. When additional processes are required for any reason

Please avoid from contacting us about the status of your visa application within one week to ten days of submitting it. Due to incomplete documentation or extended public holidays, it may take some time for a visa to be issued.

Apply for your visa as far ahead of the date you need to be in the United States as possible.

Answers to questions about visa applications

Q1. How much time should there be remaining before my passport expires when I apply for a visa?

Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the duration of your stay in the United States for the typical visit.

Q2. What would happen if I arrived in the U.S. without using ESTA?

If you have not gotten authorisation to enter the United States through ESTA and are a national of a country eligible for the visa waiver program, you will be denied boarding on the trip to the United States. Even if the airline allows you to board, once you arrive in the United States, you may face significant delays at immigration processing and, in the worst-case situation, you may be denied entrance. To go to the United States without a visa, you must apply for ESTA in advance. While an ESTA is good for two years, if your passport expires within two years, your ESTA will also expire on the same day.

Q3. I am a foreign national living in the U.K. Can I apply for a nonimmigrant visa in the U.K.?

Foreign nationals residing in the United Kingdom may apply for nonimmigrant visas in their home countries or in the United Kingdom where they now reside. Essentially, it is best to apply at the consulate having authority over the area in which they now reside. There is no certainty that any application, regardless of nationality, will be granted a visa. Consider your options carefully before applying for a nonimmigrant visa, as there is no assurance about the time it takes to complete procedures, and the application money is nonrefundable even if your nonimmigrant visa application is refused.

Q4. Do all applicants for nonimmigrant visas necessarily have to go to the embassy or consulate for an interview?

While typical candidates must visit the embassy or consulate in person, people who fit the following criteria may not have to.

  • Those traveling on official government business (A1, A2)
  • Central government workers traveling on official government business (C2, C3)
  • Employees of a central government or an international organization traveling on behalf of an international organization (G1, G2, G3, G4)
  • Applicants who meet all of the requirements for postal renewal
  • Those who are 13 or under or 80 or older on the day of the interview

Q5. Since my nonimmigrant visa will expire soon I would like to renew it. Do I need to complete all of the visa application procedures again?

Nonimmigrant visa applications must be submitted separately for each visa. As a result, even if you previously obtained a visa or your current nonimmigrant visa has not yet expired, you will need to apply again through the standard process. However, visitors who visit the United States regularly may be eligible for a fresh visa without having to go through another interview. Contact the nearest US embassy or consulate. If you meet the requirements, you may apply for a nonimmigrant visa by mail.

Q6. My passport has expired but my U.S. visa still is valid. Do I need to apply for a new visa?

Even though your passport has expired, you do not need to apply for a new visa as long as your U.S. visa is still valid. You are permitted to travel with both your new and old passports. However, the nationality represented on your new passport must match the nationality displayed on your previous passport, which was stamped with the visa. If your name has been legally changed as a result of an overseas marriage, divorce, or a court order, you may require a new passport. If you have a new passport, applying for a new US visa is suggested to ensure your seamless entry and exit from the US.

Q7. What should I do to extend my visa?

Visas, regardless of kind, cannot be extended. When their current visas expire, all visa holders must apply for new ones.

Q8. Must I submit the visa application form DS-160 online?

Yes. All candidates must complete the DS-160 online form and submit it online. Bring the printed DS-160 confirmation page to the interview at the United States embassy or consulate.

Q9. Does the expiration date of a visa indicate how long I may stay in the United States?

The expiration date of a visa indicates the latest day the visa can be used to enter the United States. As a result, it does not specify how long you may stay in the United States. When entering the nation, immigration agents determine the length of stay. You must adhere to the duration of stay granted by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immigration agents in the United States.
Check to ensure that all of the information written on your visa is correct once it has been delivered. If the information on the visa does not match what is in your passport, or if the information is wrong, tell the US embassy or consulate that issued it as soon as possible.

Q10. Is it a problem if my visa expires while I am in the United States?

No, there is no issue. Even if your visa has expired while you are in the United States, you may remain in the country as long as you follow the criteria and time period permitted by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials when you arrived.
(In this scenario, the information on form I-94 is applicable.)

Q11. Do I need to submit customs declaration forms for all members of the family when traveling with my family?

The airlines provide customs declaration forms. When traveling with your family, you may submit a single form for the entire group. After you are granted admission to the United States at the airport where your airline landed, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel will determine the length of your stay. If there is no difficulty, you should be able to remain for the period of time you asked.

Q12. The passport with my U.S. visa was lost/stolen. Whom should I contact?

If a legitimate passport containing a valid US visa is lost or stolen, notify the US embassy or consulate that issued the visa as soon as possible. You should also notify your local police station. If it is not discovered, you may be advised to reprint your passport and then apply for the visa again. Follow the instructions of the embassy or consulate officials as soon as possible.


Do You Have U.S. ESTA VISA Travel Authorization? If You Have ESTA Application, Check if it is Still Valid!

U.S. embassies and consulates in major countries

The following US embassies and consulates accept visa applications for travel to the United States. When applying for an ordinary visa, it is best to apply at the consulate or embassy closest to your home address, therefore look up the location.

Embassies and consulates in the U.K.

U.S. Embassy London Address : 33 Nine Elms Ln, London SW11 7US, U.K.
Tel. : +44 20-7499-9000
U.S. Consulate General Edinburgh Address : 3 Regent Terrace, Edinburgh EH7 5BW, U.K.
Tel. : +44 131-556-8315
U.S. Consulate General Belfast Address : 223 Stranmillis Rd, Belfast BT9 5GR, U.K.
Tel. : +44 28-9038-6100
U.S. Consulate General in Hamilton Address : Crown Hill, 16 Middle Rd, DV 03, Hamilton (British overseas territory of Bermuda)
Tel. : +1 441-295-1342

Embassies and consulates in Australia

U.S. Embassy Canberra Address : Moonah Pl, Yarralumla ACT 2600, Australia
Tel. : +61 2-6214-5600
U.S. Consulate General Melbourne Address : 553 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3004, Australia
Tel. : +61 3-9526-5900
U.S. Consulate General Sydney Address : MLC Centre, 19-29 Martin Pl, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Tel. : +61 2-9373-9200
U.S. Consulate General Perth Address : 16 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000, Australia
Tel. : +61 8-6144-5100

Embassies and consulates in New Zealand

U.S. Embassy Wellington Address : 29 Fitzherbert Terrace, Thorndon, Wellington 6011, N.Z.
Tel. : +64 4-462-6000
U.S. Consulate General Auckland Address : 23 Customs St E, Auckland, 1010, N.Z.
Tel. : +64 9-303-2724


Do You Have U.S. ESTA VISA Travel Authorization? If You Have ESTA Application, Check if it is Still Valid!