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.
- A current passport
- Passports granted in the last decade
- The DS-160 confirmation page (print this page after completing the DS-160 online form)
- The interview appointment confirmation page (present a page with the interview date and time)
- 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.