The US is known to be one of the top-ranking counties in the world for visitors. Even though most visa applications for the USA are for leisure purposes, not all are solely for tourist reasons.
When foreigners attempt to get a US visitor visa, the documentation they submit can vary according to their purpose for visiting the US. The good news is that no matter the purpose of the application, you have the chance to get your passport or visa online – making the process so much easier.
If you are planning a trip to the USA and have questions about visa processing, this guide can come in handy.
A US visitor visa is a non-immigrant visa, also known as US Tourist Visa. If you wish to visit the USA only temporarily and are a non-citizen of the States, you should apply for this particular visa.
Some countries allow a 90-day tourist visit to the US without requiring a visa application – but only if you’re a citizen of one of the participating countries. This, of course, should be checked with the responsible institution in your county. The program is called the Visa Waiver Program.
Typically, the US Visit Visa is available to visitors for six months. Yet, the US Customs and Border Protection reserve the right to shorten this period if a specific situation entails it.
When you find yourself at the Port of Entry (POE), the immigration officer might put a date on the visa issued in your passport. This might occur upon collecting specific information on you and your visa – as in that situation, your visa will last until the date stated by the officer.
If a date is not written in your passport by the immigration police, you have the full six months at your disposal.
If you continue your stay, applying for a visitor visa extension will be required. The authorities will examine the visa extension application, and the approval period will last another six months.
The intentions of applying for a US Visit Visa can vary. Therefore, in some visa application cases, extra documentation will be required.
The following is everything you’ll need for a visa application. They are valid for any visa applicant requesting a temporary US visit visa.
A valid passport is the one that you are currently using. If you have had your passport for a while, make sure it will last for at least six months from the moment you pass the US border.
If your passport is to expire soon, apply for a new one before submitting the visa application.
Previous passports are submitted only if you still have a hold of them. They are relevant documents to prove your traveling history. Having applied and received visas from other countries indicates that you are a good candidate.
Your old passports can sometimes serve as proof of your citizenship. The older your passport is, the more concrete proof it can be.
You will need only one printed photo for your visa application – but it should meet the given requirements:
- In color;
- On white background;
- Taken within the last six months;
- Full face view facing the camera;
- Your face should take up 50-69% of the picture;
- Your eyes should be in line with 50-69% from the bottom of the photograph;
- You should sport a neutral facial expression;
- You should dress in casual clothes;
- Eyeglasses, hats, or anything that will cover your face features is forbidden;
- The hair can be covered only if part of religious clothing.
DS-160 is the visa application form, fulfilled by temporary visa applicants only. It takes approximately 90 minutes to fulfill the application – and you should submit it back in 30 days.
The DS-260 form is essential for the application, so you should double-check when fulfilling specific areas. Any wrong information will prolong the process of obtaining the visa.
After you complete and sign the DS-160 application form, a confirmation sheet with a bar code will appear. You need the barcode to confirm you’ve fulfilled all previous requirements for a visa.
The VAC Stamp confirms you’ve obtained a visa in your passport. It takes up one page and includes all the vital info regarding your visa.
Once you enter the US border, the police will know of your visa – since it is printed right into your official traveling document.
The US Visit Visa has a fee of $160. Authorities must have documented proof that you paid the mandatory fee. So you should add the receipt to the required documentation.
Most likely, the US Embassy will ask for your bank statement before you visit the US. This is just a formality – to see if you can sustain yourself and won’t face any financial struggles during your visit to the US.
Showing that you are worthy of getting a temporary US visa is Character Proof. Any documents that show you have no criminal records or the ones delivering your intentions of coming back to your native country will do.
Submitting a letter from your work or university that they are waiting for your arrival can serve as proof.
If you aim to attain a visa for purposes other than tourism, the embassy will ask for some additional documents.
Visa applications for visiting family or friends will need an invitation letter added to the application file. Applications for medical purposes will require hospital appointments and diagnosis documents.
Since the US has a constant flow of tourists, you can also obtain a tourist visa right after submitting the needed documents. Millions of people get a US visitor visa just by following the preset steps – and get the once-in-a-lifetime chance to travel and experience everything the United States offers. Remember to follow the list, and include all the needed documents in your application file. If you have nothing unacceptable in your history, you will get your US visitor visa in no time.