Table of Contents
To enter the United States, you would need to get a visa. The reason can be different. It could be for business, tourism, permanently moving there, studying, or working. The United States attracts different people with various goals, all seeking the “American Dream.”
But, one of the significant barriers to getting to the United States is getting a visa. If you don’t know how to go about it, then follow the steps below.
Immigrant & Nonimmigrant Visas
There are two types of United States visas, immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. Both are issued based on foreigners who wish to enter on a temporary or permanent basis. This is a visa that is given to a foreign national intending to live and work in the US permanently.
On the other hand, the nonimmigrant visa is given to foreign nationals intending to enter the United States temporarily for business, tourism, medical treatment, and any other type of temporary work.
But, in any of these cases, you will need an attorney to help you during the process. For instance, if you intend to travel to Santa Barbara, then you would need a Santa Barbara immigration attorney.
Steps To Apply For A US Visa
To get a visa to the united states, you can apply at the embassy in your country or the US Consulate by following the steps below:
1. Ensure You Need A Visa
40 visa waiver countries don’t need an application for a nonimmigrant to enter the US, but you should always ensure that you find out if you need to apply for a visa to enter the United States.
2. Choose The Type Of Visa
The next step of your application is to choose the visa type that you want. There are different types of US visas, so you should pay extra attention and ensure that you choose the right type for the application.
3. Fill Out The Nonimmigrant Visa Application For DS-160
As a nonimmigrant, you will have to fill out the online nonimmigrant visa application (Form DS-160). You can find this form online when you visit the website of the US consulate that you are applying for. You can either fill out the form yourself via the Consular Electronic Application Center or use the assistance of a third-party company.
Filling Out The DS-160 Form
The DS-160 application form has two parts. In the first part, you will answer questions about your personal information like your full name, nationality, marital status, date and place of birth address, etc.
In the second part, you will answer questions regarding background and security. They can include:
- Have you ever been convicted or arrested for a crime or offense?
- Have you ever been involved in a conspiracy to violate any law involving controlled substances?
- Have you ever committed, incited, assisted, ordered, or even participated in genocide, etc.?
- Have you ever been involved in money laundering?
4. Pay The US Visa Application Fee
The next step would be to pay for your US visa application fee. The fee usually depends on the type of visa you apply for. It usually includes:
- E-1, E-2 & E-3 visa applicants – $205
- Petition-Based Applicants (H, L, O, P, Q, R) – $190
- MRV Fee – $160
You should note that visa fees are usually not refundable when your application is rejected or if you cancel your appointment. You might also be asked to pay a visa issuance fee in addition to your visa application fee.
This fee is usually dependent on the relationship between your home country and the United States. This means that some applicants will pay it while some will not. The amount also varies from country to country. You have to pay every necessary fee and also have the receipts so you can proceed with your application.
5. Schedule A US Visa Interview
Every US nonimmigrant visa applicant from 14 to 79 years old must undertake a US visa interview. To participate in this compulsory interview, you must schedule an appointment with the embassy you are applying for or the US consulate.
The time might range from days to weeks, so you must schedule very early. But, you might be eligible for an emergency US visa appointment if you meet certain criteria. You should book an interview appointment after submitting your DS-160 form.
6. Compile Required Documents
You will need to submit all required documents alongside your DS-160 form or application form. These documents are needed to prove to the US consulate that you meet the stated requirements for the immigration visa you are applying for.
7. Attend The Visa Interview
This is the last step of the US visa application process. You must appear early for an interview with every supporting document. The interviewing officer who interviews you would ask about your background and other important details based on the type of visa you applied for. If you intend to work in the US, then it may be longer than when going for a visit.
8. Wait For Processing
After a visa interview, the next step is for your application to be processed. The processing time is usually dependent on your applied visa type. It usually ranges from a few days to a few months.
After it has been processed, you will know if you have been approved or denied. Only make travel arrangements after your visa has been approved. This ensures that you don’t incur expenses in case it is denied.
Every traveler to the United States must first get a visa. The visa is the authorization for a person to enter a port-of-entry which is usually the airport. Several security measures have been added to the visa process over the years, but the visa application process has remained relatively the same.
Foreign nationals intending to get a United States visa must create a form, conduct an interview, and also perform a process of cross-checking data in an inter-agency database. Usually, visa applications take a few weeks to process, but it could also take longer.
This is usually dependent on different factors like the application complexity, volume, and so on. The steps mentioned above should help guide you through the visa application process.