Steps & Guidelines For Obtaining A U.S. Visa
Determine the type of visa you will need.
- Types of visas for temporary visitors: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english.html
- Business Visitor Visa (B-1): http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/business.html
- Visitor Visa: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/visit/visitor.html
Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
If you are traveling for less than 90 days from a qualified country, you may not need a Business (B-1) Visa. Currently, 36 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). To view a complete list of countries, visit: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html#countries.
Nationals of the 37 countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program may use VWP if they have a machine-readable or e-passport and the following conditions are met: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html#travelertype
Schedule an interview appointment immediately with the U.S. embassy or consulate by telephone, mail, over the Internet or in person, depending on the circumstances in your country. Visit http://www.usembassy.gov/ to locate your country.
Specific visa wait times (for interview appointments and processing) vary for each embassy or consulate. Visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html to locate your city’s estimated wait time.
Be sure to ask what fees are required and how they are to be paid. (Most fees are nonrefundable and must be paid prior to the appointment).
Get all your documentation ready:
- A valid passport
- Appropriate applications. These can be obtained through an embassy or consulate at http://www.usembassy.gov/ or http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1262.html
- Documents to support the application: detailed employment, reason for travel and financial status
- Proof of payment of fees
- IDEA letter of invitation
Submit your application, passport and supporting documents to the U.S. embassy or consulate on your scheduled interview date.
In some cases, additional reviews will be required. Additional steps will vary from requests for additional interviews and information to official registration and fingerprinting. This may add at least 4–6 weeks to the processing time.
Important Tips To Prevent Denial Of Visa
Establish and convince U.S. embassy or consulate that you have strong ties with your country (e.g., job, house, family, bank account). “Ties” are the various aspects of your life that bind you to your country or residence: your possessions, employment, social and family relationships. Consular offices are aware of diversity. During the visa interview they look at:
- Professional background
- Social status
- Cultural ties
- Family situation
- Long-range plans
Questions To Ask Yourself If Visa Is Denied:
- Did I explain my situation accurately?
- Did the consular officer overlook something?
- Is there any additional information I can present to further establish my residence and strong ties in my home country?
- Did I present convincing NEW evidence of strong ties to my home country?
Helpful Links and Phone Numbers:
- U.S. Visa Policy
- List of U.S. embassies and consulates
- Visa Waiver Program
- Business Visa Center
Business Visa Center Email: email@example.com (preferred means of contact)
Phone: 202-663-3198 Hours: 8:30am to 5pm (EST) Monday – Friday.
- For general Visa information and to speak with a Visa Specialist, contact the Visa office at:
Phone: 202-663-1225 Hours: 8:30am to 5pm (EST) Monday – Friday.