Steps & Guidelines For Obtaining A U.S. Visa
Determine the type of visa you will need.
If you are traveling for less than 90 days from a qualified country, you may not need a Business (B-1) Visa. Currently, 38 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). View a complete list of eligible countries.
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. Click here to locate the Embassy in your country.
Specific Visa appointment and processing wait times vary for each Embassy or Consulate. Click here 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. Click here for a current list of forms.
- 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. 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. Please plan accordingly and get the process started as early as possible.
Important Tips To Prevent Denial Of Visa
Establish and convince the 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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.