People with different intentions come to the US, ranging from tourists to people seeking for job opportunities and people who come to study or access medical treatments. The U.S is believed to be a land of freedom and a land full of economic opportunities that hold for a brighter future, a country with endless opportunities and a safe place for refugees and people seeking asylum.
The united states have an embassy or consulate in each country where visa applications are carried out.
The following are the step by step guidelines to be followed when applying for a United States visa:
- Do you need a visa?
- The type of visa to apply for
- Application form DS-160
- Pay your application fee
- Schedule for a visa interview
- Put together your document file
- Attend visa interviews
- Patiently wait for processing
DO YOU NEED A VISA?
39 countries are known to have a visa waiver and applicants within countries with United states visa waivers do not need to apply and process visa before entry to the united states. An individual within any of the 39 countries must be a citizen of that country, must possess Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), have an e-passport, and proof that you’ll return to your country. The e-passport is different from the regular passport and it’s a document used to apply for Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
The countries with VISA waiver are listed below:
- South Iceland
- New Greece
- United Kingdom
- San Marino
- Ireland France
- Korea Japan
THE TYPE OF VISA TO APPLY FOR
There are various United States visa types but the two main categories are:
- United States immigrant visa
- United States nonimmigrant visa
This is the stage where you pick the appropriate visa category. It is important to identify the category that suits you before commencing the application.
FILLING OF APPLICATION FORM
DS-160 is the united states visa application form that must be properly filled when applying for a visa. The form is easily accessible on the website of the united states embassy or consulate from which you are applying.
The DS-160 form is divided into two parts. The first part contains questions about your personal information. Questions such as:
- Full name
- Marital status
- Country and nationality
- Passport number
- Education etc
The second part contains questions on security and background information. Questions like:
Ex-convict; if you have been convicted of a crime
If you’ve been involved in money laundering or any financial crime
If you have ever committed or participated in genocide.
All questions in the DS-160 form must be answered in English, if you stop filling out the form after 20 minutes, the session will expire and you’ll have to start afresh. Once you have completed the form, a confirmation page will appear with an alpha-numeric barcode. The confirmation page is to be printed and brought for the interview at the united states consulate. Your DS-160 form must be submitted before scheduling an appointment for the interview at the embassy or consulate. DS-160 form is required from the adult and children applicant. Kindly ensure you fill the form properly as Submitting any incorrect answer could render you ineligible to enter the united states of America.
PAY YOUR APPLICATION FEE
The united states visa is categorized into an immigrant visa and a nonimmigrant visa. There are fees to be paid for whichever category you are applying for.
There are different types of united states non-immigrant visas, and as such, there is no specific fee allocated for a non-immigrant visa. Under the non-immigrant visa category, the different types of visa application fees can be grouped into non-petition-based visas and petition-based visas.
- For non-petition-based visa types, the application fee is $160
- For petition-based visa types, the application fee is $190
- E visas for traders and investors are $205 (petition based)
- K visas for spouse and fiancé is $265 (petition based)
Non-petition based visas are those visa that does not require someone from the US to petition for the applicant who is seeking temporal entry to the US and vice versa for petition based
The fees to be paid by immigrants are divided into petition fee and processing fee
Petition fee ranges from $535 for form l-130 and $775 for form l-800
The amount charged for processing fee differs depending on the type of visa;
Processing fee for immediate relative $325
Employment-based immigration $345 and K visa for fiancé $265
SCHEDULE VISA INTERVIEW
All applicants are required to schedule and attend the United States visa interview. You are advised to schedule an appointment immediately after you submit your DS-160 form, after which an interview confirmation letter will be sent to you which you are to come along with on the day of the interview
GATHER THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS
Different types of visas require different documents, however, some documents are required no matter the visa type. Such documents include:
- Valid passport
- One photograph
- Employment document
- Property document
- Invitation letter
- Social media details
- DS-160 form for non-immigrants etc
ATTEND THE VISA INTERVIEW
After meeting all the requirements, the last stage is the interview stage. The questions that shall be asked by the official shall be based on your background and relevant questions based on the type of visa you applied for. Kindly ensure you go with all the required documents for the interview.
WAIT FOR YOUR DOCUMENTS TO BE PROCESSED
After your interview and your visa is being processed, you will know if your visa was approved or denied. The time it takes for the processing of visa application depends on the type of visa you are hoping to get. The non-immigrant visa takes days, weeks, and sometimes months while the immigrant visa can take years to be finally approved.