During 2016, the DHS granted around 180 million non-immigrant admissions to the United States, according to DHS workload estimates. There are several types of non-immigrant visas with different qualifications and application items.
Of all the non-immigrant visas, it is the B-1/B-2 visitor visa, issued to people who intend to travel to the US temporarily for business (B-1) or pleasure/medical treatment (B-2), which is the most popular.
If you are planning to visit the US for any these purposes, here is a quick overview of the process you need to go through to apply for a visitor visa.
Qualifications for a US Visitor Visa
Applying for a B-1/B-2 visa needs the traveler to demonstrate to the consular officer that they qualify for a US visa in accordance with Section 214(b) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which states that only an intending immigrant is eligible for a B-1/B-2 visa.
The US authorities issue visitor visas to travelers whose purpose of visiting the United States is for a temporary trip, such as business, pleasure or medical treatment. The authorities would be interested in knowing whether you have a residence outside the United States. Moreover, the traveler should have adequate financial support to fund their trip and cover their expenses in the US.
The authorities would want to make sure that the traveler intends to remain in the US for a specific, limited period of time and then return to their home country, once the trip duration is over. Strict actions are taken against visitors who overstay their visitor visa.
6-Step Process for Visitor Visa
Getting a visitor visa for the US is subject to approval, where the traveler needs to apply for and get the visitor visa stamped in their passport.
Given below are the steps involved in the application process:
- Digital Photograph of the Applicant: This is the first requirement of the visitor visa application. You need to get a colored digital photo (600X600 pixels to 1200X 1200 pixels) for the visa application. Visit this link to know all about photo requirements for the visa.
- Visitor Visa Application: Completing the online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form is the next step. The information filled in the form needs to be accurate and complete. So, before you start filling the form, visit this link to understand the guidelines for filling in the DS-160 form.
- Visitor Visa Application Fees: Before scheduling a US visitor visa interview, a visa fee must be paid, which is $160 (effective from September 26, 2012), either electronically as a bank transfer or in cash at the designated bank branches throughout the country. This fee is non-refundable.
- Interview Appointment for Visitor Visa: After paying the fee, the next step would be to schedule two appointments, the first one for your biometric information, including fingerprinting and photograph, and second at the Consulate or Embassy for a personal visa interview.
- Fingerprinting at Visa Application Center (VAC): Make sure you schedule the biometrics interview with one of the five Offsite Facilitation Centers (OFCs) at least a day or two before the interview at the consulate.
- Visitor Visa Interview: The final step is a visa interview at the designated US consulate. Remember to carry your photographs, recent and old passports, if any, interview appointment letter, DS160 confirmation page stamped at the VAC, visa application fee receipts and other supporting documents with you.
Many people worry about the visa interview. However, remember that if you appear confident and remain honest in your answers, there is no reason why you would be denied a visa.
Here are some tips to ace the visa interview.