US Visa

A traveler from a foreign country needs a visa to enter into the United States of America. Visa is a form of permission which makes you eligible to enter into a specific country.Issued by the US Consular Officer,
US visa just makes you eligible to enter the US, it does not gives you the right to enter the States. The immigration officer at the Port of Entry in US is the person who decides whether a person can enter the States and for how long can he stay.

There are mainly two types of Visas:- Immigrant Visa and Nonimmigrant Visa.

Immigrant Visa - It is the visa given to the people who intend to stay in the United States of America permanently. The norms for this type of US visa are more stringent as compared to the Nonimmigrant visa norms.

Nonimmigrant Visa - This visa is issued to all those who want to visit US temporarily for tourism, medical treatment, work or study.It includes - USA B1 Visa, F1 Visa USA, H1 Visa of USA, J1 Visa USA, Finance Visa USA,Visitor Visa, USA Travel Visa, Student Visa USA among others.The United States of America also offers visa waiver to citizens from some specific countries such as Canada, Czech Republic, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, Estonia, the Slovak Republic and the Republic of Korea. Nationals of these country can travel to the US without a visa for a travel of ninety days and less.

Apply for a US Visa
A visa is a legal document issued by a country's governing authority permitting foreign individuals to formally request entrance into the country during a given period of time and for a specific purpose.

Visas are either stamped or attached into the recipient's passport or are issued as separate pieces of paper. In the USA also the story is no different.

Filing for a US visa can take time between a few weeks to years depending on the type of visa applied for (ranging from transit visa, education visa, travel visa, working visa, to religious visa, marriage visa, etc.), the status of the applicant's country to the US, and the extent to which the formal paperwork of application has been completed successfully. However, there are a series of steps involved when people apply for a US Visa.

For a Visa, an applicant has/needs:
  • to inform the nearby US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) [now the US Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS ]. In case the applicant does not live in the US, he/she has to call the nearest American embassy or consulate
  • to ask for all application documents for the visa needed by the applicant
  • to ask if he/she will need a US sponsor. In case of necessity, the applicant has to begin your search for a sponsor immediately
  • to fill out the preliminary application fully and neatly, and mail it back for processing, along with any photos, documents, and fees
  • to send all documents by registered mail and send only the copies of documents, unless the originals are requested
  • to deliver all completed documents in person to save time
  • to obtain a second packet, depending on his/her residence status and visa
  • to contact the sponsor immediately (in case it is needed), and send him/her the necessary documents via registered mail.
  • to obtain all completed documents and fix an interview/filing appointment, (and even if necessary a physical exam). It is around this time that the applicant would come to know whether the visa will be issued to him/her or not.

Documents Required :

The main documents that are required to obtain a visa to US are:
  • Application forms depending upon the nature of visa sought
  • Birth certificates
  • Passports
  • US tax returns for the last three years
  • Social security numbers
  • Proof of marital status
  • Proof of student status
  • Proof of military service
  • Proof of clear criminal record from local police department
  • Proof of residence in the United States
  • Children's birth certificates
  • Letters from bank officers listing US bank holdings
  • Photos

USA Visa Application Form

USA Visa application form
is also available in various types to meet the various technical requirements of the diverse immigrant population to successfully visit the US and pursue their objectives.

1. Immigrant Visa Applications :
  • Form DS-117 for application to determine returning resident status
  • Form DS-156K for nonimmigrant fiance(e) visa application
  • Form DS-230 for application for immigrant visa and alien registration
  • Form DS-1981 for affidavit concerning exemption from immigration requirements for a foreign adopted child
  • Form DS-3032 for choice of address and agent
  • Form DS-3052 for nonimmigrant V visa application
  • Form DSP-122 for supplemental registration for the diversity immigrant visa program.

2. Nonimmigrant Visa Application Forms :
  • Form DS-156 for nonimmigrant visa application
  • Form DS-156E for nonimmigrant treaty trader / investor application
  • Form DS-156K for nonimmigrant fiance(e) visa application
  • Form DS-157 for supplemental nonimmigrant visa application
  • Form DS-158 for contact information and work history for nonimmigrant visa applicant
  • Form DS-1648 for application for A, G, or NATO Visa
  • Form DS-2013 for additional applicant organization information
  • Form DS-2019 for Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.
  • Form DS-3052 for nonimmigrant V Visa application
  • Form DS-3035 for J-1 visa waiver recommendation application instructions.

USA Tourist Visa
People from all around the world visit the United States every year on grounds of tourism. The US authority grants non-immigrant visitor visas ( B category visas ) to facilitate USA tourist visas on grounds of business, travel, vacation, medical treatment, etc.).

Basic conditions for applying for tourist visa ( B 2 visa for pleasure or medical treatment purposes) are:
  • The purpose of the trip to the US is purely for pleasure
  • The applicants plan to remain for a specific, limited period
  • The applicants have a residence outside the US as well as other binding ties which will ensure their return at the end of the visit.

Student Visa USA
Every year hundreds of thousands of young people immigrate to the US for purpose of studying in some of the best-known international institutions.

They go to the US not only to study academic courses or for conducting research, but also to join academic studies on exchange visitor programs, or to study non-academic and vocational courses. There are various forms of Student Visa USA.

Types of Student Visas :
The F 1 Visa is available for those who intend to visit the US for studying an academic course or conducting research in an accredited American college or University. For conditions of obtaining this Visa please refer to F 1 Visa USA , Index 3 Topic 6 . F 2 Visa is meant for the family members/dependents of the principal applicant.

The J Visa is meant for people who are visiting the US on an exchange visitor program. This visa is for cultural and educational exchange programs. While J 1 Visa is for the exchange visitor themselves, the J 2 Visa is for the spouse and dependent children of J 1. For details on this type of Visa, please refer to J 1 Visa USA , Index 3 Topic 11 . J 2 Visa is meant for the family members/dependents of the principal applicant.

The M Visa is suitable for those who want to visit the US for the purpose of non-academic and vocational training. This Visa was started in 1982 and can be held for much lesser time than a F 1 Visa. M 2 Visa is meant for the family members/dependents of the principal applicant

USA B1 Visa
The B Visa to the USA is meant for the visitors and of the two types of B Visas, B1 and B2, the former is suitable for those who are temporarily visiting the US for business purposes (the Visa however is not to permit any act of operating a business in the US).

The USA B-1 Visa is appropriate for acts like:
1. Consulting business associates
2. Negotiating a contract
3. Participating in short-term training

Some of the documents required for obtaining the B1 Visa include:
1. Visa application on Optional Form 156
2. Invitation letter from US company with which the applicant is going to engage in business transactions
3. Letter from the applicant's employer company in the home country
4. Contracts or bills on recent exports and imports
5. Incorporation documents and business license(s)
6. Tax statements for last two years

The application needs to be done at least 60 days prior the start of the journey. In case the nature of visit is more scientific, the application needs to be made 90 days in advance. However, processing of application varies from place to place.

Regarding the interview part, some consulate can arrange for emergency / expedited appointment on grounds of urgency of visit (this provision is entirely at the discretion of the Consular officials).

J 1 Visa USA
There are various types of visas available for people around the world to immigrate to the USA in various capacities. The J category visa is one which is meant for educational and cultural exchange programs between the US and other countries. Of the sub-types of J visa, the J 1 Visa USA is issued to exchange visitors, in a program designated by the US information agency.

Condition :
Under this category, the exchange visitors are required to return to their home country for two years after the expiry of the J-1 visa. The visitor, subject to the home residence requirement, can not change status to temporary worker or permanent resident (unless they have got a waiver of the requirement).

Documents Required :
  • Photocopies of first page, last page, and the address page of the passport
  • One photograph
  • Form DS-156 (non-immigrant visa application form)
  • Form DS-157 (supplemental non-immigrant visa application form)
  • Form DS-158
  • Valid HDFC Bank Visa Fee receipt
  • Demand draft of visa issuance fee
  • Copy of Form DS-2019
  • Evidence of payment of SEVIS Fee receipt I-901, if applicable
  • Besides there are supporting documents including passport, interview appointment letter, evidence of financial resources, letter from the funding organization in case the visitor is funded

Procedure :
  • Paying the application fee and VFS Service Charge at a designated branch of HDFC Bank before applying for the Visa
  • Application can be made online or at US Visa application centers
  • Applicants require to make an appointment for visa interview and fingerprint collection
  • Application can be made online or at US Visa application centers

H1B Visa USA
There are various categories of H-Category non-immigrant visas for those people who wish to work temporarily in the US, such as: H 1, H 1B, H 2B, H 3, and H 4.

Of these, the H 1B visa USA is meant for giving opportunity to foreign-based specialist knowledge workers (like scientists, programmers, engineers) to immigrate temporarily to the US for greater professional prospects.

Conditions for H 1 B Visa:
  • The applicant must be a professional (that means he/she must be in a field for which a four-year college degree or its equivalence is the minimum admission requirement) or possessing of distinguished merit and ability
  • The company /organization which is hiring the applicant has to show its requirement of a person possessive of relevant qualification. The applicant must maintain a foreign residence and intend to stay there temporarily
  • Under the H 1 B Visa, an applicant can work upto a maximum of six years (though however a petition will not be granted for more than three years).
  • The USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Service) will not grant any petition for the self-employed people
  • A maximum number of 65,000 H 1B visas are issued every year (of which 6800 are reserved for Chile and Singapore under certain treaty conditions between them and the US)

Requirements :
Apart from the mandatory documents (please refer to F1 Visa USA , Index 3 Topic 6 for details), other documents include:
  • Form I-129
  • A certified labor condition application from the Department of Labor
  • Evidence that the proposed employment is a specialty occupation
  • Copy of written contract between the employer and the applicant
  • Educational certificates equivalent to the required US degree

Last Updated on: September 19th, 2017