Questions About U.S. Visitor Visas
What is a U.S. Visitor Visa?
A U.S. visitor visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows you to stay in the U.S. temporarily. The most popular visitor visas are B-1 Business Visas, B-2 Tourist Visas and J-1 Exchange Visas. The purpose of your visit will determine which visa you should apply for.
What are the different types of U.S. visitor visas?
How do I apply for a U.S. visitor visa?
The three most popular types of visitor visas are B-1, B-2 and J-1. Your reason for visiting the U.S. will determine which visa you should apply for.
The eligibility requirements for each visitor visa type are different.
After completing the application online, be sure to print the confirmation page. You will need this for the visa interview. You must upload a passport-style photograph with this application.
If you are applying for a J-1 Visa, you will also need to be accepted into a qualified exchange visitor program. Learn more about the Holiday Work Visa, Au Pair Visa, Student Exchange Visa, Internship Visa and Trainee Programs.
If you are under the age of 14 or over the age of 79, you may not be required to have an interview.
The application fee for a visitor visa is $160 USD. While some applicants are required to pay before the interview, others may be allowed to pay at the interview.
You will be required to bring the following documents to your visa interview:
- A passport that is valid for at least six months past your planned date of departure
- The confirmation page from your Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application
- Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before the interview
The U.S. embassy or consulate where your interview will take place may request you to provide additional documentation, such as evidence of:
- The purpose of your trip
- Your intent to leave the U.S. after your trip
- Your ability to pay all the costs of your trip
The visa interview will take place at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you live. You will be interviewed by a consular officer who will determine if you are qualified to receive a visa. He or she will review you documentation and visa application, ask you questions about your personal history and the reason for your trip to the U.S.
If the consular officer approves you for a visa, he or she will take your passport and have a visa placed in it. When your passport with visa is ready, you will notified to pick it up or it will be sent to you.
Depending on your nationality, you may have to pay a visa issuance fee if your visa is approved.
What is the visa interview?
The visa interview is required for all U.S. visitor visa applicants between the ages 14 and 79. After your visa application has been accepted, you are required to attend a visa interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy in your country. Here, a consular officer will interview you concerning your:
- Biographic information (personal history)
- Reason for wanting visit the U.S.
- Personal finances
- Ties to your home country (family and otherwise)
If the visa interview goes well, the consular officer will grant you a U.S. visa. If the visa interview does not go well, your visa application may be denied. If your application is denied, ask your consular officer if you may apply for a waiver of ineligibility. You may reapply for a visa in the future.
How do I extend my visa?
Most nonimmigrant visa-holders can apply for an extension of stay, lengthening the amount of time they are able to remain in the U.S. To apply, File Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status before your current visa expires.