If you wish to enter the United States you need to apply for a visa unless you are from a select list of countries that work on a visa waiver program. Applying for a visa can be frustrating to go through and immensely time consuming. Make your visa application experience easier by following these tips on applying for a visa.
Check to see if your country is on the visa waiver program list.
There are only 37 countries in the world that have a visa waiver program with the United States, meaning that residents can go through US borders without a visa of any kind and travel around for up to 90 days.
These countries are: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Make sure you apply for the correct visa.
If your country is not on the visa waiver program list you will need to apply for a visa to enter the United States. There are numerous different types of American visas to apply for, all indented for a different purpose.
- Nonimmigrant Visas are for people who wish to visit the US on a temporary basis. To qualify for a nonimmigrant visa you must provide documentation demonstrating that you have ties in your home country. Ultimately the US government wants to make sure that you do not intend to immigrate to the US. You also have to prove that you have sufficient funds to support your trip. Nonimmigrant visas include:
- Visitor’s Visas. Designated for tourists and those seeking medical treatment in the US and for people on business trips, visitor’s visas are the most common visa issued by the US. The visa grants you a certain allotment of time to enter and be within US borders.
- Student Visas. Foreigners wishing to attend school, learn English or participate in a vocational program located in the US must be granted a student visa. Acceptance into a program is a prerequisite to the student visa. Educational institutions and program sponsors provide international students with the necessary documents to apply for a student visa after they have been accepted into their prospective programs.
- Temporary Work Visas. People who will be temporarily working in the US need to apply for a temporary work visa with the assistance of their employer. There are many different work visas depending on the type of work you will be doing, so make sure to apply for the correct one.
- Fiancé(e) Visas. If you are engaged to be married to an American citizen you both may apply for a fiancé visa together. The visa allows the foreigner to enter the US for 90 days in order to be married. If you are not married to the US citizen who petitioned for your visa by the end of 90 days you will be deported. Before you are issued the fiancé visa the consulate requires proof that your romantic relationship is genuine.
- Immigrant Visas are for people who hope to permanently move to and live in the US. Currently it is nearly impossible to get an immigrant visa without a family member or employer petition for your visa from within the US.
Have a successful interview with the consulate or embassy issuing you the visa.
The US culture is geared around proficiency and lots of paperwork. Your interview will go best if you have everything in order and filled out before you arrive. Don’t forget any paperwork required for your specific visa. Lists of the paperwork and forms necessary for each visa are on the US Department of State website (http://travel.state.gov).
Be completely honest with the interviewer. The people interviewing at the consulate are trained to detect untruthful people and those hoping to cheat their way into the US. Be truthful, calm, courteous and respectful and the interview should go smoothly.