How to apply for a USA visa: step-by-step guide
Visa to the United States is considered one of the most difficult to obtain. Many applicants use the help of specialized agencies, but in fact, intermediaries can rarely increase your chances of getting a visa. Success depends on three factors: a properly completed application form, the collected set of documents, and your performance during the interview. We tell you how to go through the application process on your own, without anyone else's help.
Determine your travel goals
The type of visa requested will depend on it. The classification of non-immigrant visas to the United States is very complex, and there is a specific visa category for each specific purpose. The most common type of U.S. visa is B-1/B-2, intended for guest, business, and tourist visits. If you are coming to the United States for employment, decide on the type of work visa you need. If you plan to study in the United States, check the instructions for applying for a student visa .
Pay the consular fee
This must be done before the interview is scheduled. It is better to pay the fee in advance, and only then proceed to fill out the application form. This will save you time.
The standard fee for a US visa is $160. You can make a payment with a bank card or at a post office.
The payment receipt is valid for one year. During this time, you should be interviewed by an American embassy or consulate.
Please note that in case of visa denial the fee is non-refundable.
Take a U.S. visa photo
A digital photo will be required when filling out the application form, so take care of it in advance. Be sure to follow the official requirements! An inappropriate photo may result in visa refusal. Besides, it will not be possible to attach it to the form.
Visafoto.com allows getting a compliant U.S. visa photo without leaving your home. Learn more in this guide.
Fill out the form DS-160
You need to fill out the form electronically directly from the U.S. State Department website . When filling out the form, use only the English alphabet when writing names, answer the questions only in English. It is very important to answer all questions truthfully and accurately. Almost every point of the form is accompanied by tips: they explain exactly what information is required and where it can be found.
Having filled in and sent the application form, save and print out the confirmation number.
If your photo was rejected by the DS-160 form, this does not mean that you will not get a visa. Just bring a correct photo for the interview.
After the successful submission you will get a confirmation number of the DS-160 form that you will need later.
Make an appointment for a job interview
To do this, create an account on Ustraveldocs.com. If you have family members traveling with you, you must create a separate profile for each family member. Click the "Schedule My Appointment" link and follow the instructions.
You will need the following information:
- Passport number;
- Number of your fee payment receipt;
- Ten-digit barcode number from the DS-160 confirmation page.
Collect the necessary documents
The list of mandatory documents required for an interview for any visa type:
- DS-160 confirmation number. You do not need to print the questionnaire itself;
- A valid passport which contains at least one blank page;
- Confirmation of payment of the consular fee;
- One printed photo (the same as you attached to the DS-160 form);
- Printed confirmation of the interview appointment.
Supporting documents for US visa interview
Having one or more documents from this list will significantly increase your chances of obtaining a visa. Provide them only if they are requested by the consuls during the interview.
- Evidence of financial solvency: current bank account statement; employment certificate with an indication of position and salary; copies of tax returns; documents on registration of own business. Non-employee may provide sponsorship letters, which should be supported by documents confirming the relationship with a sponsor.
- Evidence of connection with your home country: documents on possession of property (apartment, car), marriage certificates, birth of children.
- Explanations of the purpose of the trip: invitation from the host party (e.g., business partners in the United States), travel voucher. You can also take old passports with visas and stamps of other countries: avid travelers have more chances to get an American visa than homebodies.
Have an interview at the embassy
During the visa interview you will most likely be asked the following questions:
- What is the purpose of the trip?
- What places are you going to visit in the United States?
- How long are you going to stay in the United States?
- Why do you want to visit the United States?
- Where do you work? What does your company do?
- Who are you going with? Married/married/ in a relationship? Have you ever traveled together?
- What countries have you been in before?
All these questions must be answered clearly and without stuttering. Before the interview, it is advisable to repeat the answers to possible questions several times to relieve the excitement. Pay special attention to answering the question about planned travel to the United States. You should clearly outline the travel plan so that the visa officer understands what you intend to do. Your answers should match what is on the application form.
Be prepared for the interview to be conducted very quickly: about 2-3 minutes. This means that you need to answer clearly, separating the important from the unimportant and, of course, not to give out your excitement. The most important thing is to convince the officer that you have not any immigration intentions.
How can I know if you were given a visa or not? It is simple: if an officer took your passport, the answer is yes. The delivery of the passport with a visa after the interview takes from 1-2 days to one week.
In case of denial your passport will be returned to you immediately. Americans do not put a visa denial stamp, but all information is registered in the system. In any case, after the denial of a U.S. visa, it makes sense to go for a second interview at least six months later. We wish you good luck at the interview and successfully obtaining a visa to the USA!Evidence of financial solvency: current bank account statement; employment certificate with an indication of position and salary; copies of tax returns; documents on registration of own business. Non-employee may provide sponsorship letters, which should be supported by documents confirming the relationship with a sponsor.
Also be sure to bring a printout of your interview invitation letter, the DS-160 Application Confirmation page, recent photograph, a valid passport and all passports previously issued to you.