Because the United States is a land of wishes, many people around the world come to this country for various reasons. Most people who plan to travel to the United States must obtain a suitable visa based on the purpose of their trip. Tourism, study work, and permanent residence are among the reasons for applying for a visa. The US visa application process is not complicated.

US visa application process

If we want to briefly list the visa application process, the steps are:

1. First, you need to check if you need a visa to enter the United States.
2. Set your visa type based on your travel purpose
3. Fill out the DS-160 form for nonimmigrant visas.
4. Pay for a visa application.
5. Set up an interview appointment
6. Prepare the necessary documents.
7. Attend a visa interview
8. Wait for the result

In the following, we will explain each of the items.

US Visa Application Process: Requirements, Application fee & more

Do I need a visa or not?

Citizens of 39 countries do not need a visa to travel to the United States for up to 90 days. So before applying for a visa, you should check if your country is on the list of visa waiver countries.

Which visa should I choose?

A complete guide to US visas will help you to learn more about the types of US visas and find the right one for your purpose. 

How do I complete Form DS-160?

Form DS-160 is an online application form for nonimmigrant visas. You can download this form online here. You can also preview the sample of DS-160

On the first page of this form, you must enter the following information:

  • Full name
  • Marital Status
  • Nationality
  • Date & Place of Birth
  • Address
  • Country
  • Mobile number
  • Email
  • Passport number
  • Passport book number
  • Family information
  • Education
  • Work, etc

On the second page, you must answer questions about security and background information. 

These questions include:

  • Have you ever been arrested for a crime?
  • Have you ever been involved in money laundering?
  • Have you ever been involved in something like a genocide? Did you contribute to this crime, or were you the instigator, and so on?  

How much is the visa application fee, and how should it be paid?

The application fee for a US visa depends on the type of visa:

US Visa TypeApplication Fee
Non-petition visas$160
Petition based visas (H, L, O, P, Q, R) $190
E Visas (E1, E2, E3)$205
K visas$265

The cost of applying for a US visa is non-refundable. This means that you will not be refunded if you cancel your visa application or if your visa application is rejected.
You might need to pay for visa issuance in some cases. The relationship between your country and the United States will determine whether you have to pay for it. The amount of this cost varies from country to country. Keep in mind that your documents will not be processed unless you pay for the visa application.

How do I schedule a visa interview?

Attending an Interview is one of the main stages to apply for a nonimmigrant visa. The Consular Officer interviews the embassy in your home country. Applicants under 13 and over 80 are not usually interviewed. To schedule an interview, you must choose one of the following ways:

  • If you are applying for a US visa from Asia, you must visit https://www.ustraveldocs.com/
  • If you are applying for a US visa from anywhere other than Asia, you must refer to https://ais.usvisa-info.com/

When you plan the interview, you will receive an interview confirmation letter. It contains the date and location of your interview. In an interview, the Consular Officer will ask questions to determine your US D visa competencies. You must bring all the mentioned documents at the interview. Digital fingerprint scans are usually taken as part of the application during your interview.

What documents do I need to apply for a US visa?

You must prepare documents according to your visa type. The basic documents in the US visa application process are:

  • Online application form or DS-160: This form has many options regarding the purposes of people traveling to the US.
  • A valid passport: Your passport validity should be at least six months from your visa expiration date.
  • A photo: The photo must be uploaded along with the online application form. It is recommended that you bring a photo with you on the day of the interview.
  • Visa Application Fee Receipt
  • Social Media Information: A list of social media you use, your account name, email address, and history of your activity within the last five years must be provided.
  • Previous US visas: If you have previously traveled to the United States, you must bring your old passport with you on the day of the interview.
  • Travel itinerary: This travel plan can include flight reservation documents, entry, and exit dates in the United States.
  • Invitation letter: The invitation letter is written by a US citizen or a person who has a legal residence permit in the US and shows that they are willing to accept you.
  • Property documents: You must prove that you do not intend to reside permanently in the United States and return home. For this purpose, you can provide a list of the documents of their properties and assets.
  • Medical exam: For all types of US visas, you must go to a physician approved by the embassy in your home country for a medical examination.

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How do I attend a visa interview?

Participating in an interview is the last step in the US visa application process. Make sure you are at the embassy on time and bring all the required documents with you. During the interview, the consular officer will first ask questions about your background and then review other details based on the type of your intended visa. In cases such as work visa interviews or student visas, the interview time will be longer.

The time it takes to process your visa depends on the type of visa.

On average, the processing time for a US visa application is from a few days to a few months. At the end of this time, you will be notified whether your visa application has been approved or rejected. Once the visa application has been approved, you can plan your trip and buy a ticket.

Let’s sum up …

In this article, we review the US visa application process in detail. On the Visa Library website, you can find more information about the requirements, application fee, processing time, and other detail.  In case you have some experience, please write it down in the comment section. Your comments let the readers choose better and avoid mistakes. Conveying your experiences as comments is a great help for applicants.

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