What are the US Visa Requirements?

The visa application process is very detailed. Preparing the required documents is one of the most important steps you must take before applying for a visa. In this article, we have compiled a checklist of US visa requirements to guide you through classified details. Let’s start with the basic requirements that apply to almost all US visas. We then introduce a list of documents required for visas such as work or student visas.

What are the US Visa Requirements?

A valid passport

If you want to apply for a US visa, your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date your visa expires. However, citizens of some countries are exempt from this six-month rule.

Form DS-160

It 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.

After completing the DS-160 form, a barcode will appear that you need to print and save. Answer the form questions carefully, then submit it electronically.

When you complete the form, have the following documents available:

  • Passport
  • Travel itinerary: If you have made your travel arrangements, have the information available.
  • Previous US visas: If you have previously gone to the United States, prepare your previous visas.
  • Resume: You may need information about your work and educational background when filling out the form.

Depending on the visa type, you may need the following documents to complete this form:

  • Student and exchange visitor visas: Your SEVIS ID must be entered in the form. This ID is in the I-20 or DS-2019 form. The details of the university or program you are going to participate in should be available because you need them to complete the form.
  • Petition-based work visas (H-1B, H-2, H-3, CW1, L, O, P, R): Have a copy of I-129 available because you will need it to fill out the form.

You need to write all your answers in English. Translations of the form questions are accessible in various languages from the drop-down menu in the right corner of the application. These translations help you to fill out the form in English. You can leave spaces blanks on optional questions, but answering most of the questions in this form is mandatory.


All US visa applicants must provide their photos when submitting their applications. You must also attach your photo when uploading your form. If you are unable to upload the photo, you must bring it with you on the day of the interview.

Visa Fee Receipt

To be able to arrange your interview, you must pay the visa fee. Most applicants for US nonimmigrant visas will have to pay $ 160 for a visa application. This cost is non-refundable. In other words, regardless of the result of your visa application, this fee will not be refunded.

Social media information

All US visa applicants must provide a list of the social media they use. They should also provide a history of their activity in the media over the past five years.

Previous visas

You must provide your old passport if you have previously traveled to the United States for a variety of reasons. You must submit it to the consular officer on the day of the interview.

Invitation letter

The invitation letter is written by a US citizen or citizen having legal residency in this country. This letter shows that you have relatives and friends in the United States who will be the host you if you travel to the United States.

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Travel itinerary

Your itinerary reveals what you plan to do when you arrive in the United States. Flight reservations (including inner flight reservations), proof of accommodation, entry, and exit dates can be part of this travel plan. Proof of accommodation includes your hotel reservation, rented house, or house of your family members or friends.

Sponsorship documents

If you are planning to travel to the United States by a sponsor, your sponsor must provide the following documents:

  • A letter indicating that he or she can cover your expenses during your stay in the United States.
  • The Employment Letter shows your sponsor’s job and income. Three to four recent payslips of your sponsor must be provided.
  • Your sponsor’s bank letter must contain the date of opening the account, the total deposit within last year, and the present balance.

Property and employment documents

When applying for a US nonimmigrant visa, you must prove that you do not intend to reside permanently in the United States. For this purpose, you can provide a list of assets you have in your home country.

If you are employed, you must provide a letter of employment. This letter includes your job position, income, length of employment, the purpose of your trip to the United States, and your authorized vacation. If you are self-employed, you must rend your company registration number and income details. In the case of retirement, you must also present a pension book.

Family documents

These documents include:

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Adoption certificate (for adoption cases)
  • Divorce certificate
  • Death certificate

Medical exam

A physician approved by the embassy should examine you. To do this, you must first schedule an appointment. The test includes an assessment of your medical history, physical examination, chest x-ray, and a blood test for syphilis. Physical examination consists of an examination of the skin, eyes, throat, ears, lungs, heart, abdomen, lymph nodes, and extremities. In some countries, the results are sent directly to the consulate by the physician. In other countries, the consulate will be given the result in a sealed envelope to the applicant during the interview.
Blood tests and chest x-rays are not usually done for children under 15.

Documents for US student visas

  • Form I-20: The educational institution issues this form. You and the officials of this institute must sign the form. If your spouse or children also want to come to the United States with you, they must also receive a separate Form I-20.
  • Academic background: You must provide proof of your Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, certificates, and Standardized test scores needed via your US school.
  • SEVIS I-901 fee: Students who have been admitted to the US university must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and provide a receipt.

Documents for US work visas

  • Your resume
  • A job offer in the US
  • Employer’s letter with job descriptions
  • Employee’s qualifications
  • Information about previous and new employers
  • Documents related to your extraordinary abilities
  • The Labor Condition Application (LCA) certification which is issued by the US Department of Labor


Your fingerprint will be taken on the interview day. The following people are exempt from giving fingerprints:

  • Children under 14 years
  • Elderly over 79 years
  • Applicants for visas A-1, A-2, G-1, G-2, G-3, C-3.
  • NATO visa applicants
  • Individuals who are physically unable to give fingerprints

Let’s sum up…

In this article, we have an overview of the basic requirements for a US visa. Always remember to prepare a checklist of required documents before applying for a visa. On the Visa Library website, you can learn about other US visa requirements including photo specifications as well as an explanation of US visas. 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 in comments is a great help for applicants.

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