From exploring a new destination to experiencing a new culture, conducting a business meeting overseas to getting medical treatment, traveling has become a necessity nowadays. One such country with a huge number of visitors is the United States. It is a dream destination for many, and hence, millions of people plan a visit to the States.
Now, most foreign citizens who seek to enter the States are required to get a U.S. visa. It acts as a permit by the authorities to enter the foreign land. So, if you are someone who is planning to travel abroad, particularly to the United States, this article is a must-read for you. Here we have incorporated all the desired information, including how to apply for a U.S. visitor visa. This article will act as a guide to your next US vacation. So, read on.
A visa is a conditional authorization issued by the government or higher authority to a foreigner for entering the country. It is issued at the home country of the traveler and is required to be mentioned in the passport. It often includes the maximum length of the stay, the places where they may travel, the number of authorized trips available, and more. In simpler words, it is entry permission provided by immigration officials to enter a country.
One type of visa is the Visitor Visa. It is a non-immigrant visa that is usually provided for a short visit to the desired country. Since it is for a limited period of time, it is hassle-free and easy to obtain. The immigration officer issues such visas to people stating that they are eligible nonimmigrants. To learn more about U.S. visas, please visit the official travel website of the States.
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Activities Permitted & Prohibited On A Visitor Visa
There are two different kinds of visitor visas to enter the United States. This includes– a B-1 business visitor visa or a B-2 tourist visa, both of which permit entry in the states for up to six months at one go. There are several activities that are permitted during the trip. These activities will include:
B-1 Business Visitor Visa:
- Attending convocations, conferences, or seminars
- Business activities related to the employment
- Negotiating a contract
- Participation in voluntary service programs
- Being a part of athletic competitions where the reward will not be in the form of salary.
B-2 Tourist Visitor Visa:
- Paying a visit to friends and family
- Getting medical treatment
- Exploring cities and trip attractions
- Attending social events, such as marriage, conferences, etc.
- Participating in unpaid activities
These are some of the prominent activities that the traveler can experience. However, before you apply for a U.S. visitor visa, you must also be aware of activities that you can’t do. Here are some of the prohibited activities:
- Operating and managing a business
- Being paid by U.S. entities for performing activities
- Getting employment in the States
- Enrolling in a course or studying
- Buying a residence or a property
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Getting a visitor visa to the States is subject to approval by the higher authorities. Each visitor, whether considering a trip for business or travel, is required to apply for a U.S. visitor visa. Here are the steps that need to be taken to get the visa.
Step 1: Determine the visa you need for your visit
The first step to apply for a U.S. visitor visa is to know whether you require a B-1 or B-2 visitor visa. The B-1 visitor visa is for business travelers planning a trip to attend a conference, consult the associates, finalize a business deal, negotiate a contract or more. However, the latter one is for people who are visiting the country for a vacation, social event, medical help, etc. So, before you move forward, you need to know which category of visa you fit in.
Step 2: Apply For A U.S. Visitor Visa
Once you know the type of visa you require, you can move ahead with the application. The process varies with the current situation as per the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. However, the general process of visa application is done online. The nonimmigrant visa application form– DS-160 is to be filled by adding the details, uploading a photograph, and paying the fee. Once you are done with the application, you also need to get it printed on paper for confirmation in the later stage.
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Step 3: Schedule an appointment for a visitor visa interview
While filling out the application, you will be asked to schedule the interview. Consular officers take the interview, which is mandatory for travelers of age 14 to 79. Individuals below the age of 13 and older than 80 are not required to sit for the interview.
These interview appointments might take a long duration, depending upon the location, season, and visa category you are applying for. This is why it is always advisable to apply early.
Step 4: Gather all the required documents and prepare for the interview
To apply for a U.S. visitor visa, the next step is to prepare for the interview by gathering all the necessary documents. Following are the documents that you must collect:
- Visa application fee payment receipt
- A photograph
- Nonimmigrant visa application form copy
- Valid passport
Other than these, you might also be asked to provide a few additional documents in order to establish whether you are qualified for the visa or not. Here are those documents:
- Ability to pay the cost of travel
- Purpose of visiting
- Your intent to depart from the states
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Step 5: Attend the visa interview
The next step to apply for a U.S. visitor visa is to be available on the date of the interview. The consular office is responsible for determining whether the applicant is qualified for the visitor visa. You must be well informed and establish that you fulfill all the requirements.
During the interview, you will be asked for ink-free, digital fingerprints and a few general questions regarding your travel. Once you are done with the interview, the consular officer forwards your application, and it goes through an administrative process. You will be informed after the approval of the visa.
Step 6: Enjoy your travel to the United States
Now that you have a visa, passport, and travel tickets, you can leave for a memorable trip to the U.S.
This is all you need to know to apply for a U.S. visitor visa. We hope that you find this article helpful in understanding the process you need to go through. Pin it and save it for future reference.
Apply for a visa and have a happy journey!
Q1. How can we extend the stay or change the nonimmigrant status of the visa?
Suppose your plans change while in the United States, and you want to either extend or change the nonimmigrant status stamped in the Form I-94, Record of Arrival-Departure. In that case, you have to get in touch with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will be asked to fill out form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and provide a valid reason for the change.
Q2. What are additional documents required for seeking medical care in the U.S.A?
For everyone who wishes to seek medical treatment in the United States, they will be requested for additional documentation by the consular officer. These are other documents needed to apply for a U.S. visitor visa for medical help:
- A detailed medical diagnosis by a local physician.
- A bank or other statements of income/savings or certified copies of income tax returns stating that all the expenses in the U.S. will be covered. This will include transportation, living, as well as medical expenditures.
- A letter by the physician or medical institute of the United States declaring their acceptance to treat the medical condition. It should also state the duration and the entire cost.
Q3. Can we reapply for a visa if once rejected under Section 214(b)?
There are several reasons why your visa application might get rejected under Section 214 (b). However, if you have evidence of change in the circumstances that lead to visa denial, you can again apply for a U.S. visitor visa. For this, you have to submit a new application and pay the fee again.
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