Would you like to know the requirements to get your USA Visa application approved?
Then, would you like to know how to make the most of your application so your chances of getting through aren’t jeopardized for any reason whatsoever?
If you’re lucky enough to have some money set aside for the processing of an American visa, and you’re not really sure how to avoid the many pitfalls that most people fall into, then you might want to read every word of this message.
Because what you learn from here, and how you apply them, may mean the difference between the success and failure of your USA visa application.
The first question is…How can I take the mystery out of a subject that often…
The answer is really rather simple.
You need to understand that the Visa application process is by far the most important phase of your travelling plans… and if you don’t get it right, you’re stuck!
So forget about everything else, put on your thinking cap (borrow or steal one if you don’t have) and focus all your attention on ensuring you get your Visa approved.
Here’s how you get started.
Let’s be honest.
Are you even eligible to travel to the US?
Starting Your USA Visa Application, Don’t risk disappointment!
You can find out (and if you don’t you’re beyond all hope) … by checking your eligibility status before you commence procedures for your USA Visa Application.
The primary criteria that cuts across all American visas is that your international passport should be six months valid beyond your stay in the US (more on this below).
Now, at least we know that you’re eligible for an American Visa. The next thing you want to do is start your Visa Application process.
And unlike what they told you in Sunday school… it’s not complicated.
The kind of Visa you’re applying for really depends on why you’re travelling to the USA. If you’re travelling for study, business, tourism, health or permanent relocation, you’re going to need a Visa that is…
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Specifically tailored to your agenda
Not all American visas are equal.
Different people travel to the USA for different reasons, and as such, each applicant has to apply for the right Visa that fits their adventure.
Let’s say you’ve heard so much about the Sin City of Las Vegas –that Sodom and Gomorrah into which all the lovers of good things are crammed, and you want to go see those hot naked strippers with your two eyes open, this is tourism, not business.
This means you’ll have to apply for a B-2 tourist Visa –with this, you’ll normally be allowed to stay for up to six months.
On the other hand, let’s assume (and I hate assuming) that you’ve discovered a neat real estate gold mine and your contact gives you the green light to come check out a few properties before investing, this is, quite frankly….
An Honest-to-God Business trip
What you’ll need, is a B-1 visa –which also allows you stay for a maximum of six months and although there are cases where your visa can expire while you’re still in the US, you’ll be doing yourself a great disservice if you overstay the period permitted by the immigration officer.
But that’s not all.
Truth be told, while the B-1 visa is for business-related travels, and the B-2 visa is for tourism (pleasure-travel). It is not rare for the US consulate to issue a B1/B2 visa to business travelers who intend to embark on tourist activities during their stay in the US.
Please take note of that.
And except you’ve been drinking all night, you’ll realize that there are legitimate documents you’ll need to provide if you’re at all serious about getting your visa application approved.
For some strange reason, I won’t list them serially.
What I’ll do instead, is explain just why the submission and verification of these documents at the US Embassy is crucially important to whether or not you meet the requirements for an American Visa.
Recognize also, that these documents may vary –according to the type of visa you’re applying for. Yet, there are documents that every applicant (and that includes you) must provide regardless of the kind of visa they wish to obtain.
The first must have is….
Your Valid Passport
Please read that line again.
It says valid for a reason, and here’s why;
Like I said earlier, your international passport should be six months valid beyond the duration of your planned stay in the US –this is a standard requirement that is rarely overlooked (with very few exceptions).
You don’t understand?
Let me break it down further.
By the time your visa expires and you’re ready to leave the US, your passport should still be valid –I don’t know all the spiritual reasons behind this, but that’s how it’s done.
However, there’s a caveat
This six-month validity criterion doesn’t apply to all and sundry.
Some countries are exempted from this requirement and I think it’s basically down to foreign relations and political reasons, the details of which I’m not sure.
For citizens of these exempted countries, all they need do is make sure their passport is valid during their period of stay in the US.
One more thing – and it’s important – No matter what your mummy and your daddy told you, your passport needs to have a blank page where your approved visa will be affixed.
You say that’s clear enough?
Let’s proceed then.
After you’ve ticked all the boxes for your valid passport, the next item on the damn list is, in order of priority and in my opinion, your passport photographs.
You need two.
And you’ll be required to upload it (or them) online using the DS-160 form (more on this below). But you should also take the precautionary measure of taking them with you on the day of your visa interview appointment.
Actually, there are two reasons for this
The first is:
If the uploading of the photo fails for some strange reason, the logical thing to do of course, is take two copies of the said passport to the US embassy when it’s time for your interview.
Secondly, even if the passport is uploaded successfully, you’ll probably still need it during the interview –and you don’t want your visa application jeopardized for such silly negligences do you?
Once you’ve ticked both boxes, the next thing you should do, is proceed to pay your visa fee. This single act is what tells the US embassy that you’re ready for your visa interview…. Which is without doubt, the phase of USA Visa application that.
Scares the Living Shit Out of Grown Men and Women!
But mind you, the visa fee is non-refundable.
The application fee for most non-immigrant visas (tourism, business, medical, student/exchange) is $160, while work and religious visas (petition based) cost around $190.
And since the exchange rate is always changing, it is important to make calculations based on the current exchange rate.
Although paying the fee is your license to getting an appointment at the embassy, there are no refunds. Whether your visa application is rejected, or you miss your interview for some strange inexplicable reason –once you shell out that money, you’re not getting it back.
Now, we’re getting into areas where you need to fill an online application form.
And again, logic would suggest, that the kind of visa application form you fill depends on the kind of visa you’re applying for.
In this case, there are two kinds of visa application forms:
DS-160 and DS-260
You can fill either of these forms online –using the US embassy E-application center, or by employing the services of a third-party visa company.
The DS-160 form is for people applying for a US non-immigrant visa.
While the DS-260 form is for applicants processing a US immigrant visa.
For the sake of clarity, the non-immigrant visa implies that you’re travelling for such reasons as tourism, study, business, health etcetera. That is, you don’t intend to relocate permanently and your stay is limited to a certain regulated duration which depends primarily on your purpose for traveling.
On the other hand, the US immigrant visa implies the opposite and in this case, the measures and criteria could be stricter.
When filling the form –and this should be obvious, endeavor to make your answers as easy to understand as possible. Of course, your answers must be in English (If you choose to answer in Chinese, that is your affair) –some of the questions are mandatory, some are not.
Just make sure you’re filling in answers you can defend in a moment’s notice. Be as honest as you’ll ever be, and when you’re done filling and submitting your form, you get up and go home and wait for your appointment…
Don’t go anywhere – I know your lover has probably promised you mind-shattering sex tonight but here’s the meat of the matter.
At the end of the application form, after you must have filled in the answers to the best of your knowledge (and from your first name alone I know you won’t) you’ll see a button that clearly says….
Forget all your problems and Click the Damn Button!
But that’s not all.
Don’t forget to save the application number before submitting.
However, it seems to me that I should address a common problem most US Visa applicants face. Here’s what I mean:
It is possible to, after successfully completing your DS-160 application form online, notice a few errors on your printout –if you ever find yourself in this position, here’s what you should do.
First, if it’s been less than 30days since you submitted your application, go back to the website page (for the DS-160) –then click “retrieve an application” –when you do, you’ll be asked to enter your application ID number (see why I said you should save it?) from the form you submitted earlier.
Then a few security questions will follow –after which you’ll be allowed to have access to the form to make necessary corrections. Once you’re done correcting the errors, you can then proceed to sign (electronically) and submit the corrected application –you’ll be given a fresh confirmation and barcode which you’re required to print and bring to your visa interview.
Wait a minute.
What if it’s been more than 30-days since you submitted your original application?
Do not fret.
If you saved it on your computer or any other device, simply go back to the website, click on DS-160 –online non-immigrant visa application –choose the embassy from the drop-down menu –click “upload an application” – go to the location where you saved the original form, upload, make the necessary corrections and submit your new application.
But if you didn’t save the original form, and more than 30days have passed since you submitted your application….
You may have to start all over
Now, what we’ve done, is outline the necessary boxes every visa applicant needs to tick if they’re at all serious about having their USA Visa application approved.
But here’s what they don’t tell you in Sunday school….
There are extra documents you’ll need to submit to back up the answers you entered on your online visa application form.
Wait, so you thought all you had to do was fill the form and ask the gods to go before you?
Oh, You poor misguided soul.
Are you beginning to see the importance of truth and honesty in this matter?
Let’s proceed further (we’re almost done).
These extra documents I speak of are called supporting documents for USA Visa.
Each one is important. The slightest negligence on your part (and from your last name alone I know you’re not negligent) could mean the rejection of your USA Visa application.
Have you visited the USA before?
Do you have previous documents or USA Visas to prove that you’ve entered the states legally on previous occasions?
On the day of your Interview….
You’ll Do Well to Go with Them!
That is all I can say.
Then, you’ll need proof of accommodation –whether it’s a friend’s house, or a relative’s, or a hotel, or under the George Washington bridge –Just have clear information on where you’ll be staying.
You should also be able to mention the address in a heartbeat. Your inability to do this could raise unnecessary red flags!
Then, if your trip to the USA is sponsored by a US resident, there are a few documents your sponsor will have to provide through you (the applicant).
Documents like, the person’s letter of employment, four or five recent salary pay slips, and a sworn affidavit that they can indeed support you financially throughout your stay in the US.
Here’s something important.
If you own a property, like a house or any other real estate investment, do not underestimate the importance of taking documents that prove your ownership –what this does is, it conveys a clear message that…
You’re more likely to return home
That is, unlike most criminals, you don’t intend to remain in the US beyond your expected period of stay.
If you’re employed, self-employed, or retired, you’ll do well to bring along documents that back up your employment status.
You say you’re employed?
Bring with you your letter of employment, and any other document that supports your employment status.
But that’s not all.
Family documents like birth and marriage certificates (if you’re married) are also very important.
Now, like I said earlier… there are two major categories of US Visa applicants –immigrants and non-immigrants, which is where the vast majority fall into.
If you’re applying for a non-immigrant visa, chances are you’re either traveling to visit, study, for business or medical reasons…. All of which have specific requirements for specific US Visa types.
Let’s assume (here we go assuming again) you’re visiting a friend, what you’re applying for is a US visitor visa and as such, you may be required to provide a US Visa invitation letter written by a resident of the United States.
And here’s why….
The US consulate wants to be sure that your contact (family, friend or distant relative) can confirm their willingness and capacity to accommodate you throughout your stay in the states.
But if you’re applying for a USA Study Visa, the consular officer will require you to provide proof that you’ve been admitted into a US based academic institution –you’ll also be required to pay a certain fee (I think it’s called SEVIS I-901) and it’s separate from the visa application fee every applicant is expected to pay –also, you’ll need to provide proof of payment during your visa interview.
Well, I think we’re almost done here.
You say I didn’t say anything about the requirements for USA Work Visas?
Even requirements if you’re traveling for medical treatment?
I’m sorry. I really am
Here’s what you’ll need.
Let’s start with health –it is after all, the fountain of life.
If you’re applying for a visa to enter the US based on medical reasons, you’ll need a documented medical diagnosis that explains why the treatment or medical procedure has to be carried out on foreign soil.
But that’s not all.
You’ll also need a letter from the medical facility to which you’re headed – more or less a confirmation that they indeed possess the capacity and expertise to handle your medical needs.
Then, if you’re traveling for work, the consular officer (who’s just doing his job) wants proof of your employment offer, and proof that you meet the requirements for the job, amongst others –I think the criteria may vary based on the kind of job you’ve been offered.
One more thing.
And this is very important… I’d like to share few tips that will probably help you during your US Visa Interview….
- Be punctual
- Don’t dress like an idiot
- Give confident answers
- If you don’t understand a question, or you don’t hear it clearly enough, politely ask your interviewer to rephrase.
- Don’t blab. Don’t go on an endless babble. Be straight to the point with your answers
- Don’t give false answers. Most of the questions from your interviewer are based on information you filled on your application form
- Your documents and visa application form should be error-free.
- Don’t even think about presenting forged documents.
That is all my friend –at least to the best of my knowledge.
I wish you luck.
I have been denied B1/B2 Visa application more than once, what could be the reason?
When your application was rejected; You were probably handed a paper, on it you will find the section of United States immigration law under which your application was refused. The consular has no duty to entertain or discuss further your application. By law, the onus on you to show proof of your qualification and in the event you can’t do that, the mandatory response is required to be ‘No.’
US embassy rejected my application for a new visa because i stayed extra days beyond what was stated in my initial application, WHY?
That depends on what you were doing in the US for those extra days. Let’s assume you stayed 180 days (6 months) That’s a very long time to spend in a foreign country; it implies that you had no compelling reason to go home promptly. It also depends on when and why you were in the US. If – for example – you have a single-entry visa – because you claimed you will be away for only a week, stayed that long, and immediately applied for a new visa, who wouldn’t suspect that you only came home to pack up your stuff and leave for good?
How do embassies detect fake bank statements?
In most cases, embassies don’t check your bank statements/balance. Why they are looking at the statements is to have definite confirmation of a lie. The confirmed lie is then computed and any future attempts at visas start with a conversation about honesty.
Once you get caught lying it is incredibly hard to get a visa in the future.
Travel safe and go with God!
PS: You know, I hate to say it but I still have to say it –you can satisfy all these conditions, provide all these documents, and still have your visa application turned down.
I’m serious –you just need to pay a brief visit to the nearest US consulate to see the hundreds of US Visa application rejectees on a daily basis. (I just looked up that word “rejectees” in the dictionary and it’s nowhere to be found. These dictionaries are borderline clueless).
Anyway, all I’m trying to say is…
Not only do you need the aforementioned documents, you need luck, you need the magic leprechaun, you need your ancestors and by God or no God, you need the no-bullshit belief that your visa application will be approved.
If all else fails, just tell them Andy sent you
– They’ll apologize and approve the damn visa.
Quick, fast, and in a hurry.
Yea, I command that much respect in the US consulate.
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