US Visa Application – How to Apply for a US Visa

The United States is the biggest economy in the world. These economic opportunities and other reasons attract millions of people to the US each year. The US attracts tourists and immigrants alike in need of one or the other.

While the US attracts millions of people each year, if you are not a citizen or a resident in the United States, you will be required to use a visa to gain entry.

The US visa stamp you get on your passport is a travel document issued by the US Embassy or consulate in your home country. This visa stamp is issued if the embassy is convinced you have a valid reason for going to the US. The US visa makes you eligible for entrance to the United States of America.

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US Visa Application Process

The process for a US visa application follows a similar pattern for all the types of visas offered by the United States. The application process is however dependent on the visa category you are applying to. It is also depended on the country you are making the application from.

Most people going to the US who go through the US visa application process have a wide range of reasons. Some applicants apply for studying, tourism, jobs or businesses, for medical-related reasons, or to become a permanent resident in the US.

While lots of people want the “American dream”, there are lots of barriers to overcome before you can get there. The process for the US visa application is pretty straightforward to follow.

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Steps for US Visa Application

Your application for a US visa should be forwarded to the US Embassy or Consulate in your host country. To apply for a visa, you can follow the steps below:

  • Check if you are required to get a visa. There are 40 visa waiver countries. And citizens of these countries do not need to apply for a US visa before coming to the US. Some are granted entry visa-free for at least 90 days for business or tourism.
  • Select the type of US visa you want to apply for. The type of visa you need is depended on your reason for the US. So ensure you select the visa that fits your reason.
  • Enter the Non-immigrant visa Application Form DS-160. This is the form you fill out when you are applying for a non-immigrant visa. This means that unless you are immigrating to the United States, you will have to file this DS-160 form. You can find this form online on the website of the US Embassy or Consulate you are applying from.
  • Then pay the application fee. This fee is non-refundable. This means that if your visa application is rejected, you will not be getting your money back.
  • Schedule a US visa interview.
  • Collate your file documents.
  • Then attend the scheduled visa interview.
  • Wait for the visa processing to be done. The wait time depends on the type of US visa you applied for, and the country you are applying from. It can take from a few days to months

Types of US Visa

The United States has about 185 visa types, and there are divided into two main categories:

  • Immigrant Visas. This is issued to people who are moving to the US permanently.
  • Nonimmigrant Visas. This type of visa is temporary. It is issued to tourists, and students, for visits to friends and family in the US, for business, or for employment.

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Here are some of the main visa types to the US:

  • Visitor Visas.
  • Student Visas.
  • Exchange Visitor Visas.
  • Temporary Work Visas.
  • Treaty Trader and Investor Visas.
  • Diplomatic and Official Visas.
  • US Visas for victims of Crime and Human Trafficking.
  •  Transit and Crewmember Visas.
  • Immediate Relative and Family Sponsored Visas.
  • Fiance and Spouse Visas.
  • Employer-Sponsored Visas.
  • Other Types of Immigrant Visas. These can be the diversity Immigrant visas or the SB visa or Returning Resident Visa.
    • The SB visa or Returning Resident Visa is issued to permanent residents in the US, who for some reason have spent more than a year outside the US, or residents whose re-entry permit is no longer valid. This SB visa issued to them grants them entry to the US.
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