Getting a visa to the USA is difficult only at first glance, but there is nothing dramatic. I share my experience visiting the US Embassy.
What is an American visa for?
For travel you will need a visa of category B1 / B2, now it is issued for a period of up to 10 years. The purpose of the trip is a business, for example, a trip to a conference or tourism. If your goal is to find a job in the USA, for example, to work as a pizza delivery man in Los Angeles or as a trucker in Kentucky, this article is not for you.
In addition to traveling to the United States, an American visa gives you the opportunity to travel to Mexico, Panama or Costa Rica. You will also be welcome in some countries of the Caribbean – in Puerto Rico, Bermuda or the US Virgin Islands. Perhaps business interests will throw you on the Mariana or Marshall Islands – here, too, welcome with an American visa.
When to start the US visa application process
In order not to run with your tongue sticking out and not to sleep at night, it is better to start 1-3 months before the proposed trip. With accurate preparation of documents, there will be no problems over time.
How to prepare documents for a visa to the USA
The US Embassy professes an old proven principle – pay for everything in advance. Therefore, we begin the preparation of documents by paying a visa fee equivalent to 160 US dollars. You can do this at a bank branch, after printing a receipt from the website of the US State Department. Number on the receipt of payment – your pass when making an appointment for an interview. And carefully read the relevant section on the website www.ustraveldocs.com. Please note that the receipt form is valid for only a few days – up to 5 days. The date until which the form is valid is indicated on the form itself. The overdue form will not be accepted for payment, the amount there is indicated in the corresponding field. Paid receipt is valid for 1 year.
The next step is a photo on the visa application form. The size and requirements for the photo are specific, so tell the shop that you need a photo specifically for an American visa. Printing a photo is not necessary, just write the file to a USB flash drive, which you take with you first.
The most important step in obtaining a visa is filling out a questionnaire. In our case, this is the DS-160 form. It is necessary to fill it out electronically directly from the website of the US State Department.
At any stage, the application can be saved by writing an alphanumeric code that is automatically generated – it is located in the upper right corner of the visa application (DS-160). Filling out a questionnaire takes from 1 hour to several days, for everyone differently. When filling out the questionnaire, use only the Latin alphabet when writing names, answer questions only in English. Do not know English? There are no problems either. Google Translate to help you! It is very important to truthfully and accurately answer the questionnaire. On the same site you can find clarifications and answers to questions about filling out.
IMPORTANT: From June 2019, in the visa application forms – DS160 forms, you must indicate the data of your profiles on social networks. These are all popular social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and several other.
In the section on the host side, if there are no friends or relatives, write the name and address of the hotel. It can be any hotel you choose. Remember the main thing – you do not need to book anything, there is no need to settle in this hotel after obtaining a visa either. In the case when the trip is not paid by you, but by the receiving party, we indicate the sponsor of the trip.
Questionnaire filled out? Well, click on the button on the last page and send it to the embassy. We print only a confirmation sheet, but if you are preparing questionnaires for several people, for example, for your family members, I recommend that you print out a complete copy of the questionnaire in order to have a sample in front of you to fill out the following forms. To register for an interview, you must follow the link and register, i.e. come up with a username and password.
The following information will be needed directly for recording:
- Applicant’s passport number.
- The number of your receipt you received in your bank
- The ten-digit barcode number from the confirmation page of the DS-160 applicant’s visa application form
- It remains to choose the time and date of the interview in the window that appears, they can later be changed, for example, if force majeure occurs or plans change.
The application was sent to the embassy, a visa fee of $ 160 was paid, it remains to collect the necessary documents for the interview.
Mandatory documents required by the US Embassy
- Confirmation of sending the questionnaire (form DS-160). You do not need to print the form and take it with you to the embassy
- A valid passport in which there is at least one completely blank page.
- Confirmation of payment of the consular fee;
- One photo, the same as on the profile
- Printout – CONFIRMATION entry to the embassy from ustraveldocs.com
Optional documents you can take with you
- Statement from your personal current bank account for the last 6 months
- Documents confirming ownership of movable (car, yacht) and real estate (apartment, country house)
- Charter or statements of the company, if you are the owner of the company
- Lease of real estate, if you receive additional rental income
Important! Unlike others, the US Embassy does NOT need to carry hotel reservations, airline tickets, confirmation of payment for a cruise, and more! It is important. The presence and presentation of such documents will be regarded by the embassy officer as a desire to certainly get to the United States and, almost guaranteed, will reduce the chances of obtaining a visa.
USA visa interview
This is not a difficult, but very crucial part of the procedure. So, to the appointed time you need to come only a little in advance. Do not come an hour and a half before the interview. Do not create a queue and do not become like those strange people who almost at dawn are on duty at the gates of the visa center of the embassy. No queue is needed. You need an embassy employee who comes out every 15 minutes and tells you the time of the interview, so you need to appear at the entrance to the embassy no more than 20 minutes before the appointed date for the interview.
It is very important not to bring a lot of things with you, such as folders, laptops and briefcases. Also, you do not need to come with a suitcase directly from the station, there is no left-luggage office. At the entrance you will be asked to leave a mobile phone, a lighter and other metal objects.
As well as during the interview, behave calmly and confidently, do not talk too much and answer only questions that you are asked, but clearly and truthfully.
USA Visa Refusals
Visa refusals occur mainly for two reasons. You filled out the visa application form incorrectly or with errors; you suspected a potential immigrant. They will not explain the reasons for the refusal to you. Maximum, they will give a standard piece of paper the essence of which is that you have not proved your connection with the Motherland. There are no fresh statistics yet, but in 2018, for example, visa denials amounted to about 30%, now this figure is higher.
How to behave in a visa interview
The first rule is no demonstration of English. Show off erudition in front of your girlfriend (boyfriend) or friends. Before the interview, they may ask you what language it is convenient for you to speak – in your native or in English. Always choose your native language. To the question, do you know English, if it will be asked, answer negatively, as a last resort, yes I know, but only within the school course. Moreover, this is most likely the case.
Secondly, take only basic documents with you to the embassy. You can also take a certificate from the place of work or a bank account statement, which you will show to the visa officer if he asks about them or these documents will fit into your conversation organically. Remember, a large number of papers indicates your interest in a visa. And they refuse just those who most want to get into this country. This rule is. Visa center officers are good psychologists and will immediately understand what’s what. Indifferent to the process, because you will still be given a visa or not. And the US country itself is also indifferent. You just want to relax, right. They will not be allowed into the States, well – you will go to Bali or Caribean. When answering questions, do not embellish reality and do not cheat. Make it clear to the embassy officer that you are going on vacation to rest.
Thirdly, whenever possible, no inviting relatives or friends. The fewer links with America you show, the better for you. However, if close relatives in the USA really exist, it is better to note this in the questionnaire. If fraud is detected, the path to this country will be ordered.
To the question The purpose of the visit to the United States is not to joke about the development of new routes of prohibited goods or film screenings in Hollywood. They don’t understand this kind of humor, and most likely you won’t get a cherished visa. The dream of a wedding in Las Vegas should not be voiced either. Remember! Your goals are touristic, you want to see San Francisco, dream of a roller coaster ride, or lose some of your grandmother’s legacy at the Las Vegas casino. Or want to see Alaska National Park or the Death Valley in Nevada, see Yellowstone or Yosemite. Beginners should call a popular, not very difficult and not very long route. A difficult route involving several countries will not appeal to any embassy, especially when a newcomer to tourism addresses.
Do not forget that anyone who applies for an American visa is a potential immigrant to the embassy until he has proved the opposite. Your appearance, personal data and the documents submitted should indicate that the purpose of the visit to this country is exclusively tourist, everything is fine in your homeland, and only the Rothschild or Rockefeller family are not envious of your income.
It is good when the applicant has trips to distant countries, for example, to Thailand, Peru, Vietnam, China, India. Although, it happens that subject to all of the above rules, a visa will even be put in a clean passport. The number of questions is unlikely to be more than five, and the interview itself will last no more than 5 minutes. If the decision is positive, you will know about it immediately after the interview. In the case of a negative decision – the passport is returned.
Now you are ready and have a good experience.