Apply for Nonimmigrant Visas to the U.S. | USAGov (2022)

Learn how to apply for different types of nonimmigrant visas for tourists, students, business travelers and future spouses. Also, find information about ESTA and the Visa Waiver Program, and how to get a job in the United States as a foreign worker.

On This Page

  • How to Apply Online for a Business or Tourism Visitor Visa to the U.S.
  • ESTA and the Visa Waiver Program for Tourists and Business Travelers
  • Student and Vocational Training Visas
  • North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Professional Visa
  • Getting a Job in the U.S. as a Foreign Worker
  • The K-1 or Fiancé(e) Visa

How to Apply Online for a Business or Tourism Visitor Visa to the U.S.

Please note: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Department temporarily suspended routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consulates in March 2020. The process to resume routine visa services began in February 2021.

Under normal conditions:

If you are planning a brief visit to the U.S. for business or tourism, you might need to apply for a visitor or a transit visa. These are the steps you should take:

1. Find out if you need a visa.

Check to see if your country participates in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). If you don't see your country listed, you will need a nonimmigrant visa to visit the U.S.

2. Determine which visa you might need for your visit.

Most business and tourism travelers use B-1 and B-2 visitor visas.

  • B-1 visa classification is for business travelers to consult with business associates, attend a conference, settle an estate, or negotiate a contract.
  • B-2 visa classification is for tourists on vacation and people coming for medical treatment, a social event, or participation in amateur contests for no pay.

Transit visas are less common.

(Video) HOW TO APPLY FOR USA VISA IN 2021 | FILL DS160 NON-IMMIGRANT US VISA FORM AND GIVE US VISA INTERVIEW

  • Transit C visa classification is for foreign nationals traveling through the U.S. to another country and stopping briefly in the U.S. as part of their travel to the next foreign destination.
  • Transit C-1, D, and C-1/D visas are for crewmembers of sea vessels or international airlines traveling to the U.S.

3. Apply for a visa.

The process of applying for a visa will vary depending on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply. Follow the specific instructions for the country that you’re in.

In general, you will need:

ESTA and the Visa Waiver Program for Tourists and Business Travelers

International travelers planning to visit the U.S. for business or pleasure may be able toget a visa waiver. To get a visa waiver, you must be a citizen of one of the 39 countries that participate in the U.S.'s Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

If you plan to visit the U.S. under the VWP, you must get an approved travel authorization before your trip. Authorization approvals are determined using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

How to Apply for ESTA and Get Approval to Travel to the U.S.

Visitors traveling to the U.S. for tourism or business meetings or conferences under the VWP can stay for up to 90 days without a visa.

Student and Vocational Training Visas

Please note: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Department temporarily suspended routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consulates in March 2020. The process to resume routine visa services began in February 2021.

Eligibility

An international student can apply for a student or exchange visitor visa only after being accepted by a school certified in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Students’ records are kept in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Learn more about SEVP and SEVIS, and about the SEVIS fee.

Types of Educational Visas

Your course of study, the school you plan to attend, or the exchange program you will be with will determine the type of student visa you will need.

The most common student visas are F-1 and M-1 visas.

  • F-1 visa classification is for a full-time international student pursuing academic studies.
  • M-1 visa classification is for a full-time international student pursuing vocational studies.

Check out the differences between F-1 visas and M-1 visas and how to apply.

(Video) How to Fill Out Form DS- 160: USA Visa Application 2021 (STEP BY STEP)

  • J-1 visa classification is also known as the exchange visitor program (EVP). It is for foreign nationals approved to take part in work or study-based exchange programs. Examples include visiting scholars, camp counselors, or research assistants.

Learn how to apply for a J-1 visa.

The duration of stay for J-1 visa holders depends on the agreement between you and your Department of State-approved sponsoring organization. Find a Department of State-approved sponsoring organization or program.

Learn more about studying in the U.S.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Professional Visa

Please note: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Department temporarily suspended routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consulates in March 2020. The process to resume routine visa services began in February 2021.

Eligibility

Only citizens of Canada and Mexico are eligible for a nonimmigrant North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Professional visa to work in the U.S. The NAFTA Professional visa classification is TN and grants the holder temporary entry into the U.S. to work in business activities at a professional level for an initial period of up to three years.

How to Apply

After getting a letter from your future employer confirming your offer of a position, the application process varies for Canadian and Mexican citizens.

Canadian Citizens: a NAFTA Professional (TN) visa is usually not required. You can go directly to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) port of entry, with your documentation for an interview to be admitted to the U.S. as a nonimmigrant who can legally work in the U.S.

Mexican Citizens: a NAFTA Professional (TN) visa is required. Complete the online visa application form DS-160, print out the confirmation page, and bring it to your interview. If you are applying in Mexico, a photo is not required for your application.

Learn more about the process of applying for a TN nonimmigrant visa.

Prepare for Your Interview

Review this list of what you will need to bring to your in-person interview including what details need to be in your letter from your prospective employer.

Getting a Job in the U.S. as a Foreign Worker

Based on your skills, circumstances, and the job that you plan to do, you may be able to come to the U.S. as either a:

(Video) এই ফর্মুলায় সাফল্য নিশ্চিত | U.S. VISA APPLICATION PROCESS | B1B2 | DS-160

  • Temporary or permanent foreign worker, or a

  • Temporary visitor for business

Under certain circumstances, you may also be able to work in the U.S. if you’re a foreign student or an exchange visitor.

Get a Work Visa

As a foreign worker, you will need a visa to get a job in the U.S. Each type of visa has unique requirements, conditions, and time limits.

Visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS)Working in the U.S. web page for an overview of each worker category and type of visa.

Use the Department of State’s visa wizard to find:

  • The visa you need

  • The application process

  • Fees

  • Estimated wait time for a visa interview

Your Rights and Protections as a Temporary Foreign Worker

  • As a temporary foreign worker in the U.S., you will not be denied a visa or be punished by the U.S. government because you have exercised your rights under U.S. laws.Learn your rights and protections.

    (Video) Ex-Visa Officer Guide to Non-immigrant Visas to Immigrant Visas | USA Visa Journey

  • If youviolate the terms of your work visa, it could be revoked. You could be deported, arrested, or denied re-entry into the U.S.

  • If you think you or someone you know is being brought to the U.S. for human trafficking,get help now.

Immigration Questions

If you’re in the U.S. and have questions about visas and immigration, visit theUSCIS Contact Center. If you’re in another country, contact your nearestinternational immigration office.

The K-1 or Fiancé(e) Visa

If you’reengaged to a U.S. citizenand plan to marry and live in the U.S., your fiancé(e) can petition for aK-1 visa for you. The K-1 visa allows you to travel to the United States to marry your fiancé(e) within 90 days of arriving. After you marry, you may apply for anadjustment of status to get aPermanent Resident (Green) Card.

The K-1 visa expires after 90 days and can not be extended. If you do not marry within that time, you must leave the countryor face possible deportation.

Do you have a question?

Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They'll get you the answer or let you know where to find it.

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Last Updated: August 1, 2022

FAQs

How do I get a non immigrant visa for USA? ›

How long does it take to get a nonimmigrant visa for USA? ›

Visa processing takes approximately 21 workdays from the date on which the application is received by the Embassy. A further 2-3 workdays should be allowed for the return of your passport.

Is it hard to get a nonimmigrant visa? ›

Although the application process for a visitor visa is fairly simple, successfully obtaining it is harder than you might expect. The U.S. State Department, via its consulates around the world, denies a surprising number of visitor visa applications.

Can I apply visa online for USA? ›

Form DS-160 is submitted electronically to the Department of State website via the Internet. Consular Officers use the information entered on the DS-160 to process the visa application and, combined with a personal interview, determine an applicant's eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa.

What are 3 types of non immigrant visas? ›

What are the nonimmigrant visa types? There are three primary nonimmigrant visa categories. You can visit the United States for temporary tourism or business, study, and work.

Can a US citizen sponsor a friend for a tourist visa? ›

If you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and you have a friend or relative who seeks to come to the U.S. as a tourist (on a B-2 visitor visa), you might be able to help the person by providing a letter of invitation.

Why do visas get denied? ›

An applicant's current and/or past actions, such as drug or criminal activities, as examples, may make the applicant ineligible for a visa. If denied a visa, in most cases the applicant is notified of the section of law which applies.

Who is eligible for U.S. immigrant visa? ›

Immigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals who intend to live permanently in the United States. Nonimmigrant visas are for foreign nationals wishing to enter the United States on a temporary basis - for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work, study, or other similar reasons.

Can I get a 10 year visa for USA? ›

The U.S. 10-Year Multiple Entry Visa is a temporary visa that allows holders to engage in business and tourist activities within the U.S. This visa is officially known as the B1/B2 Visa.

What is the easiest way to get a U.S. visa? ›

The Fastest and Easiest Way to Get a US Electronic Visa
  1. With VisaCentral, you can apply anytime for a US ESTA and you will receive an email confirmation from VisaCentral notifying you once your US ESTA has been issued.
  2. US ESTA's can take up to 72 hours to be authorised by the US Homeland Security.

How much bank balance is required for U.S. tourist visa? ›

The amount of bank balance you should have for applying to the US tourist visa depends on the duration. If it is a 15-day trip, you must have $ 5,000-10,000 in your bank. Is travel insurance compulsory for the US travel visa? No, travel insurance is not compulsory for the US travel visa.

Which is the hardest visa to get? ›

Hardest countries to get a visa
  • North Korea.
  • China.
  • Russia.
  • Saudi Arabia.
  • Bhutan.
  • Pakistan.
  • Nigeria.
  • Turkmenistan.

How long does it take to get a visa to USA? ›

It takes from 3 to 5 weeks for a US visa application to get processed. After the processing, the applicant can get a positive reply on their application, and the consulate will deliver the document.

How much does it cost to apply for U.S. visa? ›

The application fee for the most common nonimmigrant visa types is US$160. This includes tourist, business, student, and exchange visas. Most petition-based visas, such as work and religious visas, are US$190. K visas cost US$265 and the fee amount for E visas is US$205.

Is U.S. issuing tourist visa now? ›

The United States has announced that it would be resuming in-person tourist visa appointments from September. "We are resuming routine in-person tourist visa appointments in September 2022. Previously, scheduled placeholders have now been cancelled.

How much is non immigrant visa fee? ›

US Nonimmigrant Visa Application Fees
Visa typeCost
Non-petition Based Visas$160
Petition Based Visas$190
E Visas$205
K Visas$265

How long can you live in the US without a visa? ›

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP), administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in consultation with the State Department, permits citizens of 40 countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa.

Is US embassy open for non immigrant visa? ›

U.S. Embassy Manila has resumed all routine visa services. Wait times for interviews are longer than before the pandemic, except for immediate relatives. For nonimmigrant visas, the embassy is prioritizing applicants with urgent travel needs.

What documents do I need to invite someone to the USA? ›

Below is a list of the recommended documents to include with an Invitation Letter:
  • Scanned copy of host's ID or passport.
  • Evidence of means of financial subsistence.
  • Proof of homeownership or rental contract.
  • An itinerary of the planned visit.
  • Documentation of the host's time off from work for the visit.
Aug 25, 2022

Do I need invitation letter for US tourist visa? ›

An invitation is not required and cannot guarantee visa issuance. In fact, there are no required documents for tourist/business visa applications. Visa applicants must qualify for the visa according to their own circumstances, not on the basis of a sponsor's assurance.

Can a U.S. citizen sponsor a non family member? ›

Can a U.S. citizen sponsor a non-family member for immigration? Unfortunately, no, you can't petition for a foreign national's visa or green card if they aren't a family member.

What disqualifies you from getting a U.S. visa? ›

A foreign national is ineligible for a U.S. visa if he or she has been: Convicted of, or has admitted to committing, a crime involving moral turpitude. There isn't a concrete definition of what constitutes moral turpitude, although crimes such as fraud fall into the category.

How do you increase your chances of getting a U.S. visa? ›

U.S. Tourist Visa: How to Make your Chances of Approval Higher
  1. Employment. Having a job in your home country will not guarantee to have your visa issued. ...
  2. Family Obligation. ...
  3. Property and Personal Asset. ...
  4. Community Involvement. ...
  5. Travel History.

Why is U.S. visa is hard to get? ›

The consulate may also make it difficult for people from certain countries to get a U.S. visa if they have trends of visa misuse. For example, some countries have high cases of entering the U.S. as a tourist or other nonimmigrants and then never returning to their country of origin.

Who can sponsor me in USA? ›

Who You Can Help Immigrate
Who Can Sponsor Who
Who You AreImmigrants You Can Petition
U.S. citizen age 21 or olderParents
U.S. citizen (at least age 18, for financial sponsorship purposes)Spouse
U.S. citizen (at least age 18, for financial sponsorship purposes)Minor, unmarried children
4 more rows

What are the 4 types of visa? ›

Probably one of the four main types: tourist, immigration, student, or work.

What are the 4 types of immigrants? ›

In the United States, citizenship is not black and white. There are four categories of immigration statuses: citizens, residents, non-immigrants, and undocumented immigrants.

How many months bank statement is required for US visa? ›

How many months of bank statement is needed for US visa? Ans. You are required to show at least 3-9 months of bank statements to get hold of a US student visa.

How long can you stay on B1 B2 visa? ›

B visa length of stay

B1 and B2 visa holders are allowed to stay in the US for up to 6 months at a time. Each visa application will be assessed on its own merit, and the adjudicating officer may grant a stay of less than 6 months – this is the maximum period for an initial stay under the B classification.

How much bank balance is required for US B2 visa? ›

There are no rules for any minimum balance requirement for your bank account, people's experiences say that somewhere between 5 to 10K$ is enough to show.

How much is a non immigrant visa for USA? ›

The application fee for the most common nonimmigrant visa types is US$160. This includes tourist, business, student, and exchange visas. Most petition-based visas, such as work and religious visas, are US$190. K visas cost US$265 and the fee amount for E visas is US$205.

How much bank balance is required for US tourist visa? ›

The amount of bank balance you should have for applying to the US tourist visa depends on the duration. If it is a 15-day trip, you must have $ 5,000-10,000 in your bank. Is travel insurance compulsory for the US travel visa? No, travel insurance is not compulsory for the US travel visa.

How long can a nonimmigrant stay in the US? ›

U.S. immigration at the port of entry determines how long a person may remain in the United States. The holder of a B-2 visa may be admitted for an initial period of six months, which is extendable in six month increments.

What is the easiest way to immigrate to USA? ›

Immediate relatives are spouses of US citizens, parents of US citizens, and unmarried minor children of US citizens. There is no limit on the number of visas available each year for immediate relatives. Being a US citizen's spouse is the fastest, easiest way to immigrate to the US.

Videos

1. Applying for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad
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3. Big News!! "No interview US VISA" - Interviews Waived | NVC, US Consulate | US Immigration News
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