The process of getting your first-ever visa can seem like an impossible task at times. There are so many forms to fill out, sources to verify, and things you have to check off that it can feel like there is no end in sight.
But worry not! We’re here to help you through this process step by step. From finding out what documents you need to submit, to how long it takes to receive your visa, we've got you covered.
So let's get started!
Topic and bullet point introduction
It will also discuss the types of documents you need to include when processing your application and some tips for speeding up the process.
The next step in the process is to prepare your visa application. This includes gathering all of your documents, proof of employment, proof of residence, etc.
Most immigration offices require you to include at least two sets of documents per applicant. One set must be presented while applying, and the other can be sent via mail or courier service.
The number of copies you need will depend on the length of each document as well as how many people are submitting them. For example, if your signature takes up one line, then only one copy is needed!
Be sure to have enough copies ready ahead of time. Immigration officers may also ask to see additional documentation later in the process, so make sure you do not forget anything.
The next step in the visa process is to schedule an interview with U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS). This will be your first meeting with officials from USCIS, so you should prepare for this as much as possible!
It’s very important that you attend the interview at the appointed time with all of your documents and proof ready. You do not want to wait until the last minute or forget anything crucial because there may be another appointment set up during the day.
Remember, if anyone has called you about the interview, it means they have received notification that you are coming and wanted to see you then!
If you need to change or cancel your appointment, do it as soon as possible to give enough time for them to notify USCIS and reschedule.
After you receive your B-2 visa, we automatically send you an entry form to complete at home! This is called the I-94W Form, as it is categorized under Section 94 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
You must bring this form with you when traveling in the United States. If you do not have this form within 30 days of departing the US, you may be denied admission or even deported!
The I-94W form asks about your name, address, phone number, flight information, and more. You are also asked if you will work while here and what country you’re leaving from. All of these questions relate to our immigration laws, so make sure to look up all of the answers before heading back home!
We can only process I-94Ws once you arrive at your destination city. So, stay close to your departure airport and let us know where you're staying using our Travel Tips section.
If your visa was denied, you have the right to appeal! Most cases close within weeks of being filed, so it is best to start that process as soon as possible.
It is very important to begin this process quickly because if you do not, your chance at re-entry into the United States will be delayed.
By starting the immigration appeals process as soon as possible, you give yourself more time to prove your case. Because of this, most people are able to stay in the country while their cases are appealed.
Some things to consider when deciding how to handle your visa denial appeal include whether or not to hire an attorney, what kind of documents you need, and when it’s appropriate to file your appeal.
After arriving at the U.S. Embassy, you’ll need to pay a processing or “visa fees” payment. This is typically done via credit card but it can be paid in person with cash (though we don’t recommend this).
The exact amount of the fee depends on your personal situation and how much time you have before you leave. But most people are given at least two days to make the payment.
We suggest getting the payment as close to the deadline as possible because there’s a limited number of dates when the embassy will accept payments.
Mostly, they will give you until around noon Eastern Time every day to make the payment.
After you have everything ready, you can register your new visa with the United States Government. This process usually takes around two weeks, but could take longer depending on how many employees work at the organization registering you.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) handles most immigration paperwork, so it is important to make sure that their systems recognize you as an employee. They will ask if you are authorized to work in America and what position you hold.
If your employer isn’t listed or they list you as a manager when you aren’t one, this could hurt your chances of staying!
Some things that may slow down processing time include notifying friends and family members about your plans to stay in the country, confirming receipt of documents through mail and email, and making sure there are no spelling errors in any documents.
The next thing you will need to do is obtain your passport. This can be done in-person at a US Embassy or Consulate, by mail, through an online company, or via phone call.
Most countries require only one proof of identity and residence – a passport. However, some may ask for more depending on what visa category you are applying for.
We recommend that you make arrangements early as there could be time delays due to high demand during times of large travel season (winter break, summer vacations).
Also remember to check if your country is listed as requiring extra documents when obtaining your passport! Some countries require proof of employment while others ask for health insurance, etc. — so double check before going shopping.
There is no set timeline how long it takes to process visas, but we have information gathered from our sources about average wait times per country.