Unlike an immigrant visa, which requires the applicant to wait for years, the waiting time for a temporary, non-immigrant visa for America or a US tourist visa (visa category B-2), for the purpose of tourism, pleasure or visiting friends or relatives, can be limited to just weeks.
However, there is no fixed time for an individual to get a US tourist visa, since the government analyzes each application on a case-by-case basis. Many factors, such as the country of origin of the applicant, their personal profile and the quotas set by the US Congress, are taken into consideration. In fact, if the US embassy is facing a heavy workload, stay prepared for further delays.
Issues that Govern Wait Times for US Tourist Visas
The time taken for a visitor visa to be processed depends on two things:
- Appointment Wait Time: This refers to when you have applied for a US tourist visa, the number of days in which you receive the interview appointment at a US embassy or consulate.
- Administrative Processing Time: After you have been approved for a US visa by the consular officer, after the visa interview, it might take some days to get the visa ready for pick-up and delivery to the applicant by courier. If your case needs extra administrative processing, stay prepared for a delay of 6-8 weeks.
How long it takes to get US Visa?
The US Department of State has offered an “online estimator” for temporary visitors applying for a non-immigrant visa to help them get an idea of the time it will take for them to get an interview appointment at the US embassy or consulate, along with the wait time for the visa to be processed and delivered to you.
If you have an emergency situation, contact the US embassy or consulate. They might grant an expedited interview appointment and processing.
Got questions? Please ask in comments.