How to Get US Visit Visa

Ah! Visiting the dreamland – USA! We know navigating through the labyrinth of visa application processes can be overwhelming.

But fear not! We’ve got your back. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of obtaining a US Visit Visa (and how not to screw up).

What is a US Visit Visa?

Primarily, there are two types of visit visas for the US: B1 and B2. The B1 visa is for business travelers, attending conferences or meetings, and negotiating contracts.

On the other hand, the B2 visa is for people visiting the US for leisure, medical treatment, or to visit family and friends. For simplicity, we’ll use the term ‘US Visit Visa’ to refer to both types.

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Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility

The first step is to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria set by the US Department of State. The most critical factor they consider is whether the applicant will return to their home country after their visit.

You will need to provide evidence that you have strong ties to your home country, such as job commitments, family obligations, property ownership, etc.

The consular officer also considers your financial capability to cover your expenses during your stay.

Step 2: Complete the DS-160 Form

The next step is to complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, also known as the DS-160 form.

This online application collects information about your personal details, travel plans, and other relevant data.

Make sure to answer all questions accurately, as false information could lead to visa denial.

Step 3: Pay the Visa Fee

After completing the DS-160 form, you need to pay the visa application fee, which is non-refundable and non-transferable.

Remember to keep the receipt, as you will need to present it during your visa interview.

Step 4: Schedule Your Visa Interview

After paying the visa fee, schedule your visa interview at the nearest US Embassy or Consulate.

Wait times for interview appointments can vary by location, season, and visa category, so apply early to secure your desired travel date.

Step 5: Gather Required Documents

Gather all required documents before your interview.

This typically includes your valid passport, DS-160 confirmation page, application fee payment receipt, and photo.

You may also need to present additional documents such as evidence of your itinerary, intent to depart the US after your trip, and ability to pay all travel costs.

Step 6: Attend Your Visa Interview

During the interview, a consular officer will ask you questions about your purpose of visit, financial situation, and more.

Be prepared to answer honestly and confidently. The officer will then determine whether you are qualified to receive a US visit visa.

Step 7: After the Interview

If your visa is approved, you may need to pay a visa issuance fee. Your passport with the visa will then be returned to you or be ready for pick-up at the location specified during the appointment scheduling process.

Congratulations! You’re all set to jet off to the USA. Remember, though, having a visa doesn’t guarantee entry into the US.

The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have the authority to permit or deny admission to the US.

Navigating the Common Pitfalls

  1. Lack of Preparation: Be prepared to clearly and concisely describe your intentions and plans in the US. Keep all supporting documents handy.
  2. Lack of Ties to Home Country: Prove you have strong ties—job, family, and financial—that bind you to your home country. It is vital to prove that you will return home after your visit to the US.
  3. Insufficient Funds: Demonstrate you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses during your stay in the US.

Who is Not Eligible for a US Visit Visa?

Understanding visa ineligibilities can save a lot of time and disappointment during the visa application process. Here, we delve into some reasons why an individual might be deemed ineligible for a US visit visa.

Security and Related Grounds

National security is paramount in the United States. Consequently, individuals who pose a security threat may be ineligible for a visa.

This may include suspected terrorists, members of a totalitarian party, or individuals involved in espionage, sabotage, or unlawful activity.

Health-Related Grounds

Certain health conditions can render an applicant ineligible. For instance, individuals suffering from communicable diseases of public health significance like tuberculosis, or those who failed to receive necessary vaccinations, may be denied a visa.

Similarly, those with physical or mental disorders posing a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the individual or others may also be denied.

Criminal and Related Grounds

If you’ve been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or a violation of any law relating to a controlled substance, you may be ineligible for a visa.

There are exceptions, though, such as for crimes committed when the person was under 18 years old, or for a single crime for which the maximum possible sentence was one year or less, and the person was not sentenced to more than six months’ imprisonment.

Misrepresentation and Fraud

Honesty is the best policy, especially when it comes to visa applications. If you lie or misrepresent facts during the visa application process, you may be deemed permanently ineligible. This includes fraudulent documentation or false claims to US citizenship.

Public Charge

An applicant is considered a public charge if they are likely to become primarily dependent on the US government for subsistence. Factors considered include age, health, family status, financial resources, education, and skills.

Immigration Violators

If you’ve previously violated immigration laws, for example, by overstaying a visa, this could lead to ineligibility for a new visa. However, some applicants might be eligible for a waiver or might have served a “ban” and can now apply.

Miscellaneous Grounds

Various other factors may make you ineligible, like if you’ve been involved in human trafficking or money laundering, if you’ve renounced US citizenship to avoid taxation, or if you’ve been subject to removal orders.

This might seem like a long list, but remember, each case is different, and consular officers consider the specifics of each applicant’s situation. If you are found to be ineligible, you may be informed about possible waiver provisions in the law.

It’s important to consult with immigration experts or legal professionals to understand your position better if you feel you may fall under any of these ineligibility categories.

Remember, when it comes to visa applications, honesty, preparedness, and understanding of the law can save you a lot of trouble.


Getting a US visit visa involves a series of steps, starting from determining your eligibility, filling up the DS-160 form, paying the visa fee, scheduling and attending the visa interview, and finally, receiving your visa.

While it might seem daunting, breaking it down into these steps simplifies the process.

Remember, the key to a successful application is honesty, thoroughness, and preparedness. Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of visa should I apply for to visit the USA?

A B1/B2 visa is the most common type of visa issued for tourists, business trips, and medical treatment purposes.

What documents do I need to apply for a US visit visa?

You’ll need a valid passport, digital photographs, completed application form DS-160, and visa fee payment receipt. Additional documents may be required depending on your specific circumstances.

How long does it take to get a US visit visa?

Processing times can vary from a few days to several weeks, depending on the U.S. embassy or consulate where you applied.

Is there an interview process for a US visit visa?

Yes, most visa applicants need to attend an in-person interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

Can my US visit visa be denied?

Yes, visas can be denied for many reasons, such as insufficient documentation, ineligibility, or if the consular officer believes you might overstay.

How long can I stay in the US with a visit visa?

Typically, a B1/B2 visa allows a stay of up to six months. However, the exact duration will be determined by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer upon your arrival.

Can I work in the US with a visit visa?

No, the B1/B2 visa does not permit employment in the US. You must apply for a work visa to be legally employed.

Can I extend my stay in the US beyond the date on my admission stamp or paper Form I-94?

Yes, it’s possible to request an extension by filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, before your authorized stay expires.

Can I study in the US with a visit visa?

No, study is not allowed under a visit visa. You would need to apply for a student visa like the F1 visa for academic or language training programs.

Can I bring my dependents to the US with a visit visa?

Yes, your spouse and children under 21 can apply for B2 visas to accompany or join you.

Remember, always refer to the official U.S. Department of State website for the most accurate and updated information on U.S. visas.

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Ex “NRI” and Founder of the “Back to India” movement. I share my experience about immigrating to USA here.