Helpful Hints When Obtaining a Visa to the United States

Are you thinking about visiting the United States but are concerned about obtaining a visa?  The video below from the U.S. Department of State entitled: Visit America: It’s Easier Than You Think is worth watching:

 The U.S. State Department is responsible for issuing all United States visas.  The best place to obtain accurate information about U.S. visas is the United States embassy or consulate in your home country. You may also find some excellent information at the following location on the U.S. Department of state website.

While there are many  types of visas, the most popular fall into the following three categories:

  1. Visitor Visas (a/k/a “Tourist Visas”) – This type of visa permits the recipient to visit the United States for up to three months but do not permit the visitor to work in the USA.
  2. Temporary Employment Visas – This type of visa is severely restricted and as a result, are far more difficult to obtain.  Temporary Employment Visas permit the holder to work in the United States for a set period of time (usually between six months and five years).
  3. Immigration Visas – This type of visa allows the recipient to permanently live, work and enjoy most of the privileges of citizenship in the United States.These types of visas are the most difficult to obtain.

The following World Wide Non-immigrant Visa Issuances chart from the United States Department of State clearly indicates an increasing number of non immigrant visas being issued in the past two years:

The Chart below from the United States Department of State reflects the number of Immigrant Visas Issued at Offices Abroad for the fiscal years 2007-2012.

The numbers clearly reflect that it is far more difficult to obtain an Immigrant Visa than a Non-immigrant Visa.

According to Wikipedia, a B Visa is a category of Visa issued by the United States government to foreign citizens seeking entry for a temporary period.  Visitor Visas would be considered B Visas and they generally fall into two categories:

  1. B-1 Visa – Temporary Visas issued to foreign citizens who are seeking entry to the United States for business purposes;
  2. B-2 Visa – Temporary Visas issued to foreign citizens who are seeking entry to the United States for tourism or other non-business purposes.

In Fiscal Year 2011, there were 5.6 million applications filed by foreign citizens for B Visas4.3 million (76%) of these requests were approved. Visa applications are submitted online and require a payment of one hundred and sixty ($160) U.S. dollars.

So what are the things that you can do to improve your chances of having a B Visa issued so that you may visit the United States?

  1. Present evidence that you maintain a Permanent Residence in your home country.  The best scenario is that you own property in your own name.  Alternatively, present documentation that you are renting property.  It’s always better when you have resided at one place for a longer period of time than if you move around frequently.
  2. Demonstrate that you have Strong Tiesto your home country. The following are some of the things that you may use to demonstrate strong ties to your country:
    1. You own a business
    2. You have a permanent career and have been employed for a long time with your current employer.  You should obtain a letter from your employer acknowledging the dates of your visit to the United States. The Employer’s Letter should also state the date that they expect you to return to work.
    3. You have strong family ties such as a spouse, children, mother, father, grandparents, etc. who will all remain in your home country during your trip.
  3. If you do not have any relatives or friends in the United States, state this on your application.  These types of relationships often cause a visitor to the United States to remain in the country illegally for a longer period of time than permitted.
  4. If you do have relatives, friends or business associates in the United States who are U.S. Citizens, it is a good idea to obtain a letter from at least one person who would be willing to assume responsibility for your timely return to your home country within the 90 days period permitted by the visa.
  5. One of the best things that you can do to improve your chances of obtaining a B Visa is to demonstrate travel responsibility by traveling to other countries and returning to your home country before attempting to visit the United States.  Regardless of your home country, there are other countries that you could visit where obtaining a visa would be far easier than obtaining a U.S. B Visa.  By traveling abroad and returning to your home country within the period permitted by that particular country you would be demonstrating to t o the United States that you could be trusted too exit the U.S. on a timely basis.

This is our first posting in a series of posting designed to provide helpful hints for obtaining different types of visas to enter the United States legally.

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