Planning a trip to the US most likely entails that you must get a visa. The type of visa you need depends on the purpose of your visa. However, the US visitor visa (B1/B2) covers tourism and business purposes, and that is what you cam here to find out. Keep in mind that if you are from a country that is on the list of Visa Waiver countries, you only need an ESTA if you travel by air.
The US tourist visa requirements are nothing out of the ordinary. After all, we are talking about a non-immigrant visa, and as you can expect, the requirements are somewhat mild as opposed to other types of visa.
The first requirement you need to meet is eligibility. You must provide proof that you apply for a US tourist visa for the purpose it was intended. Basically, you need to prove the following:
- Your purpose for visiting is business, tourism, or medical treatment
- You can provide for yourself while in the US
- You have every intention to return home as soon as your visa expires. If you can cross all of the above off the list, you can apply for your US Tourist visa. You need to go through multiple steps.
Step one: fill in the online form
It is not possible to get a US Tourist visa online, but it is possible to fill in the application online. iVisa will soon be able to help you with that. The form is called a DS-160, and the fact that you can fill one online makes things easier. Once you submit it, you receive an application form confirmation page, and you need to print it out. Why? You will need it when you go for your interview. Step two: pay the application fee
The application fee is $160. Depending on your personal case, you must pay it during the application or before your interview. You need the receipt when you go for your interview. It is one of the required documents. Keep in mind that some nationalities must also pay an issuance fee when they receive their visa. Step three: schedule your interview
When you have your confirmation page, you are free to schedule an interview with a consular officer. It is preferable to do so at the US embassy in your country of origin. It is possible to have your interview at the US embassy in another state, but that complicates things a bit. When a date is set, make sure that you prepare.
Step four: go to your interview
At the date and hour of your interview, make sure to arrive with your required documents. You must bring the following:
- The paper that confirms your meeting
- A letter in which you describe the purpose of your trip to the US
- Proof of sustenance once in the US
- Evidence that you have strong ties in your country of origin (family, job, etc.)
- An invitation letter from a friend in the US (optional but helpful)
- Criminal record
Additional documents may be necessary:
- Documents relevant to your previous visit in the US if that is the case
- Diploma or transcript if you are a student
- A letter from your employer and the payslips for the last three months if you have a job
- A letter from a company in the US that states the purpose of your visit if you travel for business
- Documents belonging to your family or friends if you plan on visiting them
- Letter from your doctor about your illness and treatment if you travel for medical purposes
Once you are at your interview, the consular officer will ask you a series of questions to which you need to give an honest answer. When the interview is over, the consular officer will take his or her notes, and your visa will be granted or denied in a few weeks, depending on the season.
As you can see, the US tourist visa requirements (B1/B2) are nothing out of the ordinary. The lists may be longer than for other visas, but you have to admit that there is nothing on that list that is challenging to obtain.