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US Visa Nonimmigrant Visa Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

US Visas - Nonimmigrant Visas

US Visas Nonimmigrant Visa

International Money Transfer - International Money Order
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These questions refer to US Visas (Nonimmigrant Visas). For Green Cards (Immigrant Visas), see Green Card Immigration FAQs.

  1. What is the difference between an immigrant and a nonimmigrant visa (between a Green Card and a US Visa)?

  2. How do I get US visa forms?

  3. In the U.S., whom can I call for information on nonimmigrant visa cases (US Visas) and what can they do about specific visa cases?

  4. What about nonimmigrant visa denials (if your US Visa is denied)? What can Visa Services in Washington do?

  5. When I call Visa Services for information all I get are recordings. Why can't I talk to a live person? How do I get to a person?

  6. When should I call the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)?

  7. What if I have sent correspondence to a Foreign Service post and have not received a response?

  8. I'm traveling to another country. Where do I get my visa?

  9. I need to find a foreign embassy or consulate in the U.S. Where can I find the number?

  10. What must be done to invite someone for a visit to the United States?

  11. What do I need for a US Visa?

  12. How can I obtain a US student visa to study in the USA?

  13. How can I change visa status in the U.S.?

  14. How can I extend the period of time I am allowed to remain in the U.S.?

  15. Can the holder of an expired nonimmigrant visa in the U.S. be issued another nonimmigrant visa before leaving the U.S. for a temporary absence?

  16. How can I learn why I was denied a nonimmigrant visa (US Visa) at a post overseas?

  17. What can I do if I have been denied a US Visa? Can I appeal?

  18. How can I persuade the consul to issue the US Visa?

  19. How can I help my employee, friend or relative get a US Visa?

  20. Do I Need a Work Permit to work in the U.S.?

  21. What is necessary for me to enter the U.S. to marry a U.S. citizen?

  22. Will my K-1 fiancee visa automatically change to a Green Card (permanent resident card)?

 



1. What is the difference between an immigrant and a nonimmigrant visa (between a Green Card and a US Visa)?

An immigrant visa (Green Card) grants the privilege of living and working permanently in the United States. A nonimmigrant visa (US Visa) is issued to persons with permanent residence outside the U.S. but who wish to be in the U.S. on a temporary basis, for example, tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work, or study. For more information, see US Visas (Nonimmigrant Visas), Green Card Issues (US Immigrant Visas, US Immigration), or Green Card Immigration FAQs.


2. How do I get US visa forms?
Most US visa forms are available online at USCIS Forms / INS Forms and Other US Immigration Forms, Fees & Filing Locations. If you have questions about a Packet 3 or Packet 4, you need to call the National Visa Center at 603-334-0700.


3. In the U.S., whom can I call for information on nonimmigrant visa cases (US Visas) and what can they do about specific visa cases?
In the U.S., you can call the State Department's Visa Services office. The number is (202) 663-1225. This contains recorded information for visa applicants. After listening to one message, there is an option to speak to an officer between 8:30 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. They can usually explain what aspects of immigration law and regulation are applicable in certain cases. They can also check if a case has been returned to the State Department for an advisory opinion.


4. What about nonimmigrant visa denials (if your US Visa is denied)? What can Visa Services in Washington do?
Visa Services does not exercise authority to change consular officers' decision on visa applications, but they can assist in finding out the status of an application. They can also suggest several different methods for getting the information addresses for letters, telexes, faxes, and, in emergency situations, cables. If you have some facts on an individual case, they can frequently explain the legal grounds for refusal and any possible avenues of relief.


5. When I call Visa Services for information all I get are recordings. Why can't I talk to a live person? How do I get to a person?
The recordings are in place to provide general information on a number of topics. If you have a question about a specific case or about something unique, it is possible to talk to a person. The recordings are set up in such a way that you have to listen to one message and then you will be given an option to speak with an officer.


6. When should I call the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)?
Once you are in the United States, you come under U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) jurisdiction. You can call the USCIS toll free at 1-800-375-5283.


7. What if I have sent correspondence to a Foreign Service post and have not received a response?
Visa Services may be able to suggest other channels. Call (202) 663-1225. After listening to the recorded information, there is an option to speak to an officer between 8:30 A.M. and 5:00 P.M.


8. I'm traveling to another country. Where do I get my visa?
From the embassy or consulate of the country you are planning to visit. See Foreign Embassies & Consulates in the USA


9. I need to find a foreign embassy or consulate in the U.S. Where can I find the numbers?"
See Foreign Embassies & Consulates in the USA


10. What must be done to invite someone for a visit to the United States?
Sending him/her a letter of invitation can help a guest of a U.S. host. The letter should include the invitee's name, reason for visit, period of stay in the U.S., and method of payment of expenses. If the guest is paying his/her own expenses, he/she must be prepared to show the consular officer that sufficient funds are available for the trip. If the American host is paying the expenses, an affidavit of support may be included. For more information, see US Tourist Visa / US Visitor Visa / B-1 Visa, B-2 Visa.


11. What do I need for a US Visa?
You must have a passport, valid for six months beyond duration of your proposed visit, one passport-size photograph, and proof of social, family, economic, professional or other compelling ties to a residence outside the United States to which you will be expected to return after the visit. It is helpful to have a letter of invitation and support, if you are visiting someone in the U.S. For more information, see US Tourist Visa / US Visitor Visa / B-1 Visa, B-2 Visa.


12. How can I obtain a US student visa to study in the USA?
Before you can come to the United States as a student, you must be accepted to an approved school and prove that you have sufficient financial resources (scholarships, loans, family or personal resources) to pay your school and living expenses. You must also prove compelling ties to a residence outside the United States to which you will be expected to return after the visit. Your U.S. school should send you an I-20 form, which you will need to obtain your US student visa. For more information, see US Student Visas.


13. How can I change visa status in the U.S.?
See Change Visa Status - How to Change to a New Nonimmigrant Visa Status.


14. How can I extend the period of time I am allowed to remain in the U.S.?
See Extend US Visa Status (I-94 Form I-94 Card): Visa Extension to Stay Longer on My Visit to USA


15. Can the holder of an expired nonimmigrant visa in the U.S. be issued another nonimmigrant visa before leaving the U.S. for a temporary absence?
In certain circumstances, yes. See Renew My A1-2, G1-4 or NATO1-6 Visa in US, and Change of Status for A, G, or NATO Visas in US, or call the State Department's Visa Services office at 202-663-1225 (or fax 202-663-1608).


16. How can I learn why I was denied a nonimmigrant visa (US Visa) at a post overseas?
You should always be told the reason for the denial, orally or in writing. If you do not understand the reason, or you wish to offer further evidence to overcome the denial, you should contact the post where you made the application to determine that post's reapplication policy. For an explanation of the most common circumstance under which a US visa is denied (based on "Section 214(b)), as well as your right to reapply, see Visa Denied, Visa Refused Under 214b (Nonimmigrant Visa Denials, Visa Refusals).


17. What can I do if I have been denied a US Visa? Can I appeal?
A senior consular officer reviews all denials. There is no "appeal" process per se on visa denials, but you can reapply for a nonimmigrant visa (US Visa) if you can present new evidence to overcome the previous grounds for refusal. Some high-volume posts require that a significant period of time (six months to one year) elapse before reapplication with new qualifying evidence. By law, the U.S. consul must be persuaded that you have a permanent residence abroad to which you intend to return after a temporary stay in the U.S; otherwise, the consul must presume that you are planning to remain in the U.S. permanently. Since a nonimmigrant visa (US Visa) is not intended for someone who plans to stay permanently, the consular officer must refuse the visa. See Visa Denied, Visa Refused Under 214b (Nonimmigrant Visa Denials, Visa Refusals) for more information.


18. How can I persuade the consul to issue the US Visa?
This is generally done by showing evidence of family, social, employment, financial and other ties to the home country that will compel a return from the U.S. Having a permanent residence abroad is a requirement for tourist, business, student, exchange visitor and some temporary worker visas. See Visa Denied, Visa Refused Under 214b (Nonimmigrant Visa Denials, Visa Refusals) for how to prepare for a visa reapplication.


19. How can I help my employee, friend or relative get a US Visa?
Provide a letter of invitation or support. Be aware, however, that this cannot guarantee a visa issuance. The applicant must qualify for the visa according to his/her own circumstances, not on the basis of an American sponsor's assurance. There is no way the U.S. sponsor can guarantee that the applicant will leave the U.S. at the end of his or her stay. It is up to the applicant to show that he or she meets the requirements. You may want to forward the page Visa Denied, Visa Refused Under 214b (Nonimmigrant Visa Denials, Visa Refusals) to your employee, friend, or relative for guidance.


20. Do I Need a Work Permit to Work in the U.S.?
U.S. employers must check to make sure all employees, regardless of citizenship or national origin, are allowed to work in the United States. If you are not a citizen or Green Card holder (a lawful permanent resident or immigrant), you may need to apply for a work permit, formally called an "Employment Authorization Document" (EAD), to prove you may work in the United States. For more information, see Obtain a US Work Permit (Employment Authorization Document).


21. What is necessary for me to enter the U.S. to marry a U.S. citizen?
The U.S. citizen must file a fiancee petition, USCIS Form I-129F, with the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a K-1 visa. The USCIS will forward the approved petition to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. The post will then contact you with information and eventually schedule an interview for a K-1 fiancee visa. You have 90 days from entry into the U.S. in which to marry the U.S. citizen, and you must leave within this time if you do not apply to become a permanent resident. See Fiance Visa - US Fiancee Visa USA (K-1 Visa) for important details.


22. Will my K-1 fiancee visa automatically change to a Green Card (permanent resident card)?
No. After the marriage takes place, your U.S. citizen wife or husband must contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to change your status to legal permanent resident in order to obtain a Green Card. This information is given to you when you enter the U.S. For more information, see Fiance Visa - US Fiancee Visa USA (K-1 Visa).

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