Visa Application Process

If you’re an immigrant currently living and working in the United States, you may want friends and family to come to visit you in your new home from time to time. The U.S. visitor visa process, also known as a B2 Visa, is varied depending on which country a person is coming from.  Any foreign citizen who wants to go through the B2 Visa process must ensure they aren’t traveling to the U.S. for study, business, or work.

Keep scrolling to learn more about the visitor’s visa application and the B2 visa application process, and how it may apply to your friends or family’s circumstances.

Visitor’s Visa Application

When applying for travel sponsorship to the U.S., the first thing to know is that citizens of certain countries may not require a visa if the trip is less than 90 days. This is known as the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Below we’re going to go through how to apply for travel sponsorship both with and without the VWP. You can click here to see which countries fall under the VWP.

If the Visiting Person Qualifies for the VWP

If you are a citizen of one of the designated countries on the VWP, you do not need to get sponsored to travel. You can travel to the U.S. for tourism or business stays of less than 90 days. However, you will need to have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approved before traveling. ESTA is a web-based system operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to determine your eligibility to travel. In most cases, an ESTA is valid for two years. You must obtain a new ESTA if you get a new passport (including a temporary or emergency passport), change your name, change your country of citizenship, or need to change any of the “yes” or “no” responses on the ESTA application.

If the Visiting Person Does Not Qualify for the VWP

First, the person looking for travel sponsorship must fill out online  Form DS-160 and print the confirmation page. This must be done for every person planning to visit the U.S. Then, you will need to go to this site to pay the MRV application fee and schedule an interview. You will be required to upload a photo of each applicant, and we recommend you bring a (2” by 2”) color photo of each applicant that has been taken within the last six months with you to your visa interview. Be sure that your passport or travel document contains multiple pages as U.S. visas are printed into a passport and are not a separate card or document. If you have been arrested or convicted (no matter when, where, or why), you are required to declare this and you will need to bring additional supporting documents with you. Once your interview has been scheduled, you should expect to be at the U.S. embassy or consulate for 2 -3 hours.

Visitor or Family Visit Visa USA Process Time

For visitors that qualify for the VWP, you will only have to wait for your ESTA to process. This can take anywhere between 1 – 72 hours. An ESTA is valid as long as you obtain it before boarding a plane, so it is advisable to get this completed as soon as possible.

For those that do not qualify for the VWP, once you have submitted your forms and documents and attended your interview, your application should take between 3-5 workdays to process. You should also allow an extra two workdays for your passport to be returned to you. If you were told at your interview that a waiver of ineligibility is required, you should expect your application to take up to 8 months from the day of the interview to process.

Navigating the constantly evolving U.S. immigration system is overwhelming for many people. If you have any uncertainty about your application, we always recommend hiring a lawyer to guide you through the process. The experienced attorneys at Leiva Law Firm specialize in immigration and nationality law. Contact them today for a consultation about your specific immigration questions.