How to Apply for a U.S. Visa
By eHow Contributing Writer
Filing for a U.S. visa can take anywhere from a few weeks to years, depending on the type of visa you want, your status in relation to the United States, and how successfully you complete the paperwork. Though no applicant can be guaranteed a visa, the following steps may save time in your attempt to get one.
Step 1 Call the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) office nearest you. The number will be listed in the government section of your phone book. If you do not live in the United States, call the nearest American embassy or consulate INS office.
Step 2 Ask for all application documents for the visa you need. They will be sent to you.
Step 3 Ask if you will need a U.S. sponsor - a U.S. resident who will take financial responsibility for you, should you not be able to support yourself. If so, begin your search for a sponsor immediately.
Step 4 Fill out the preliminary application fully and neatly, and mail it back for processing, along with any photos, documents, and fees. Send by registered mail, and send only copies of documents (not the originals), unless otherwise requested.
Step 5 Deliver all completed documents in person to save time and to find out whether your application is complete.
Step 6 Obtain a second packet, depending on your residence status and visa, if your first packet was accepted.
Step 7 Be prepared to have documents officially translated, if they are not already in English.
Step 8 Contact your sponsor immediately (if you need one), and send him or her the necessary documents via registered mail. Have documents sent back express mail or registered mail.
Step 9 Obtain all completed documents and call the INS for an interview/filing appointment, and perhaps a physical exam. This process can take two days and must be completed in person. You will be informed at that time whether you will be given a visa.