How to Get a US Visitor Visa

People from abroad who wish to enter United States, must obtain American Visitor Visa which is placed in the passport of the individual. A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. Instead it determines the eligibility of the individual to seek entry in to the United States. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will then decide whether the individuals with the US Visas will be allowed to enter US or not.

There are two types of visitor visas which are classified into Immigrant Visa and Non-immigrant visa. Immigrant visas are used by people who wish to travel to live permanently in US. Non-immigrant visas are issued for people who wish to travel to US on a temporary basis (business or pleasure)

US Visitors:

The US Visitors who wish to enter US on a temporary stay need non – immigrant visas for business, pleasure or medical treatment. Every year US Visitor Visa comprises a large portion of temporary travelers to US.

If an individual seeks to enter US for business activities such as conferences, meetings, consultations and negotiating contracts then he/ she may apply for a B1 visa. Or if the individual seeks to enter US for pleasure activities such as visiting friends/relatives, tourism, recreational activities or medical treatment, then it is appropriate to apply for a B2 visa. Based on the purpose of the travel and on submission of the supporting documents, the consular office will decide the type of visa for the individual.


There are specific requirements that are needed by the individual to qualify for the American Visitor Visa. The individual must prove that the purpose of the trip to US is for business, pleasure or for medical treatment and that he/she plans to remain in the US for a specific period only. Also the individual must provide evidence of funds to cover expenses in the United States, evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad, and that he/she has residence outside the U.S. and has other binding ties that will ensure the individual leaves US at the end of the visit period.

Application Process:

An individual should generally apply for American Visitor Visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at their country. As there are many reviews after applying US visas, it is important to apply well in advance of the travel departure date.

First step in the visitor visa application process is the interview, where the fingerprint scan will also be taken. Interview is necessary for individuals who applied for US Visas from age 14 through 79, with few exceptions. Those individuals aged 13 and younger and aged 80 and older do not require an interview, unless they are specifically requested by embassy or consulate. Visa wait times for interview appointments and visa processing time information will vary depending on each US Embassy or consulate. Then the individual must pay the required fee and submit the supporting documents

Once American Visitor Visa has been approved, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will then decide whether the he/she will be allowed to enter US and also the length of the stay in the Form I 94 (Arrival Departure Record)