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The process of obtaining a visa for entry to the US can be quite a complicated affair. It is hardly surprising then that immigration lawyers the world over have established thriving practices which are centered on ‘guiding’ foreign nationals through this complex and time consuming process. Moreover ever since the terror attacks of 9/11, US immigration law has also undergone many changes and this has made the process of obtaining a US visa even more tedious. Always check for changes and updates before making any move.

All the various US visas that are issued for work, study and also immigration to the US require personal interviews at local US consulates and embassies where the applicant is based. The wait times for these interviews and the supporting documents that are required for each visa application differ in every individual case from country to country. If you intend to relocate to the US to work or to study, it is advisable that you start the process of applying for your appropriate US visa well in advance of the date of your intended departure to the US.

There are more than 20 different types of non-immigrant visas and even more types for immigrant visas. The type of visa that one is required to have in order to stay in the US varies depending on the purpose and the length of the stay. One must determine what type of visa is required in order to stay under one’s circumstances and the needs.


A visitor's visa is often the best way to visit the USA for reconnaissance purposes.

B-1 Visa

This is a visitor visa that is issued to a foreign national to enter the US temporarily for the purpose of business.

B-2 Visa

B-2 Visa is issued to those who enter the US for the purpose of vacation, tourism or medical treatment. However, if you are from a country which has a Visa Waiver Program with the US, no visa is required for a trip under 90 days. See below for more information.

There are certain conditions to be fulfilled for traveling under the Visa Waiver Program.

  1. Your passport should have a validity that extends for six months after your expected stay in the US.
  2. You should have a machine readable passport with an integrated electronic chip.
  3. You have to arrive by air or by sea on an approved carrier and you have to be in possession of a return or an onward ticket to any foreign destination after your stay in the US.
  4. You have to demonstrate that you intend to stay for less than 90 days in the US and have sufficient funds to do so. If you intend to change your status from traveler to student while in US or if you plan to work in the US, you cannot use the VWP but have to go back to your home country and make the appropriate application at your local U.S. consulate or U.S. embassy.

If you are not a citizen of country that participates in the Visa waiver program and if you want to just visit the US in order to explore the various possibilities that it offers you would have to apply for an ordinary tourist or B2 visa.

In order to apply for a visitor visa you must be able to prove to consular staff at your local US consulate or embassy that you intend to enter the US for pleasure or on short term business (B1 visa of the same category), you plan to remain in the US for only a specified period of time, you have sufficient resources to fund your trip, you have compelling social and economic ties at your place of residence to w…