The U.S Embassies around the world aren’t giving out tourist visas or short-term nonimmigrant visas just like they used to. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the preference went to long-term visas, such as student or through employment.
However, if you do decide to apply for a tourist visa, you will have to be extra accurate with what you enter in your DS-160 application form. Here’s a few tips and tricks to help you get a positive response from an immigration officer.
Step by Step Application Process
Applying for a travel permit to the U.S isn’t all that different from other types of U.S visas:
- When you apply, you have to pay the consular fee. The payment of $160 USD is non-refundable and can be processed through a post-office. A few countries will allow you to pay at the bank.
- Collect all your documents, pass the medical exam, get your tourist visa photo sorted.
- Fill in and submit an online application or head to your nearest Embassy to apply in person. Whichever option you choose, you will need to be present at the consulate for your interview appointment.
- Receive your confirmation number. Keep it safe to be able to check the status of your claim and book the date for your interview appointment.
- You will know whether your visa is approved or not right away at the Embassy during your visit. If successful, your passport is sent to you shortly via registered post or courier a few days after the appointment.
Quick Tips to Help You Fill the DS-160 Form Correctly
Besides the obvious requirement to be honest and clear with your communication, there are a few subtle things to take note of:
- Input your address American-style. Check with Google for the correct way to write it down if you don’t know
- Don’t say you’re divorced when filling the “marital status” question if the papers aren’t finalized yet. Present all information about previous marriages. Otherwise, check the “married” box
- Your attached photo has to meet certain criteria or you may be refused your visa because of it
- It’s better to present an invitation if you’re going as a guest. Ask your employer, colleague or a friend to write you a semi-formal invitation letter for you to show at the consulate
- Purpose of your stay and the type of visa have to be the same. You cannot go off studying if you told the officers you’re there for shopping and sightseeing
- As of late, the Embassy has been paying great attention to potential tourists’ social media. They will know everything, so it’s better if you include all your socials yourself
- Another tip about social media: try not to follow many immigration blogs, employers and such. It may give a hint to the immigration officers that you’re not really going for leisure
Tourist Visa Photo Specifications
Your visa photo has to meet the official requirements. It has to be 2x2 inches or 600-1200 pixels, in high-quality with no visible defects. No glasses or headscarves allowed, only for prescription reasons and religious purposes. The photo must be taken against a white background, the applicant needs to have a neutral face, eyes facing the camera.
Considering we still live in the pandemic, precautions must be taken against the virus before you travel. Learn more at the official Department of State website.