Why do I need a visa?Anyone who is not a citizen of Bermuda, Canada, the Marshall Islands, Palau or Micronesia needs a visa to enter the United States. Citizens of certain countries do not have to get a visa but must still register online before traveling to the US (or complete a form and pay a fee when crossing the border on land). Even citizens of Bermuda and Canada need visas to enter the US in certain cases.
Who is eligible to apply for a US Visa?Anyone who is not an American citizen or Permanent Resident is eligible to apply for a visa. However, your visa application may not be granted for a number of reasons.
- Insufficient ties to your country of origin: US immigration law assumes you are trying to immigrate to the US unless you can prove otherwise. If you cannot demonstrate that you have sufficient ties to your home country or the country where
- you are residing (residence, employment, family, bank accounts, etc), your application will be denied
- Criminal activity: If you have a criminal record, you may not be able to get a visa. Please see grounds for criminal inadmissibility.
- Medical Conditions: You may not be able to get a visa if you have certain medical conditions the US has deemed dangerous to public health. Please see medical inadmissibility.
- Immigration violations: If you have previously attempted to enter the US and been denied, or you have been removed, or you have been banned from entering, you are likely unable to apply for a visa. Please see inadmissibility because of immigration violations.
- Political affiliation: If you have been a member of or associated with a totalitarian political party or a terrorist organization, you will likely be denied a visa. Please see our section on inadmissibility on political grounds.
- Under any of these circumstances, you will need an Entry Waiver to enter the US. Contact us for more information.
What is the application process for a US Visa?
In Canada, you cannot apply in person; you must submit your visa application online. You can also apply with a representative, such as Immigroup. You must complete the D-160 application form to the best of your knowledge. If you make a mistake on the form, you will likely not be granted an interview and will have to apply again. After you have completed the form and paid the fee of USD$160 (for a standard tourist visa) you will need to pick your visa appointment at the US diplomatic mission nearest you. The appointment will usually be about 4-6 weeks after you apply.
You must attend the interview at the appointed time and you must follow the rules for entering the US diplomatic mission and attending the interview. You must bring your online DS-160 confirmation document (that displays a 10-digit bar-code) to prove you have completed the form and paid the fee. If you do not follow these rules, you will have one year to re-book your interview, which you must do by directly contacting the diplomatic mission.
If you are approved for a visa the average delivery time to receive your passport is 4-10 business days, by courier.
Where do I get the US Visa application forms?All non-immigrant visa applications must be filled out online using the DS-160 online form. If you need help filling out the form you can use our services.
How do I fill out the online application form?To fill out a DS-160 application form, you need to provide:
- the reason you're applying
- your personal information
- information on your status in your country of residence
- your passport information
- your intended travel information to the US
- your previous trips to the US
- your previous US visa info
- your US contact’s information
- your family information
- your spousal information (where applicable)
- your current work or education information
- your employment history for the last 5 years
- your health conditions
- information on your previous criminal offences, inadmissibility, and violations of customs or immigration laws
- information on potential security risks
- Additional miscellaneous information
To complete the form with our help, click here.
How do I submit my photos?You have two options. The first is to upload a passport-type digital photograph of you when the online DS-160 non-immigrant visa application is completed. If you have difficulty uploading a picture the second option is to take 2-passport sized photos on the day of the interview. Please note the photos used need to have been taken within the last 6 months and meet the photo requirements. Please check out the US government's photo tool to make sure your photos are acceptable.
What are the documents required when applying for a visa?You must complete the DS-160 online or have a representative do it for you. In order to do this, you should have your passport handy and the information required to complete the form (see above). You must bring the following with you to the diplomatic mission where your appointment is scheduled:
- Your DS-160 bar-code receipt page as proof you have completed the online visa application form
- Your passport
- Your appointment confirmation letter
- Proof of payment of government fee
- Any accompanying dependents (who must have their own DS-160 receipts) must also bring their passports
- You must provide proof of your ties to Canada
How do I submit my visa application?
If you would like to use Immigroup, you can call us and we will submit if for you, you can use our online form, you can print off the form and mail it to us, or, if you live in Toronto, you can come to our office and have it done for you.
If you would like to submit your application directly to the US government you can apply here.
What is the processing fee for an application?
- The processing fee for a non-immigrant US Visa appointment and the visa itself is USD$160 (for a regular tourist visa).
- The fee is non-refundable. If you apply for a non-immigrant-petition-based US Visa appointment the fee is USD$190.
- If you are using a representative such as Immigroup, the fee will be higher. See our fees.
What are the payment methods available for the application processing fee??
- If you are applying through Immigroup, you may make payment using one of the following methods:
- Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX)
- Cash (in person only)
- Certified Cheque or Money Order payable to Immigroup Inc
- Email money transfer from bank account
- Direct wire transfer from bank account
- Bank transfer via Scotiabank
- If you're applying online directly through the government, you can pay by credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Amex) or cash payment at a Scotiabank.
- If you are applying through Immigroup, you may make payment using one of the following methods:
How long does it take to get a visa??It takes around 4-6 weeks to get an interview. After the interview, provided you have been approved, it will take on average 4-10 business days to receive your visa by courier.
Why is it necessary to have an interview to get a US Visa??After 9/11 the US government introduced various policies in an attempt to strengthen its borders and protect America from further terrorist attacks. The introduction of US visa appointments was one of those policies. US visa interviews allow the interviewing officer to extract more information from non-immigrant applicants to decide if they are eligible for a US visa.
What happens at the interview??You will be asked questions regarding your purposes for visiting the US. Examples of questions you may be asked at the interview include:
- Why do you want to travel to the US?
- Have you been before?
- How long will you spend in the US?
- Do you have relatives in the States?
- Who will pay for the trip?
- Are you planning on visiting any other countries?
- What do you for a living?
- Where are you going to be staying?
These are just a few of the questions that may be asked. Depending on your type of visa, many other questions may be asked of you. You should answer all questions truthfully and you should make sure that your answers to these questions correspond to the answers you submitted on your DS-160 application form.
If you are denied a visa at this interview, you should be informed of the reasons in writing.
How can I find a toll free number for US visa appointment??There is no toll free number for US visa appointments. You can make an appointment by telephone, but the telephone service is operated by the Visa Information Services Centre, a private Toronto-based contractor that handles the Consulate Generals' appointment system. As this is a private business you must call a user-pays phone service that costs $1.89 a minute. You will be charged as soon as your phone is connected to the call centre.
Can I bring my child with me on my visa??No, a child must have their own visa. They are required to submit an online DS-160 application and attend an interview. You will be allowed to attend the interview date together.
How long does a visa last??Tourist visas are usually granted for a minimum of three months. Certain types of visas can be granted for up to 10 years. Please see our list of average visa lengths by country.
Can my entire family apply at the same time??Yes. You must submit an online DS-160 application for each family member who require the US Visa. Immediate family members who require a visa can schedule an interview date together
How long do I have to live in Canada before I apply for a US visa??You can apply for a visa to the United States at anytime. However, for Canadian permanent and temporary residents, who must demonstrate sufficient ties to Canada to obtain a visa, we highly recommend that you live in Canada for at least 3-6 months before you attempt to travel to the US. Live-in caregivers need to be in Canada for a minimum 1 year before applying for a US Visa, and it is recommended they have been with their current employer for a minimum 6 months.
Now that I have my visa, what can I bring to the US??
You cannot bring agricultural products into the United States. If you attempt to do so, they may be thrown out, or you may have to pay a fine, or you could even be refused entry.
If you are on a regular visa, you cannot bring more than a maximum amount of goods into the country that you intend to give away or sell.