Who needs a US Visa and why
All foreigners entering the United States, except citizens of Bermuda, Canada, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau, need a visa to enter. This requirement does not exist for 32 countries, (see list below), but even these nationals must register online or complete a form at the border / airport before entering the US. Even citizens of Canada, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau and Bermuda may require a visa if they are travelling to the US for certain activities.
The process of obtaining a United States Visa:
Please note that this process takes anywhere between 2 to 6 weeks, involves preparing your application, collecting all supporting documentation, obtaining an interview date with the nearest US diplomatic mission and attending that interview.
Eligibility for a US Visa
Am I eligible for a visa to visit the US?
Anyone who is not a US citizen or US permanent resident is eligible to apply for a US Visa. However, the US has grounds for inadmissibility covering a few broad areas that could prevent you from getting your US visa:
- Criminal activity
- Health concerns
- Immigration violations
- Political affiliations
You are eligible for a US visa provided you do not have a criminal record, you do not have a health condition that makes you inadmissible, you have not previously attempted to enter the US as an immigrant and been denied, and if you have never been a member of – or associated with – a totalitarian political party or terrorist organization, then you can apply for a US Visa and expect to be granted an interview.
Can I get my US visa appointment urgently?
Yes, contact us for details at 416-962-2623 / 866-760-2623
Do I have to attend the US visa interview?
If you require a visa to enter the US – and most people do – you are required to attend an interview before your visa is issued. This is official policy and cannot be avoided if you wish to travel to the US.
How do I know if I need a visa to the US or not?
Most nationals from the following countries do not need a visa to visit the US:
Andorra Hungary Portugal Australia Iceland San Marino Austria Japan Singapore Belgium Latvia Slovakia Brunei Liechtenstein Slovenia Czech Republic Lithuania South Korea Denmark Luxembourg Spain Estonia Malta Sweden Finland Monaco Switzerland France The Netherlands United Kingdom Germany New Zealand Greece Norway
If you are not a national of one of these countries, you must apply for a visa and attend a US visa interview. If you are a national of one of these countries, you would normally apply for permission to travel to the United States online before traveling. You can also apply at the airport or the border, but it is recommended that you apply online. Airlines will likely not let you board direct flights to the US if you do not have proof of your online registration. If your online application is denied, you will need to apply for a regular visa.
How long does it take to get a US visa?
It depends when interviews are available. Some diplomatic missions are busier than others but it usually takes about 4-6 weeks between the application and your appointment. Once you have attended the interview, and you have been approved, it usually takes 5-10 business days for the passport with the US visa in it to be delivered to you.
How long is my US visa good for?
Visas are issued on a case by case basis. Most tourist visas are issued for up to 10 years, depending on the reasons for the visa. Please see this chart to see how long your visa might be good for. Please note that most visa-holders are limited to visits of 3-6 months at a time, even though the visa itself is valid for up to 10 years.
I have been denied a US visa. What do I do?
If you were denied a visa at the interview, you should have been informed, in writing, of what section of the Immigration Act you were denied under.
If you were denied because of insufficient ties of Canada, you will have to reapply with proof of your ties to Canada:
- Family ties
If you were rejected on grounds that you were inadmissible according to the Immigration Act, you may not be able to enter the US. If rejected, you will be informed in writing. If you think that you should be allowed entry despite these grounds of inadmissibility, you will have to complete a US Entry Waiver for non-immigrants and book a new visa appointment. At this next interview, you can make your case for the US to waive your grounds of inadmissibility. The Waiver is a complicated application. If you would like professional assistance, please contact us for a consultation.