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.
Cost of our US Visa Service
For Urgent Service please call us at 416-962-2623 / 866-760-2623
Use Immigroup vs. Do It on Your Own
What are some benefits of using IMMIgroup as your representative?
Filing an application FAQs
Why do I need a visa to the US?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.
How do I fill out the online US visa 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
How do I submit my US Visa 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.
What are the documents required when applying for a US 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 US visa application?
What is the processing fee for a US Visa 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 US visa 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 US 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 US Visa 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 US 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 US 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 for a US visa 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.
I am in big trouble - HELP! FAQs
I am having problems accessing the DS-160.We recommend that you use Firefox or Internet Explorer browsers to access the DS-160.
Do I have to answer all questions on the DS-160?You need to complete the mandatory questions in the spaces provided. Some of the questions are marked ‘optional’ and you may answer a question with ‘does not apply’ or ‘to be confirmed’, however, all other questions must be answered. You will not be able to submit an application without answering any mandatory questions.
I have an error message on my DS-160, what should I do?If you have an error message then you have likely not answered all the mandatory questions. If you do not answer questions that apply to your purpose of travel, the system will not accept your application. The system will show you a red mark on the questions that you have not answered.
What if I lose the connection or it ‘times out’during my US visa application?The information is automatically saved when each page is completed, so the details will not be lost. It is important to make a note of the application ID number (located on the top right hand corner of the page). If you need to retrieve the application enter this ID number and answer the security question. You will then be taken to the last page you completed.
Should I bring my entire US visa application with me to the interview?No, you do not have to do so. For your interview, it is important you bring your confirmation page with your application ID number (a 10-digit bar-code). Without this you will be denied entry into the Embassy/ Consulate when you go for the interview.
Are there any visa categories where the DS-160 is not required?Yes. If you are applying for a K1, K2, K3, or K4 visa you should complete the DS-156, not the DS-160.
Why can't I use the DS-158 or DS-157 visa form?The DS-157 and DS-158 are old paper versions of the US non-immigrant visa application. As of April 2010 applicants applying for a US visa from Canada do not need to fill out these forms. Instead you must fill out the online DS-160 application form.
At the interview, I was denied a visa.For permanent and temporary residents of Canada, the most common reason most people are denied a visa is because of a failure to prove sufficient ties to Canada. You should be provided with a denial in writing.
- If the letter contains the code “221(g)” this normally means that you have not proven sufficient ties to Canada.
- The letter will normally contain a list of things you can use to prove ties to Canada and how to submit those to the Embassy or Consulate. If this is the case, you shouldn’t have to pay an additional fee. You must submit the documents within one year or you will have to begin the process again.
- Sometimes a letter with this code means that additional processing is required. Different instructions will appear. There is no year-limit to follow up until you are contacted. You will be contacted when you are:
- Granted a visa
- Asked to prove sufficient ties to Canada
- Refused a visa with a letter marked with code “214(b)” (see below)
- If the letter contains the code “214(b)”, you have been deemed inadmissible to enter the United States. You will have to complete a US Entry Waiver, gather documents to support the waiving of your grounds of inadmissibility, and reapply for a US Visa where you will present your case at the visa interview. You will have to pay the fee again and book a new appointment.
- If the letter contains the code “221(g)” this normally means that you have not proven sufficient ties to Canada.
I have been accused of overstaying my last visa. What should I do?You will have to prove to the US government that you didn’t overstay your last visa. You can do this through DHS TRIP or you can gather the relevant documents and submit them to the CBP office in London, Kentucky:
DHS - CBP SBU
1084 South Laurel Road
London, KY 40744
You should include the following in your submission:
- Your I-94 Arrival-Departure Record if you still have it
- Boarding passes (originals, not copies) proving you flew out of a different country than the US
- Copies of the pages of your passport including your ID page and all stamps in your passport
- Copies of additional proof including
- If applicable, pay slips or vouchers from your employer, with dates, to show you worked in another country after you left the United States and when
- Bank records, with dates, to show financial transactions made after your departure
- If applicable, school records showing attendance at a school located outside the US and after your departure
- Credit card receipts, with dates, to show financial transactions made after your departure
- An explanation letter in English
- You should keep a copy of this package for your records and bring it with you when you apply for your next visa and also when travel to the US, in order to avoid any confusion.
I was denied entry at the border, even though I have a visa.
A visa is not official permission to enter the US, but rather an indication to US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) that your application and background were reviewed prior to traveling to the US. Your entry is still at the discretion of US CBP. You may still be able to enter the US on this visa depending on why you were denied entry.
If your visa was cancelled, you cannot enter and will have to reapply.
If you were asked to sign something and given a copy, this form should explain why you were denied entry.
- If you were denied entry because of insufficient ties to your home country, you will have to bring proof when you attempt to next enter the US.
- If you were deemed inadmissible, your visa should have been cancelled and you will have to apply for a US Entry Waiver to attempt to enter the US.
If you were only verbally told why you could not enter and it sounds like you were deemed inadmissible, you may have to appeal using DHS TRIP, or by filing a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act request) to determine the reason you were inadmissible.
My visa was cancelled.Your visa may have been canceled because you violated the conditions of your stay, because CBP believe you violated the conditions of your stay (see above), or because you were subsequently deemed inadmissible by US CBP after you were issued a visa.
If you were convicted of
- a crime of moral turpitude
- two or more crimes with sentences totaling 5 years or more
- crimes relation to prostitution or human trafficking
- drug offenses greater than possession of 30 grams of marijuana or less
Infection with diseases such as tuberculosis, infectious leprosy, and certain STDs such as chancroid, gonorrrhea, donovanosis, Durand-Nicolas-Favre disease and syphilis are all considered grounds for barring entry. Other communicable diseases may be included from time to time by the US Department of Health (you should always check before you travel). You may also be denied entry for refusing vaccinations or for physical or mental disorders which have resulted in harmful behaviour.
All other medical conditions should not affect your chances of getting a visa.
There are a number of different kinds of immigration violations. These are considered very serious and may require a US Entry Waiver to obtain a visa in the future. In some cases even this is not possible.
- Entry refused
If you were refused entry by CBP, they will sometimes indicate how long you have been banned in your passport or on you visa. Whether or not you need a waiver depends on why you were refused entry.
- Entry Without Inspection (EWI): someone who has entered the United States without being properly admitted at a port of entry, regardless of whether they have been in the US before.
- If your unlawful presence in the United States was more than 180 days but less than a year, and you left the United States voluntarily, then you are inadmissible for three years. If you left the US voluntarily after unlawful presence of more than a year, then you are inadmissible for ten years (3 year / 10 year bar). In both cases, you are eligible for a waiver after the bar is up provided you have not committed other immigration violations. Returning to the US through EWI after leaving the US voluntarily, for example, may result in the waiver being denied. Attempting to re-enter the US after being deported also makes one ineligible for an entry waiver. Anyone who falsely claims US citizenship for the purpose of obtaining benefits of US citizenship is ineligible for a US Entry Waiver.
- Overstaying a visa (see above)
- Attempting to re-enter after having been deported or given expedited removal
You are not allowed to re-enter the United States
- Entry refused
I was denied a visa. Can I get my money back?No. The fee you paid is non-refundable.
Can I reapply for a visa?You may reapply in the future. If you reapply, with the exception of any 221(g) refusals, you must submit a new visa application and pay the visa application fee again. If you were refused under section 214(b), you should be able to present evidence of significant changes in circumstances since your last application.
My visa hasn’t come in the mail and it has been over 10 business days.If your visa application was approved, you should contact the diplomatic mission where you went for your interview.
I did not tell the truth on my application. What should I do?You should withdraw your application. If you have already paid the fee, you will lose this money and will have to pay again. You should make sure when you apply next time that you are truthful.
If I become a Canadian citizen, will my US entry problems stop?Your issues with entering the US are likely tied to your current passport. As a Canadian citizen, you will not require a visa – though being a Canadian citizen alone does not automatically make you admissible – and should be able to travel to the US without incident, provided you are admissible and that you are not on a no-fly list.
Using Immigroup FAQs
I am traveling and need my visa. How soon can you get it?
You can get urgent US visa appointments only on an emergency basis, for example because of a death in the family or a family medical emergency. With appropriate proof of urgency, we may be able to get an appointment for you in as little as three days.
Even in normal circumstances, Immigroup always strives to get you soonest available appointment.
Why should I hire Immigroup when I can do the application on my own?You can definitely do any application on your own without hiring a company to help you. However, when you use Immigroup, you gain these advantages over people who do it themselves:
- You can be completely sure that the best possible application was submitted. This means that there will be no mistakes, errors, or omissions which could cause delays or refusals of an application.
- This also means that Immigroup will offer you the most ethical and sound advice regarding your application. We will tell you if something in your application works against you or could cause problems in the future.
- Immigroup has years of experience which can be leveraged in your favor to know what works and what doesn’t in an application.
- Using Immigroup will also save you time because you don’t have to fight with the government to submit an application or follow up on it. You can simply call or email any time you want to know the status of your application.
- Immigroup offers 20% off our service fee for every additional application.
- Immigroup offers 20% off our service fee for returning clients.
Can you give me free support or where can I get free support?We are committed to helping everyone with their immigration needs. This is why www.immigroup.com offers free tools and information to answer all types of immigration questions. We have also accumulated a database of free government and non-for-profit agency information which can be searched here and start searching. Immigroup does charge a fee for all services, but we are always looking for feedback on how we can further help our community. Our email address is [email protected].
I have one important question, but I don’t need the full service. What can I do?You can easily search our database of FAQs. However, if you still can’t find the answer to your question, email us (link) your question and you will receive a response within 2 business days. Depending on the complexity of your question, you may be advised to schedule a consultation with one of our immigration practitioners to ensure that you receive the best advice. The cost for a consultation is $84.75 (tax included) which is up to 30 minutes; however, if you retain Immigroup for a full service after the consultation, this fee well be deducted from the cost of the service. . . Consultations are available in person at our Toronto office or by phone. (Other options are available for hearing-impaired persons). Call us at 1-866-760-2623 or email at [email protected] to schedule your consultation. Click here for more information.
I called your office and did not get the answer I needed. What can I do?
How to check my application statusIf you don’t hear back from us after 2 business days, please call our office or contact us by email at [email protected]. We can give you a status update over the phone or via email. Once your interview is booked, all you need to do is go to the Embassy or Consulate with your documentation.
I used you before, any discounts?Yes we give you a 25% discount.
I am going to do two applications with you, any discounts?Yes, any additional family member US visa applications filed at the same time will each cost only $56.50 plus government fees.
I need your help, but I can’t afford the fees? Can you help?We do our best to keep things affordable, but if you have not used us before you are not eligible for the discount. You can still ask and see if something can be worked out.
Can I pay you a deposit?Yes, and the final payment will need to be made before filing the application. Please speak to an agent and work out the deposit amount.
Do I pay you when I get my visa?We take full payment before we send out your application.
Do you work weekends or evenings?At the moment we don’t work weekends but that may change in the future. For evening appointments please call and find out if someone at our Toronto office can help you. Work with our staff and in most cases we can arrange someone to wait for you (usually no later than 6pm).
How accurate is your website?We do our best to update or fix anything out of date. But just because it’s in black and white - no matter where you read it - you should always double check the information. You can find a feedback box on most pages of this website; we work hard to making sure this site stays current and factual.
I had something happen to me that is not posted on this webpageWe would really love to hear from you about what happened. By sending us your experience you are helping others in the future. We post all information that will be valued by future visitors.
I can’t find an answer to my questionOn the bottom of this webpage you will find a box. Simply send us the question and if we feel it a good question we will send you the answer. Also we will post your question with the answer so future visitors can get the support.
Basic info FAQ’s
What is a US visa?A US visa is proof that your trip to the US has been pre-approved. It is not permission to enter the United States. US CBP agents at the port of entry have final say over whether or not you are allowed to enter the US. All foreigners, except US permanent residents, Bermudans, Canadians and some Pacific Islanders need a US visa. Citizens of certain countries need to register online to get pre-approved without the visa interview (if a you are a citizen of one of these countries and you are not flying to the US, you can also complete a paper version on arrival). Some Bermudans, Canadians, Micronesians, Palauans and citizens of the Marshall Islands and Cayman Islands traveling to the US may also require a visa.
By default, all non-Americans need visas to enter the US. This requirement is waived for Canadians and citizens of Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau. Also, if you are a citizen of one of the following countries, you do not need a visa - though you do need advance permission - provided you are admissible to the US:
If you are not a citizen of one of the above countries, and you are not a Bermudan, Canadian, a Micronesian, a Palauan, or a citizen of the Marshall Islands or the Cayman Islands, you need a visa to travel to the US for any purpose.
There are two types of visas, immigrant and non-immigrant (visitor). Here are the different kinds of non-immigrant (visitor) visas available:
A-1 Foreign dignitary, and immediate family A-2 Other foreign government official or employee, and immediate family A-3 Attendant, servant, or personal employee of a foreign dignitary or other government official, and immediate family B-1 Business B-2 Tourism C-1 Transit C-2 Transit to the UN Headquarters C-3 Foreign dignitary, employee of a foreign dignitary or immediate family transit CP Continued Presence (for law enforcement) D Crewmember (sea or air) E-1 Treaty trader, spouse and children E-2 reaty trader, spouse and childreTnTreaty investor, spouse and children E-3 Treaty traders and investors: Australian Free Trade Agreement F-1 Student F-2 Student’s Spouse or child F-3 Border commuting student G-1 Foreign dignitary leading mission to an international organization G-2 Other members of the foreign mission to an international organization G-3 Foreign dignitary leading mission, or members of that mission, to an international organization, where the country is not a member (or not recognized as a country) G-4 International organization officer or employee, and immediate family G-5 Attendant, servant, or personal employee of G-visa holders, and immediate family GB Business visa for Guam GT Tourist visa for Guam H-1B Temporary worker visa H-1C Nurse visa H-2A Temporary worker performing agricultural services H-3 Industrial Temporary workers and trainees H-4 H-visa holder’s spouses and children I Media, spouses and children J-1 Educational exchange J-2 Exchange visitor’s spouse or child K-1 Fiancée of U.S. citizen K-2 Child of fiancée of U.S. citizen K-3 Spouse of U.S. citizen awaiting availability of immigrant visa K-4 Child of spouse of US citizen awaiting availability of immigrant visa L-1 Intra-company transferee L-2 Intra-company transferee’s spouse or child M-1 Vocational student or other non-academic student M-2 Vocational student’s spouse or child M-3 Border commuting student (vocational or non-academic) N-8 Parent visiting SK-3 special immigrant N-9 Child of Parent visiting SK-3 special immigrant or of SK-1, SK-2 or SK-4 special immigrant NATO-1 Principal permanent representative of member state to NATO (including any of its subsidiary bodies) resident in the U.S. and resident members of official staff; Secretary General, Assistant Secretaries General, and Executive Secretary of NATO; other permanent NATO officials of similar rank, and members of immediate family NATO-2 Other representatives of member states to NATO (including any of its subsidiary bodies) including representatives, advisers, and technical experts of delegations, and members of immediate family; dependents of members of a force entering in accordance with the provisions of the NATO Status-of-Forces Agreement or in accordance with provisions of the "Protocol on the Status of International Military Headquarters"; members of such a force if issued visas NATO-3 Official clerical staff accompanying a representative of member state to NATO (including any of its subsidiary bodies), and members of immediate family NATO-4 Officials of NATO (other than those classifiable as NATO-1), and members of immediate family NATO-5 Experts, other than officials classifiable as NATO-4, employed in missions on behalf of NATO, and their dependents NATO-6 Members of a civilian component accompanying a force entering in accordance with the provisions of the NATO Status-of-Forces Agreement; members of a civilian component attached to or employed by an Allied Headquarters under the "Protocol on the Status of International Military Headquarters" set up pursuant to the North Atlantic Treaty; and their dependents NATO-7 Attendant, servant, or personal employee of NATO-visa holder, and immediate family O-1 Extraordinary ability visa O-2 Extraordinary ability visa holder’s assistant O-3 Extraordinary ability visa holder’s immediate family P-1 Internationally recognized athlete or member of an internationally recognized entertainment group P-2 Artistic or entertainment exchange P-3 Artist or entertainer in a culturally unique program P-4 P-visa holder’s immediate family Q-1 Cultural exchange Q-2 Irish Peace Process trainee Q-3 Irish Peace Process trainee’s immediate family R-1 Religious R-2 R-1’s immediate family S-5 Criminal informant S-6 Terrorism informant S-7 Informant’s immediate family SIJS Special Immigrant Juvenile Status: Refugee children TN NAFTA TD NAFTA visa holder’s spouse T-1 Human trafficking victim T-2 Spouse of human trafficking victim T-3 Child of human trafficking victim T-4 Parent of human trafficking victim U-1 Criminal victim U-2 Spouse of criminal victim U-3 Child of criminal victim U-4 Parent of criminal victim V-1 Permanent resident’s spouse awaiting immigrant visa V-2 Permanent resident’s child awaiting immigrant visa V-3 Derivative child of V-1 and V-2 WB Business visa waiver WT Tourism visa waiver
How do I know which visa I need?Most people traveling to the US for business or pleasure require the regular B1/B2 visa. If you require a different kind, please check the list above. If you are immigrating to the US, this is another matter altogether. Immigroup can refer you to an American immigration lawyer.
How do I get a visa without an interviewIt is not possible to get a visa to the US without an interview. If you need a visa, you have to attend an interview first. If you are from certain countries (see the list above) with which the US has a special agreement, you usually do not have to attend the interview or pay the full fee, provided you register online before traveling.
How can I get an earlier interview / appointment? What if I need the visa urgently?In order to get an earlier appointment, you will have to continualy check online to see if one is available at the consulate(s) closest to you. Immigroup can do this for you for an extra fee. If you need your visa urgently, you will you have to backup your request with proof of urgency at the interview.
How long does it take to get an appointment?
Location Timelines for Obtaining a US Visa Appointment US Embassy in Ottawa 2-6 weeks Calgary Consulate 5-10 weeks Halifax Consulate 2-4 weeks Montreal Consulate 10 weeks minimum Quebec City Consulate 7-14 weeks Toronto 4-8 weeks Vancouver 4-8 weeks
Conditions of your visaYou must comply with the terms of your visa. For normal (B1/B2) visa holders, this basically means participating in US VISIT, departing the US before your visa’s expiry date, and submitting your I-94 Arrival-Departure record upon your final departure from the US. You must also refrain from working, conducting business or studying if you are travelling as a tourist.
You are eligible to re-enter the US on your visa only if you have travelled to Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent islands for less than 30 days. If you travel to these areas from the US, you will have to keep your I-94 with you and you will be allowed back into the United States (if you are traveling home from the US), provided your visa is still valid.
What is US VISIT?US VISIT is a program created to monitor visitors to the US. Please see our page explaining US VISIT here.
Do I need an exit visa?You do not need an exit visa to leave the US, however you do need to relinquish your I-94 Arrival-Departure record or you will be denied entry next time you attempt to visit, for overstaying your visa.
What happens if I do not relinquish my I-94?You will have to mail it to CBP with proof of your departure from the US.
Inadmissibility because of Criminal Grounds
Moral TurpitudeMoral turpitude is a concept in US law that is part of the classification of certain criminal offences. It is tied to the nature of the crime committed, rather than the specific acts of a particular case. Moral turpitude is thought to exist in specific types of crimes (provided a conviction has been reached) regardless of testimony or evidence provided at the trial. Therefore providing evidence from a criminal proceeding is not accepted as proof that the criminal act(s) did not involve moral turpitude.
- There are three types of criminal offences which involve moral turpitude for immigration purposes under US law: crimes against property, crimes against government authority and crimes against persons. This list is not exclusive.
- Crimes against property considered crimes of moral turpitude include:
- any form of fraud including intent to defraud
- arson and malicious destruction of property
- blackmail, embezzlement, extortion and forgery
- burglary, larceny, robbery, theft, and receiving or transporting stolen goods with fore knowledge
- Crimes against government authority considered crimes of moral turpitude include:
- bribery, perjury and harbouring a fugitive with knowledge
- fraud committed against the government and tax evasion
- Crimes against persons considered crimes of moral turpitude include:
- wilful abandonment of a minor or contributing to the delinquency of a minor, kidnapping
- adultery, bigamy, gross indecency, lewdness
- certain types of assault: with intent to kill, with intent to rape, with intent to rob, with intent to commit serious bodily harm, with a deadly/dangerous weapon, mayhem (permanently disabling someone)
- incest involving statutory rape, rape and statutory rape
- pandering/procuring and prostitution
So-called political offences crimes are not considered a basis for inadmissibility.
Drug offencesIf you have been convicted of anything more serious than possession of 30 grams of marijuana, then you are inadmissible to the US.
Human Trafficking and ProstitutionAnyone convicted of human trafficking (for illegal immigration or prostitution purposes) or prostitution is normally inadmissible. However, the US has special visas for the victims of human trafficking and prostitution. The onus is on the applicant to prove that the participation in these crimes was out of fear for personal safety.
Immunity from ProsecutionAnyone who was not convicted of one of the above crimes because they sought immunity from prosecution is still inadmissible the United Sates.
Tax EvasionAnyone who is being sought by the IRS for tax evasion is inadmissible to the US.
Multiple minor criminal offencesIf you have been convicted of crimes that do not fall into the above categories, but your total sentences add up to more than 5 years, you are inadmissible to the US.
If you fall into one of the above categories, you may be eligible to apply for a US Entry Waiver.
- Certain diseases and conditions make you inadmissible. Here is a list of diseases that are always grounds for inadmissibility:
- Infectious leprosy
- Durand-Nicolas-Favre disease
Certain medical conditions that pose a threat to public safety may also make you inadmissible.
These grounds may be waived if you are traveling to the US for medical treatment. Please see how to get a US Entry Waiver.
Immigration violationsThis is a particular class of criminal (and non-criminal) inadmissibility which is taken especially seriously. If you have been refused entry because you have been accused of overstaying a visa or because of some kind of misunderstanding at the border, this may be addressable through appeal, reapplying for a visa, and / or a US Entry Waiver.
However, if you entered the US illegally (Entry Without Inspection) or if you have been forcibly removed, your case is significantly worse. 3-year-bars and 10-year-bards usually cannot be waived. If you have been deported you are not allowed to reenter. Please see our US Entry Waivers page for more details.
The United States deems some organizations to pose risks to their national security. Membership of or association with totalitarian political parties (for example, the Nazis) or terrorist organizations is considered grounds for inadmissibility. Normally these grounds cannot be waived.
As of January, 2012, there were about 50 organizations classified as “terrorist”. They include
Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM / Army of Mohammed) Al-Qaida Maghreb (GSPC) Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) Jemaah Islamiya (JI) Real IRA (RIRA) Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMS) Jemmah Anshorut Tauid (JAT) Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Al-Shabaab Kahane Chai (Kach) Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N) Ansar al-Islam (AAI) Kata’ib Hizballah (KH) Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party / Front (DHKP / DHKC) Asbat al-Ansar (AAI) Kongra-Gel (KGK / Kurdistan Worker’s Party / PKK / KADEK) (KH) Revolutionary Struggle (RS) Aum Shinrikyo (AUM) Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LT / Army of the Righteous) Shining Path (SL) Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) Lashkar i Jhangvi (LJ) United Self-Defence Forces Colombia (AUC) Communist Party of the Philippines / New People’s Army (CPP / NPA) Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI) Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Gama’a al-Islamiyya Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM) Jundallah HAMAS Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) Army of Islam (AOI) Harakat ul-Jihad—i-Islami - Bangladesh (HUJ-B) National Liberation Army (ELN) Indian Mujahideen (IM) Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM) Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) Hizballah (Party of God) Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) PFLP General Command (PFLP – GC) Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) al-Qaida
Security GroundsCBP or the State Department can decide you are a security risk at their discretion (usually for membership of or association with one of the above groups, or because of participation in terrorist or espionage activities directed against the US or its allies). These grounds are rarely waived.
When do Canadians and Bermudans require a visa?Bermudans, Canadians, Micronesians, Palauans, citizens of the Marshall Islands and Cayman Islands require visas if they are traveling to the US for any purposes other than brief travel or business. If your activities do not fall into one of these two basic categories, please see the list of non-immigrant visa types above to find your appropriate visa. You can apply for it the same way as a citizen of another country would: by making an appointment.
What are the adjacent islands?You can visit any of these islands for less than 30 days and return to the US without violating the terms of your US visa. Please note that many people require a visa to visit these islands.
Anguilla Dominica St. Christopher Antigua and Barbuda Dominican Republic St. Eustatius Aruba Grenada St. Kitts-Nevis Bahamas Guadeloupe St. Lucia Bonaire Haiti Sint Maarten / Saint Martin British Virgin Islands Jamaica St. Pierre Cayman Islands Marie-Galante St. Vincent / Grenadines Cuba
Cuba is not always considered an “adjacent island”. Re-entry is at the discretion of US CBP.
Miquelon Turks / Caicos Islan Curacao Montserrat Saba St. Barthelemy (St. Barts)
Isn’t there a special exemption for Mexican citizens?Currently, the special status granted to Canadians and some islanders is not granted to Mexicans. However, Mexican citizens can apply for a Border Crossing Card, which is basically an extended visa, and can be valid for up to 10 years.
How long is my tourist / business visa good for?Though your visa will normally limit you to visits up to 6 months at a time, a multiple entry visa can be valid up to 10 years. Please see below to determine the maximum validity of your visa. Please note that visa validity length is entirely at the discretion of the US Government. The chart below only reflects maximum validity times of multiple entry visas.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z
If you are a citizen of The maximum validity of your multiple-entry B1 / B2 (tourist or business) visa is: Afghanistan 3 months Albania 12 months (1 year) Algeria 24 months (2 years) Andorra^ 120 months (10 years) Angola 24 months (2 years) Anguilla 120 months (10 years) Antigua and Barbuda 120 months (10 years) Argentina 120 months (10 years) Armenia 12 months (1 year) Aruba 120 months (10 years) Ascension Island 120 months (10 years) Australia^ 12 months (1 year) Austria^ 120 months (10 years) Azerbaijan 12 months (1 year) Bahamas 120 months (10 years) Bahrain 120 months (10 years) Bangladesh 60 months (5 years) Barbados 120 months (10 years) Belarus 12 months (1 year) Belgium^ 120 months (10 years) Belize 120 months (10 years) Benin 36 months (3 years) Bermuda 120 months Bhutan 3 months Bolivia 120 months (10 years) Bosnia and Herzegovina 120 months (10 years) Botswana 120 months (10 years) Brazil 120 months (10 years) Brunei^ 120 months (10 years) Bulgaria 120 months (10 years) Burkina Faso 120 months (10 years) Burma (Myanmar) 60 months (5 years) Burundi 3 months Cambodia 12 months (1 year) Cameroon 3 months Canada 12 months (1 year) Cape Verde 60 months (5 years) Cayman Islands 120 months (10 years) Central African Republic 12 months (1 year) Chad 3 months Chile 120 months (10 years) China 12 months (1 year) Colombia 120 months (10 years) Comoros 45 days (1.5 months) Congo, Democratic Republic of the 1 month Congo, Republic of the 6 months Costa Rica 120 months (10 years) Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) 12 months (1 year) Croatia 120 months (10 years) Cuba 6 months Curacao 120 months (10 years) Cyprus 120 months (10 years) Czech Republic^ 120 months (10 years) Denmark^ 120 months (10 years) Djibouti 12 months (1 year) Dominica 120 months (10 years) Dominican Republic 120 months (10 years) Ecuador 60 months (5 years) Egypt 60 months (5 years) El Salvador 120 months (10 years) Equatorial Guinea 24 months (2 years) Eritrea 12 months (1 year) Estonia^ 120 months (10 years) Ethiopia 24 months (2 years) Fiji 120 months (10 years) Finland^ 120 months (10 years) France^ 120 months (10 years) Gabon 60 months (5 yearss) Gambia, the 60 months (5 yearss) Gaza Strip 36 months (3 years) Georgia 120 months (10 years) Germany^ 120 months (10 years) Ghana 60 months (5 years) Gibraltar 120 months (10 years) Greece^ 120 months (10 years) Grenada 120 months (10 years) Guatemala 120 months (10 years) Guinea 36 months (3 years) Guinea-Bissau 60 months (5 years) Guyana 120 months (10 years) Haiti 60 months (5 years) Holy See (Vatican City) 60 months (5 years) Honduras 120 months (10 years) Hong Kong 120 months (1 years) Hungary^ 120 months (10 years) Iceland^ 120 months (10 years) India 120 months (10 years) Indonesia 60 months (5 years) Iran 3 months Iraq 12 months (1 year) Ireland^ 120 months (10 years) Israel 120 months (10 years) Italy^ 120 months (10 years) Jamaica 120 months (10 years) Japan^ 120 months (10 years) Jordan 60 months (5 years) Kazakhstan 12 months (1 year) Kenya 12 months (1 year) Kiribati 48 months (2 years) North Korea 3 months South Korea^ 120 months (10 years) Kosovo 36 months (3 years) Kuwait 120 months (10 years) Kyrgyzstan 12 months (1 year) Laos 3 months Latvia^ 120 months (10 years) Lebanon 60 months (5 years) Lesotho 120 months (10 years) Liberia 12 months (1 year) Libya 3 months Liechtenstein^ 120 months (10 years) Lithuania^ 120 months (10 years) Luxembourg^ 120 months (10 years) Macau 120 months (10 years) Macedonia 120 months (10 years) Madagascar 3 months Malawi 120 months (10 years) Malaysia 120 months (10 years) Maldives 120 months (10 years) Mali 60 months (5 years) Malta^ 120 months (10 years) Marshall Islands* 3 months Mauritania 60 months (5 years) Mauritius 120 months (10 years) Mexico 120 months (10 years) Micronesia* 3 months Moldova 120 months (10 years) Monaco^ 120 months (10 years) Mongolia 120 months (10 years) Montenegro 36 months (3 years) Montserrat 120 months (10 years) Morocco 120 months (10 years) Mozambique 12 months (1 year) Namibia 60 months (5 years) Nauru 60 months (5 years) Nepal 60 months (5 years) The Netherlands^ 120 months (10 years) New Caledonia 120 months (10 years) New Zealand^ 120 months (10 years) Nicaragua 120 months (10 years) Niger 12 months (1 year) Nigeria 24 months (2 years) Norway^ 120 months (10 years) Oman 120 months (10 years) Pakistan 60 months (10 years) Palau* 3 months Panama 120 months (10 years) Papua New Guinea 12 months (1 year) Paraguay 120 months (10 years) Peru 120 months (10 years) Philippines 120 months (10 years) Pitcairn Islands^ 3 months Poland 120 months (10 years) Portugal^ 120 months (10 years) Qatar 120 months (10 years) Romania 120 months (1 years) Russia 36 months (3 years) Rwanda 120 months (10 years) Samoa 60 months (5 years) San Marino^ 6 months Sao Tome and Principe 60 months (5 years) Saudi Arabia 120 months (10 years) Senegal 120 months (10 years) Serbia 120 months (10 years) Seychelles 120 months (10 years) Sierra Leone 36 months (3 years) Singapore^ 120 months (10 years) Sint Maarten^ 120 months (10 years) Slovakia^ 120 months (10 years) Slovenia^ 60 months (5 years) Solomon Islands 60 months (5 years) Somalia 3 months South Africa 120 months (10 years) Spain^ 120 months (10 years) Sri Lanka 60 months (5 years) St. Helena^ 60 months (5 years) St. Kitts and Nevis 120 months (10 years) St. Lucia 120 months (10 years) St. Vincent and the Grenadines 120 months (10 years) Sudan 3 months Sudan, South 3 months Suriname 60 months (5 years) Swaziland 120 months (10 years) Sweden^ 120 months (10 years) Switzerland^ 120 months (10 years) Syria 24 months (2 years) Taiwan^ 60 months (5 years) Tajikistan 12 months (1 year) Tanzania 12 months (1 year) Thailand 120 months (10 years) Timor-Leste (East Timor) 3 months Togo 36 months (3 years) Tonga 120 months (10 years) Trinidad and Tobago 120 months (10 years) Tunisia 120 months (10 years) Turkey 120 months (10 years) Turkmenistan 12 months (1 year) Turks and Caicos^ 120 months (10 years) Tuvalu 120 months (10 years) Uganda 24 months (2 years) Ukraine 60 months (5 years) United Arab Emirates 120 months (10 years) United Kingdom^ 120 months (10 years) Uruguay 120 months (10 years) Uzbekistan 12 months (1 year) Vanuatu 60 months (5 years) Venezuela 120 months (10 years) Vietnam 12 months (1 year) British Virgin Islands^ 120 months (10 years) Wallis and Futuna^ 120 months (10 years) West Bank (Palestine) 36 months (3 years) Western Sahara Not recognized by the United States Yemen 12 months (1 year) Zambia 36 months (3 years) Zimbabwe 12 months (1 year)
^ Most citizens of these countries can register online prior to traveling to the United States and do not require a visa.
What if I fail to turn up for my visa interview?You can cancel and reschedule your US visa appointment if you have a valid reason for which you can supply documentary evidence, and provided you cancel your appointment on the government site ahead of time.
If you do not cancel the appointment ahead of time, and if you cannot provide proof of why you had to cancel, you run the risk of being denied a visa when you reapply.
Are Canadian permanent residents expected to apply for a US visa before entering the US?Some permanent residents are exempt from applying for a US visa e.g. if your nationality is one of those that normally does not require a visa you should register online before traveling). All other permanent resident card holders must apply for a US visa before they travel to the United States. It is recommend you take your PR card or your landing document with you to the visa interview.
How can I see if there are available appointments?You must check the government website to see when the next appointments are available.
Can I apply at a different consulate than the one nearest me?You can apply for a visa appointment at the Embassy in Ottawa or any consulate in Canada.
Where is the US Embassy?
Where is the US Consulate in Calgary?
Where is the US Consulate in Halifax?
Where is the US Consulate in Montreal
Where is the US Consulate in Quebec City?
Where is the US Consulate in Toronto?
Where is the US Consulate in Vancouver?
Where is the US Consulate in Winnipeg?
What are the restrictions at the visa interview?You should not bring any of the following to your visa interview:
- cell phones,
- personal organizers,
- tape recorders,
- and other electronic devices.
Do I really have to show the US government my bank statements?US immigration law assumes all visitors are potential immigrants. In order to satisfy US immigration and customs, you need to prove your ties to Canada. This often involves producing bank statements, to show that you are financially secure.
How do I show that I have ties to Canada?When you attend the interview, the U.S. Consular official will also want to see proof of your ties to Canada. The following documents will help to prove ties:
- A letter from your employer. The letter should be on company letterhead. The letter should state the employer's full name and be signed by him or her. The contents of the letter should state your full name, your position or job title, the date you commenced employment, and your current salary. If the purpose of the trip to the U.S. is in connection with your place of work, the letter should mention the trip details and also that your company (in Canada) will cover all expenses for the trip. The letter should finally state the contact details of the employer in case the Visa Officer needs to contact him or her.
- Your original Permanent Resident card or your Record of Landing if you still have this document in your possession.
- Utility bills, cable bills, internet bills for the last 3 months that show your name and address.
- A property deed or lease/rental agreement showing your place of residence in Canada.
- An insurance policy showing that you are the policy holder OR the beneficiary (if you have insurance).
- Any original identity documents in your name (i.e. Original Driver's Licence, Original Health Card, etc.).
- Your automobile insurance (if you drive).
- A "Statement of Account"(s) from your bank.
- A credit card or debit card (showing your name)
- If you are flying to the U.S., your plane tickets.