When you want to apply for a visa to travel to the United States, you must go to the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country.
An embassy is the official representation of a country (the U.S. government) in another country. Its mission is to ensure the interests of its nation with the host country and to promote relations between the two states politically, economically and culturally.
The Consulate General is linked to the Embassy, but does not have the same missions. Indeed, it does not assume the role of political representative like the embassy, but of public administration. However, even if their statuses are different, they both answer the subject of our article: the visa application for a stay in the United States of America.
Let’s see what are the necessary steps to obtain the visa at the American embassy.
Which visa to choose?
Before announcing the steps of a visa application to the visa at the American Embassylet’s take a look at the definition of a visa.
What is a visa?
The USA visa is an authorization to enter the United States for a foreign citizen. In general, it is represented by a seal and a signature, placed in the electronic (or biometric) passport of the foreign visitor.
A US visa application requires a longer and more important procedure than its neighbor the ESTA form. Indeed, it is impossible to apply online, you must choose your type of visa, make an appointment at the American embassy and answer questions during an interview.
Do you want to travel to the USA for a linguistic stay, an au pair stay, a summer job, an exchange program and realize your American dream? The purpose of your stay will determine which visa is best suited to your situation under the U.S. government.
The different types of USA visas
There are two different categories: temporary residence visas and immigration visas.
Among the temporary residence visas, there are the categories:
- visitor visa ;
- student visa;
- worker visa ;
- and other non-immigrant visas.
Immigration visas include:
- Immigrant visa (as a legal permanent resident);
- Diversity Visa Lottery, better known as the “green card”: a legal program that randomly distributes approximately 50,000 U.S. visas.
Nationals of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries can visit the United States without a visa by applying for an ESTA. If you are not eligible for the ESTA document, you will have to follow the next step of the appointment at the American embassy for the visa application.
The appointment visa at the American embassy
The interview is one of the most decisive steps in the visa application process at the at the American Embassy. In fact, obtaining it depends entirely on the success of the meeting with the representatives of the American authorities.
How to make an appointment?
You must make an appointment at the U.S. Embassy for the visa. It is possible to obtain an appointment within 3 to 5 days. However, during the high season this period can be longer.
On the day of the appointment, make sure you are early, as any delay could be penalizing. You will be given a ticket to wait in the applicant’s waiting room. When your turn comes, an agent will take your file and your fingerprints. Afterwards, you will be redirected to another agent for the interview.
What documents should I bring with me?
- Your biometric or electronic passport with a minimum validity of 6 months (if it does not correspond to the time limit, you will have to apply to your town hall for a new passport);
- a Chronopost envelope with your address;
- The DS-160 form that you filled out for the VISA application and your SEVIS number;
- Documents proving your solvency (pay slips, bank statements, etc.);
- A letter of commitment from your sponsor and a valid job offer (for an internship in the USA);
- official documents proving that you have been accepted into a school and that your English is good (if you wish to study at an American university).
What questions are asked during the interview?
As previously mentioned, this step is decisive in the validation of your visa at the American embassy. This interview will allow the agent to ask you questions related to the chosen visa (tourism, studies, international volunteering, etc.) in order to analyze your words and to verify if your attentions are not harmful to the internal security of the country. The consular officer in charge of the interview will also verify your ties to your country of origin in order to make sure that you will not remain in the United States illegally. Here are some examples of questions you can prepare for:
- why do you want to go to the United States?
- Why do you want to study/work in the United States?
- which universities/companies did you apply to and where will you be studying/working?
- how do you plan to finance your studies?
- how do you plan to finance your life there?
- where will you live?
How to get the answer of the interview of the at the US Embassy ?
At the end of your interview, you may be offered two outcomes: denial or clearance to enter the United States.
In the event that the document is not granted, a document will be sent to you by mail with the reasons why you did not obtain the at the US Embassy.
If not, congratulations, your application has been approved, you have permission to stay, travel, or live in the United States! The answer will be announced at the end of the appointment. Your valid passport will be returned to you by mail, 48 hours after the appointment and with the seal of the visa from the American embassy in order to present it to the American customs officers.