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Secrets to Getting a US Visitor Visa

By Rachel Barrick May 14, 2018 (Updated December 19, 2019) 3 min. read

What is a US Visitor Visa?

If you are planning on traveling to the United States for business, tourism, vacation, or visit, you may need to apply for a visitor visa. This visa will allow you to temporarily visit the United States, and comes in the form of a B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 combination visa. The type of visa you apply for will depend on your reasons for travel. Depending on your country of origin, you may be eligible to apply for the Visa Waiver Program, or be exempt for requiring any visa or visa waiver at all.

Tips for Getting a US Visitor Visa

  1. Make sure you need a visa!

    • If you are traveling to the US from Canada or Bermuda, you will not require a visitor visa to enter the country.
    • If you are a visitor from one of the approved 38 countries, you may also be eligible to apply for the Visa Waiver Program. This allows you to stay in the US for 90 days or less without a visa.
    • Before you do anything, look at this list! You will save time if you discover you do not need to apply for a visa.
    • You should also check if you are from a country eligible for one of the Trusted Traveler Programs. These programs, which include Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI, can ease the process of entering a United States port of entry.
  2. Find out which visitor visa is best for you

    • You must identify your reasons for traveling to the US, and apply for the visa that best fits those reasons.
    • The B-1 visa is for individuals traveling to the US for business. Reasons to apply for this visa include: consulting with business associates, attending a business conference or convention, negotiating contracts, purchasing property, and investigating business opportunities.
    • The B-2 visa is for individuals traveling to the US for tourism, vacation, or to visit family/friends. It also applies to individuals traveling to the US for medical treatment  or participation in certain types of social or service events.
    • The B-1/B-2 combination visa is for individuals traveling for purposes included in both visa types.
  3. Find out how to apply for a visa from your US Embassy or Consulate

    • The application process and order of steps you take to apply may vary based on the embassy or consulate through which you apply. The format will generally include the steps listed below.
    • You will be required to fill out the online nonimmigrant visa application and upload a photo.
    • Once the form is completed, print the application form confirmation page to bring to your visa interview.
    • Schedule an interview at the US Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live.
    • Make sure to pay all required fees and bring all required documentation.
    • You must be able to prove that you are not coming to the country to immigrate, but rather to visit for one of the purposes included under the visa.
  4. Apply as early as possible!

    • Wait times for interview appointments can vary by location, time of year, and application type, so we recommend applying for a visa as soon as you know you need it.
    • Visa processing times also vary on a case to case basis, which is another reason it is important to apply early.
  5. Understand visa extensions

    • Once you are in the United States, you may request to extend your stay past the duration you have indicated. However, you are required to leave the US by the indicated date unless your request is approved.

Why Hire an Immigration Lawyer to Visit the US?

Upon entering the United States, officials at the port-of-entry do have the authority to allow or deny entry to the US. For this reason, we recommend hiring an immigration lawyer to help ensure your application is prepared properly and that there is no reason for a denial to occur. Here at VisaPlace, we have many years of experience with visitor visas, and know how to make the process go as smoothly as possible, and improve the chances of a visa approval. If you would like to hire an immigration lawyer, you can book a consultation here. If you are unsure if you want to hire an immigration lawyer, we recommend you fill out our free online assessment, and we will contact you regarding your eligibility.

Eddie de Witt Avatar

Eddie de Witt

When you get the opportunity to go to the US for work from abroad, then I would say VisaPlace would be your best option to get all your documents in place. My 5 star feedback is based on the help I received from Danielle Grbic as she was really professional, I would straight away ask for Danielle to be in charge of your process. From the time that Danielle took over my case I felt confident that it will go well and at the end it went smoother than expected. On my own I would never have been able to get this internal work transfer done as a L1 visa and was best for the professionals to take charge. After arriving in the US, Danielle was still happy to assist with documents and advise. A huge thanks to Danielle and VisaPlace

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Sweet Ness

I spoke with Lilly last week and she’s incredible. Very informative and you can tell she definably cares about her job. She wasn’t pushy at all and she’s there to help you figure out if this service is right for you. I’d recommend contacting VisaPlace if you’re thinkin of traveling internationally and you have questions about the different types of permits.

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Peter Gianakas

I had a great experience with Andrew Diamond from The Visa Place. Andrew was very knowledgable and helped us every step of the way. When we had a discrepancy with my spouse’s Visa Andrew helped us navigate the system in the USA. He even offered to speak directly to the customs and border control officer to help us iron out the situation. Overall the experience was very good and smooth. I highly recommend Andrew and his services at The Visa Place.

Vanessa Gomes Avatar

Vanessa Gomes

I spoke with Lilly last week and she’s incredible. Very informative and you can tell she definably cares about her job. She wasn’t pushy at all and she’s there to help you figure out if this service is right for you. I’d recommend contacting VisaPlace if you’re thinkin of traveling internationally and you have questions about the different types of permits.

TK B Avatar

TK B

Great firm. They helped me with my visa at a reasonable cost. They were very responsive and most importantly compassionate about my situation. I have no hesitation to recommend them to others

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Nirmal Singh

Really the best immigration law firm. I got visa with their help, they helped me at every step. They answered every single question. I ‘d recommend 10/10

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Krista Sparkes

Extremely satisfied with the professionalism, expertise, efficiency, speed and thoroughness at which my file was managed. Fadi & Danielle are true class acts! Their response times were fantastic (especially during a high-stress period), their quality of work was phenomenal, and their willingness to go the extra mile (without hidden costs, no less!) to prepare me for my work permit interview was unmatched. I strongly recommend VisaPlace to anyone seeking legal counsel as it relates to cross-border services. Highest Regards, Krista

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