4 Different Routes to Getting a USA Visa

US Flag

Whether you want to live and work in the US on a long term basis, or you just want to take a short trip there as a tourist, you’ll need a visa to get you through border control and to legitimize your presence in the country for as long as you stay there.

There are a few ways to go about getting a visa, and caveats and exceptions to take into account according to your circumstances.

Let’s look at a few of the main options to weigh up.

Checking that you need a visa

A total of 40 countries have a visa waiver treaty with the US, which means if you’re just visiting for a period of 90 days or less, you don’t need to apply for a full-blown visa.

On this list are the UK, Australia, France, Japan and many other major nations, as well as smaller states. Checking if you’re exempt before you apply for a visa will save you time and money, although you will still need to apply for an ESTA to validate your visit.

Investing in an eligible EB-5 project sponsored by Regional Centers

You’re likely to get approved for a visa if you participate in an EB5 regional center program, which is essentially a scheme set up to encourage overseas investors to put their money into American projects.

So long as you intend to create jobs, whether that might be by starting a construction firm or anything else, and you secure the backing of one of the many regional centers that have been set up to support EB-5 applicants, it should be straightforward to be given the green light.

You’ll still need to go through the USCIS to achieve this, but with regional centers from New York to California and beyond, there is a comprehensive network in place to give your visa application their backing.

Applying directly

If you are looking to get a non-immigrant visa to visit the US, then it’s entirely possible to handle this process on your own. You’ll have to complete the DS-160 form, which is provided digitally via the Consular Electronic Application Center.

As you’d expect, it is easier to do this through your own local US consulate, as they will be able to provide advice that’s specific to travelers coming from your region of the globe.

In addition, you’ll have to go through an interview process at the consulate to achieve approval, and there will be fees to pay whether or not you are successful. Making yourself aware of all the terms and conditions prior to getting the ball rolling is a good idea.

Relying on a third party

If the prospect of filling out a potentially complicated and confusing visa application form doesn’t appeal to you, there are third party companies that will do the heavy lifting.

You’ll still need to supply all of the relevant information, including your personal details, your educational background, your work history, details of your family, your marital status and much more besides. You’ll also have to produce the documentation that supports your application.

It’s simply that the service provider will put all this info in order and streamline the process as much as possible, as well as answering any questions you might have.

Of course the downside of this route is that you’ll pay a premium for making use of visa application providers.

Additionally, there are ample examples of fraudsters using claims of visa application assistance to trick innocent travelers out of their hard earned cash, so you have to check up on the reputation of any provider before you commit to using them.

Wrapping up

If you know you need a visa for a US trip, it’s better to start the ball rolling well in advance, rather than thinking that this can be left to the last minute. There’s always room for errors to occur and delays to kick in, so it’s not worth procrastinating.

Whichever way you go about it, there will be costs to bear, and you can’t get away with cutting any corners, because this simply isn’t worth the risks and repercussions.

Getting expert help with your US visa application is always best if you can afford it.

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