Obtaining a US Nonimmigrant Visa
Once the BCIS has approved a visa petition, it is necessary to have the visa stamped into the candidate's passport.
The visa is stamped into the candidate's passport at a local US Embassy or Consulate; this process generally takes from 1 to 3 weeks from the visa interview.
Candidates already in the US may, if they are on a non-immigrant visa (such as a B1/B2 visit visa), be able to apply to the BCIS for adjustment (if changing to immigrant) or change (if changing to other non-immigrant) of status while remaining in the US. This option is not open to candidates who are present in the US under the visa-waiver scheme. Also, if the candidate did not advise of the possibility of a change of status to the relevant US Embassy or Consulate beforehand, the BCIS may be reluctant to permit an application for adjustment of status.
Where a visa is being stamped into a passport at a US Embassy, the following documents should be provided:
|F-156 Form||This is the standard non-immigrant visa form for entry to the US. In most cases, it must be completed before a visa can be issued.|
|DS-157 Form||Check Embassy or Consulate regarding who must complete this|
|I-797||Notice of Approval of petition by BCIS, if relevant.|
|Letter from Employer||Necessary for the B1 in lieu of H-1, ‘blanket’ L1 and E visas for employees, useful in other cases.|
|The Applicant's Passport||The passport should be valid for at least six months (not necessary for British Citizens and certain other nationals), and should have two pages free for endorsements.|
|Passport Photograph||This is the usual passport sized photograph commonly available.|
|Other||Various other supporting documentation depending on visa classification and location of Consulate/Embassy|