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¿What are the chances of getting my tourist visa approved?

Official figures from the United States government show the odds of getting a tourist visa approved vary according to the country in which the individual applies from. This text mentions the percentage of tourist visas that were denied last year in Latin America and Spain. It also explains the causes or rejection, and what to do when this situation has occurred. The tourist visa could also be known as the B1/B2, which is a combination of the business and tourist visa.

What are my chances of getting a positive response?

According to official information by the US State Department, these are the figures of denied tourist visas, according to the country the visa was requested from, the last fiscal year:

  • Argentina: 2.14%
  • Uruguay: 3.14%
  • Paraguay: 7.47%
  • Costa Rica: 8.39%
  • Chile: 11.43%
  • Panamá: 12.05%
  • Bolivia: 14.36%
  • España: 15.09%
  • Colombia: 17.79%
  • México: 23.49%
  • Perú: 28.61%
  • Ecuador: 29.18%
  • Honduras: 42.76%
  • República Dominicana: 31.88%
  • Venezuela: 40.25%
  • Nicaragua: 44.54%
  • Guatemala: 48.68%
  • El Salvador: 57.12%
  • Cuba: 81.85%

In Spain and Chile, the process is different since they are included in the Visa Waiver program, which means most of their citizens can travel to the US without needing a visa. Citizens from countries included in the Visa Waiver Program only need to request a visa when their ESTA isn´t approved, if they had problems in the past or if their intention is to stay in the US for more than 90 days.

Why was my visa denied?

A tourist visa could be denied for several reasons and all of them fit into two categories: ineligibility and inadmissibility. As we´ve mentioned in other posts, one of the most common cases of ineligibility in not being able to prove enough economic, social or family ties to the country the applicant resides in. The latter is always worth remembering. In those cases, the consular officials could suspect the individual has the intention of staying in the United States. That problem affects both young and older people. If the problem is caused because of ineligibility then the applicant cannot request a waiver.

Common causes of inadmissibility include a penalty from 3 to 10 years because of having overstayed in the USA illegally. Individuals who are applying for a green card could also face trouble, since consular officials tend to deny tourist visas to people that are going through a permanent residency procedure, due to the request of one of their relatives.

What can I do if my visa was rejected?

You should know that the visa fee, without exceptions, is non-refundable. If the reason for the refusal is ineligibility then you can reapply, but you must do so when you consider your conditions have changed. If circumstances haven´t changed, then the consulate will just keep denying your visa.

For example, if the applicant marries, has a stable and better job, has bought a home, etc., those could be good reasons to reapply for the visa, and the most probable outcome would be a success. In the other hand, if the reason for the denial of the visa is inadmissibility it might be possible to request a pardon, particularly in the cases of overstaying illegally in the US. We highly recommend that you get professional help, like the one provided by Visa USA Now, if you want your visa application to be a total success. Remember our client´s approval rates are 98%.

US embassies in Russia will resume some of their visa services after diplomatic crisis

A spokesperson from the US embassy located in Russia declared Monday that they would resume some of the visa services in US consulates, which had been previously canceled due to the diplomatic expulsions, that left them with a staff shortage.

The United States had started to reduce their visa services in Russia since August. There was also a temporary suspension of this service in the Moscow embassy for a week, and also in every consulate. Since then the operation hasn´t regained previous capacity.

On the fiscal year 2016 over 190,000 Russians received non-immigrant visas that allowed them to enter the USA, according to information by the Department of State. This meant an 18% increase in contrast to the previous year. Those visas were granted for the purposes of business, tourism, and academic exchanges, among others.

Even before the United States announced it, their consular labor had significantly decreased in Russia, according to information posted on a daily basis by the Department of State. That information specifically showed that that the waiting time for tourist visa appointments on the Moscow embassy had increased from 50 to 70 days between August 2 and August 19, and from 17 to 44 days in the St. Petersburg consulate, during the same period of time. In contrast, only one day is required to get an appointment for a tourist visa in the Latvian capital, Riga, four days in Kiev, Ukraine and 20 days in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The suspension of visa services also affected Belarusian citizens that wanted to apply from Moscow and St. Petersburg. The US embassy recommended them to “schedule visa appointments with the US embassy in Warsaw; the US embassy in Kiev or the US embassy in Vilnius.

Before this diplomatic tension, Russian citizens could request tourist, business or student visas in the  US consulates located in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok, but this ceased as a consequence afterward. This meant that Russian citizens with the intention of visiting the United States could no longer apply for a visa in consulates located outside of Moscow; they now had to travel all the way to the capital.

Both US and Russian measures began in December 2016, when the US president at the time, Barack Obama, expelled 35 Russian diplomats for allegedly interfering with the US presidential elections, something that Moscow denied.

Putin didn´t strike back then, but when the US Congress approved new sanctions against Russia, they ordered Washington to reduce their diplomatic and technical staff to 755 people, that is a 60% cutback, by September 1.

Nevertheless, through last Monday´s statement, the embassy informed in an official newsletter that some of the visa services would resume on December 11. According to the newsletter: On December 11 consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok would start to offer a limited number of interviews for non-immigrant visas.

Official US sources also declared that: “we believe that the interaction between people and the commercial ties between the United States and Russia are the basis of stability regarding the bilateral relationship”. They also mentioned, nevertheless, that services would not return to former capacity, considering that Russia ordered the United States to decrease their diplomatic staff significantly.

Reasons for cancelling your tourist visa

Keep in mind that your tourist visa can definitely be canceled without prior notification. There are many reasons why that could happen, so it´s important you are informed, to avoid any kind of trouble.

One very common cause for canceling a person´s US visa is for staying longer than the established period of time, even if it´s just 24 hours. In very specific cases, it is possible to apply successfully for the restoration of the status, which is known as Nunc Pro Tunc, when an extension or change of visa is not requested in time. In any case, do not confuse the expiration date of the visa with the maximum authorized day to remain in the United States.

Another reason for withdrawal could be when a US Customs officer believes that a person who was previously granted a visa was ineligible or inadmissible to enter the United States or became ineligible or inadmissible after the visa has been approved. Your visa could also be canceled if it was torn apart from the passport where it was stamped.

Another common motive is when the visa is used for a purpose other than the original.

For example, when a person with a tourist visa spends a long time in the United States and decides to study at a full-time English school, high school, university or academy.

Another example is when a foreigner enters the country with a tourist visa but has the intention of getting married. If the immigration officer notices or if they discover things like the wedding dress in their luggage, at the customs office, then that person will be denied entry and the visa will be canceled. Getting married with a tourist visa is allowed but it can have very negative consequences, so you have to be very careful with what you do and comply with the law.

If authorities believe that there may be an intention to emigrate, that could cost you a visa cancellation. This can happen when a person with a tourist visa frequently enters the country, for example, to visit a family member. Or when the person extends the stay continuously. These behaviors are perfectly valid, but it´s better not to produce any kind of suspicion that can make authorities believe that the real intention is to emigrate and stay in the United States.

Say you´re in the United States and you have a medical emergency. Be sure to pay the bill, since that could be a cancellation motive as well. If a foreigner with a tourist visa has caused the public insurance of the United States to cover medical expenses that is something that could get that person´s visa canceled. That´s why it´s important that you travel with medical insurance or have the necessary means to pay the medical bill.

 

This is relatively common in the case of parents who have moved to the United States to have their child born in the country and then return to their country of origin without paying the hospital cost. Other cases include accidents or medical emergencies.

 

A cancellation doesn´t always have to mean something negative since when a foreigner is granted an immigrant visa (residence permit, also known as a green card), the former nonimmigrant visa is canceled.

A tourist visa can also be canceled to a person that has been requested by a relative in the United States. Waiting is possible but it could happen that once you arrive at customs, you will find that you are not allowed to enter the country. This does not always have to be like that but it is possible.

The reason is that depending on the particular circumstances of each case, it may give the impression that the idea is to travel to the United States to stay with the family member who made the request, without going through the waiting time, which could be very long, particularly in the case of papers ordered for brothers.

If you have worked or you intend to work in the United States you must know that only citizens, residents, and holders of visas that allow working or have a work permit, can legally work. Under any circumstances can foreigners with a tourist visa accept paid work.

 

There have also been cases when the visa has a bureaucratic error, such as the wrong spelling of a name or surname, or a mistake on the date of birth. In this particular case, the cancellation does not have negative effects for the visa holder who will obtain another one with the correct data. In these cases, the consulate usually contacts the individual to correct the error.

Additional advice for tourists

US authorities are the only ones with the power to grant visas and they are the only ones that can cancel them. If you want to keep your visa, do not engage in any non-consented activity according to American immigration laws. It is much easier to get a visa and to keep it than to solve the problems created by a canceled visa.

What can I do if the embassy denies my visa application?

Visa applications can be denied with a relative frequency and the reason is that the applicant is ineligible or inadmissible. There are a number of reasons why your application could have been rejected. The most common reason is not being able to prove enough economic, family or social ties to your country of residence. Remember to take all the documentation that can help support your case. In case your visa application is rejected because of that cause, you´ll receive a paper with the number 214 (b).

You should take into account that the consular officer is not obligated to examine any documentation. He or she can take a decision without checking a single document. But take the documents, just in case. If your visa application is rejected, in some cases it´s possible to request a waiver, or you can just request the visa again. Keep in mind that if you´re going to request a visa again, you should know why they denied your application in the first place. This means you should know what caused the problem specifically. You know this because the paper that the consular officer gave to you after he or she denied your application has a number: 214 (b).

The causes that make a person ineligible are very different, but it´s very important to know what that reason is in order to try to correct it. If your circumstances haven´t changed since the last time you applied for a visa then it probably will be denied again and you´ll lose the application fee, which is nonrefundable. For example, if your visa was denied because you couldn´t prove you had enough economic of family ties in your country of residence then a significant change must have occurred in order for your second attempt to be successful. This is a burden many young people face since many cannot prove they have a family, regular income, mortgage, property, etc. If the cause is ineligibility then you cannot request a waiver, you just have to fix the issue.

Before you apply for a visa again, make sure that the embassy you´re applying to establishes a minimum amount of time before reapplications. Some may request you wait at least for four months. Besides ineligibility, your visa could also be denied for inadmissibility causes, some of them are:

• Having previously entered the country illegally. This could have a penalty of 3 to 10 years.
• Deportation or immediate expulsion
• Using a fraudulent passport, residency card or visa.
• Having been convicted for a drug felony or for domestic violence, among other reasons

What to do in case of inadmissibility

For some of these cases, it´s possible to request a waiver, for example, in cases of prostitution, contagious diseases, the risk of being a public burden, convictions for immoral crimes or even multiple convictions for felonies.

It´s important that you know that the rules are different according to every case and that just because you´re requesting a waiver doesn´t mean that it will be approved; in these cases, it´s crucial that you have the counsel of professionals such as Visa USA Now. Keep in mind that there are causes of inadmissibility for which you can never be pardoned such as drug trafficking, terrorism or espionage.

What not to do in your visa application

I had promised to write another post with details about my second visa application, after the fiasco that was my first try https://www.visausanow.com/blog/how-they-first-denied-my-visa-to-the-usa/?lang=en. In my second application, I decided to apply with the guidance of experts, such as Visa USA Now. Their coaching was fantastic about what not to do in your interview or Ds-160 form. These were some of the things I learned.

For starters, it´s important to mention that half of the eleven million undocumented people living in the United States entered the country with a visa and they simply did not leave when they should have, or stayed longer than allowed. If the person applying for a visa fits the profile, then it´s likely the application will not pass, and that´s just the way it is. Applicants must prove that their intention is not to stay in the country and if their visa is denied they can reapply if they consider their conditions have clearly changed after the last try.

If you have visited the United States and stayed for several months or have requested visa extensions, your visa could be denied. You can remain in the United States for a long period of time if you comply with the exit date. If you need to stay for more time, you can request a visa extension or category switch. This is totally legal unless the consular officer or immigration agent suspects:
• The applicant is working in the United States without a work permit
• The applicant is not in the USA with the correct visa (for example, if you have a tourist visa but are studying or living in the country)
• The applicant no longer has strong economic or family ties with his or her country of birth and is living in the USA.

It´s important to remind you of the obvious, that consular officers are also human and can make mistakes. They could, for example, not have enough knowledge of the local language. This problem is actually more common in countries with more “complicated” languages. Something else that could happen, and there have been some cases reported, is that the consular officer does not have enough experience in that type of visa, and thus denies it. This motive isn´t very common in the tourist visa category, but it could happen in other categories that are more complex.

You also shouldn´t request a tourist visa if your intention is to stay longer or for another motive. This could actually result in skepticism from the consular official that could think you no longer have economic or family ties with your country of residence. Another thing that could result in trouble is if the consular officer suspects you´re not applying for the adequate visa category. For example, if you´re planning to study in the USA then you should request a student visa, not a tourist visa. Something else that could get you into trouble is if you stated in your interview that you were staying for a couple of weeks, but once in the USA, you requested a visa extension. US authorities could consider that you lied to a consular official, denying your visa as a result.

If you have relatives living in the USA, this could be considered a negative factor. Thousands of people have relatives living in the USA, but if they suspect that your plan is to stay with them permanently, your visa could be denied. Also, if your relative is undocumented, your visa will probably be denied. How your relatives got their documents is also an important factor. For example, if your relative entered the USA as a tourist but shortly married a US citizen and got a green card after a status modification, this could reflect negatively on you.

During the visa procedure, they´ll ask this question frequently and it´s best if you don´t lie and deliver a coherent response. This was actually what made the US authorities reject my visa the first time I applied. I should have stated all along that I had no relatives living in the USA since I mentioned cousins from a cousin and said they were relatives. I only needed to mention first-order relatives, and I had no first-order relatives living in the US. It was this confusion that made me go through that first disaster.

Some other reasons for a consular officer to deny your visa are:

• If you have applied or are applying for an immigrant visa (green card)
• If you have participated in the diversity visa lottery
• If authorities suspect you have presented fraudulent documentation or declarations

In some consulates, not every one, it´s a negative factor not to have traveled to Europe, the UK, or countries from the Schengen area. US authorities consider that a trip to Europe proves you have enough income to spend on tourism. It also proves that you were in a first world country and decided to go back to your country of residence.

If your visa was denied in the past, you can reapply, but only if you consider your circumstances have changed. If your circumstances haven´t changed, then the only thing you did was waste your money once again, since that fee is nonrefundable. They will specifically ask in the interview what has changed since your last application. If nothing substantial has changed, then the result will also not change; they will deny your visa once again. In my case, I said the second time that I had no first-order relatives living in the USA. My DS-160 form and interview were coherent, so the second time was the charm!

During the coaching Visa USA Now gave me, I remember I asked if it would be better to apply at a different embassy, maybe one with more flexible standards. They strongly advised me against this, since embassies do keep the records of applications worldwide. The important thing here is your personal or economic circumstances have changed. Switching embassies is just counterproductive and will result in the rejection of your visa, especially if your conditions are the same.

The most common reason for denying a visa is that the applicant cannot prove he or she has enough economic or family ties with their country. This happens a lot to young people without any professional experience or family of their own.

But, what should you do if your visa is denied for any of these reasons? In the next post I´ll mention some other motives your visa could have been denied, and I´ll also tell you what you should do if it was denied for any of those reasons. I practically became an expert on those issues, since I seriously wanted to visit the US. Also, remember that this post won´t replace the professional guidance that Visa USA Now´s staff provides. Purchase our services at www.visausanow.com and improve your chances of getting your visa.

Practical tips for your visa application interview

If you´re planning on traveling to the United States of America and your country isn´t part of the Visa Waiver Program, then you need a visa to get into the country. There are some steps you need to follow for applying adequately; the first step is to complete the DS-160 form, which asks for your personal data, plus other specific questions. The other important step of the process is the interview at the embassy or consulate. With this post, the goal is to provide some basic rules and to give you a better idea of what type of questions you can expect. We will also mention some things you better avoid and how to solve any inconvenient that may come up.

  1. Show up at the interview at the established time

With the exception of very rare cases, every person between 14 and 79 years old must personally go to the interview at the embassy or consulate, if it´s the first time the person is requesting a visa. Get there 15 to 30 minutes before the exact time.

 In the case of visa renewals, it´s highly likely that the interview is unnecessary. There are some exceptions to that rule nonetheless. For example, if the person has just turned 80 years old, but has been previously arrested in the United States or deported, then that person must attend the interview. In the case of children, you need to consult with your nearest embassy or consulate that issues visas, since the norms about age can vary. In many cases, six years old are compelled to attend the interview, but that age can vary. If the child must attend the interview he must go with both his parents, unless only one of them has legal custody over the minor, in cases of widows or judicial orders. If one of the parents cannot attend the interview then he or she must give the parent that is attending a letter that states that he or she agrees that the infant obtains a visa. Reasons for one of the parents not to attend the interview could be if the person is living in another country, in jail, etc.

  1. Follow the rules regarding taking companions to the interview

The general rule for everyone applying for a visa to the US is they must go by themselves to the consulate or embassy. This means they cannot go with relatives, friends or lawyers. This rule has it´s exceptions, for example, children must go with both their parents or with their legal guardian. Handicapped individuals may go with an assistant, but they must notify the embassy or consulate about this beforehand.

  1. Be compliant with the security regulations at the embassy or consulate

You have to go through a security procedure that´s very similar to the one you go through at airports. For security reasons, every person that accesses a US diplomatic building must go through a metal detector. You cannot bring mobile phones or any other electronic devices such as tablets, digital cameras or any kind of remote control. You obviously cannot carry any sort of weapons, including sharp objects such as knives. Don´t take any bags or boxes.

  1. Have all the required documentation with you

You must attend the interview with a valid passport, the appointment confirmation sheet, and the visa fee receipt. In the case of children, you must verify if the birth certificate is a requirement. Regarding your passport, some embassies require that it´s valid for at least six months after the travel date, but that can vary, depending on the embassy or consulate. If you have already had a passport with a US visa, then you should take it. If that passport was lost or stolen, then you must provide the official report. In case you were arrested in the United States or deported from the United States, bring all the documentation regarding your current situation. We recommend you neatly gather all documents in a folder, never in a sealed envelope.

  1. Answer every question at the interview

The whole interview procedure can take up to 2 or 3 hours, but the actual interview with the consular or embassy official can take 5 minutes tops. Expect questions related to the type of visa you are requesting. If you´re requesting a tourist visa they will probably ask you which places you are traveling to, how you will be paying, if you´re visiting relatives, etc. We recommend you only provide additional documentation if the consular or embassy official asks. The official is not required to accept those additional documents and he or she will only request them unless he or she thinks it´s necessary for taking a decision.

  1. Don´t even think about lying

It´s important that you always answer with the truth since using fake documents or lying for obtaining a visa is considered fraud. Your visa could be instantly denied and you could be banned from entering the US for life. In some cases, legal action is taken.

  1. Always behave accordingly

Never yell, insult or make nasty remarks, even if you consider that the consular or embassy staff is being too strict or rude. There are many reasons for this, but the main reason is that any comment or incident can be registered in the applicant’s file, making it more difficult to get a visa in the future.

  1. Dress appropriately

Remember that first impressions do count. You don´t need to dress as if you were attending a wedding, but it´s important that your image corroborates that you have the necessary means to pay for your trip to the USA.

The day of the interview, from a client´s perspective

My first appointment, before the interview, was a 10 a.m. at an Applicant´s Attention Center (CAS, according to the acronym in Spanish) in Bogota. I do remember there were other available slots but earlier, but I preferred the 10 a.m. slot so I could take a little bit more time for organizing in the morning. I also remember that the day before the interview it took me a little longer to fall asleep, probably because of my nerves and because I constantly imagined how the following day would be like.

Embassies generally recommend you arrive at the rendezvous at least 15 minutes before the exact time. Streets in Bogota are usually filled with traffic at that time so I decided to leave home about two hours before, just in case anything came up on my way there. Fortunately, nothing did, but I arrived a little too early to the CAS, around 9:20 a.m. I remembered that one of the recommendations was not to arrive too early, so I decided to find someplace where I could buy a cup of coffee, or something similar, while I waited. There was a place just a couple of blocks away, so I decided to kill some time there. I paid for my coffee and left the place around 9:40 a.m. since the walk to the CAS was about 5 minutes long. I arrived 15 minutes before the exact time.

There are some rules you have to comply with if you want to be granted access to the place. I, for instance, was carrying some bottled water and before entering the building the guards asked me to drink some before going in. Once I drank, they told me I could go in. They probably wanted to make sure it wasn´t acid I was going to pour in the consular official´s face if my visa got denied? With so many enemies around the world, I guess being extra careful about whom you let into your country isn´t out of line. There have also been attacks against US embassies in the past.

You cannot take bags or purses of any size with you. You also can´t take any electronic device or any other device that is battery-powered (mobile phone, digital camera, tablet, Cd´s, etc). You also cannot bring a lighter or any other device that produces flames, and you cannot carry any sharp objects such as multi-purpose knives or any kind of weapon, of course. You also cannot carry any crayons or markers, or any device that has an on and off button. Don´t bring any food or beverages, including chewing gum. I, evidently, had forgotten about that rule.

Keep in mind that the entry to the CAS will be denied to applicants that take any of the banned elements. Also, the receipt of those applicants will be frozen and they will not be able to schedule another appointment at least for 30 days. So it´s best you follow instructions strictly, I was lucky with my bottled water incident, but you may get a guard having a bad day. Once you pass that security filter, then you may access the main building.

Before going in I noticed there was a sign that said that they were now admitting people with a 10 a.m. appointment. I followed the signaled path and reached my destination. There was a long line and CAS employees were asking questions to some people in the line. The CAS officials that actually conducted the interview were behind a protection window, spread through the room´s borders. I think there were around 20 officials conducting interviews, but I could be mistaken. The waiting time in the line wasn´t too long, around 15 or 20 minutes. When you´re about to reach the part when you have to speak to the official, one of the CAS employees approaches you and asks if you´ve been to the USA before. I remember that the person that went before me said yes.

Then the CAS employee asked the type of visa she had entered, and she answered that she had entered with a single entry type of visa. The employee said that visa was obviously expired, and the candidate agreed. They also asked her if she had brought that visa with her, and she said no because she had lost that passport. The employee said that wasn´t a problem since the visa was expired. Since it was the first time I was traveling to the USA, the employee only verified that I had all the necessary documentation with me.

I passed on to the next step, the interview with the official. He asked for my passport and asked some basic question such as my birthday, the reason for my trip, when I planned to travel, if I had any relatives in the United States, how much money I earned, what I worked at and if I had a travel itinerary, among others. There were several questions but I answered every one with security and everything seemed to flow.

Then the officer asked me to put four fingers in a fingerprint scanner. Then I had to put both thumbs in the same device. I remember that the official made me repeat the sample a couple of times, and asked me to put less pressure over the device. Then he analyzed his computer screen and said that I was ready for my interview in the embassy.

I´d like to point out once again that you have to arrive 15 minutes before the time of your appointment. There aren´t any kind of benefits to people that arrive before and the embassy actually recommends not to do it, to avoid crowds. In case your photo doesn´t meet the requirements, the good news is there´s a place where you can take the photo nearby.

So, there´s two appointments you need to ask, the first one in the CAS and the second one at the embassy, where you´ll need to pass another interview. At the embassy, you also have to go through a security procedure and you have to do a line. The day I had my appointment the place was packed. When you reach the end of the line an embassy official will ask for your passport and ask some basic questions about your trip. I specifically remember this official asked for my travel itinerary. He wanted to know which cities I was visiting specifically.

I answered I was traveling to several citied and told him which ones. When I told him I was traveling to Boston I remember he smiled. I was standing the whole time and the official is behind a security window. There are actually people waiting in the line a couple of feet behind, I believe they can probably hear what you say. Imagine my joy when the official, which I´m pretty sure was from the US because of his pronunciation, said: your visa has been approved. And he stayed with my passport. I left the embassy with a big smile on my face.

Here are some pointers so your interview goes as smoothly as mine:

  • Prepare yourself and even if you get some support from friends or family, try to carry out the procedure by yourself. The latter is especially true at the moment that you fill out the DS-160 form, considering there are questions there that only you can answer.
     
  • Be confident. Always remember that you plan to visit the USA for touristic reasons and the USA, like any other country, is happy to receive tourists. The thing is they face different threats and social phenomena such as illegal immigration, which force them to take additional precautions. If you know your plans don´t include any illegal activity in the United States, then everything will probably end up well.
     
  • Review your travel history. Even though they do not request this at the embassy, nor do they state it´s important for your application, I personally believe this does help. If you have traveled to other countries before and haven´t broken any laws, then this proves that you are a tourist after all, with the intention of going back to your country of residence.
     
  • Respond honestly. Remember that the embassy employees and consuls are trained to spot lies. If they catch you lying then it´s highly likely your visa will be denied, maybe for life. So don´t take any unnecessary hazards.
     
  • Dress appropriately, with comfy clothes

Some advice on how to get your tourist visa approved, by one of our clients

You probably heard all the horror stories too. That the US visa was denied even to people with land titles, cars, credit cards, bank statements, invitations from relatives living in the USA, among other catastrophic stories. The elusive US visa has supposedly even been denied to frequent international travelers. You may even have read or heard stories about US consuls that are extremely strict and don´t even care to review the other documents you have that prove that you are not a threat to the United States and can pay for your temporary stay.

I bet more than one of you hasn´t begun the tourist visa procedure to the United States because of sheer fright to some of the mentioned horror stories. Well, let me tell you that all the procedure is quite simple. I will give you four secrets you must know in order for your visa application procedure to be a success. In this post, I will focus on sharing my interview experience with you, and also other parts of the application process. I hope it´s useful, that you can solve any doubts or worries you may have, and the main thing, I hope it gets your visa approved.

I was actually one of those who thought that getting the visa approved, the first step towards my dream trip to the USA, was going to be mission impossible. That was precisely why I decided to hire Visa USA Now´s services since they specialize in the tourist visa procedure. I had heard some positive comments about the whole organization and something that really interested me was they say their clients have had a 98% approval rate. I didn´t want any bad surprises, so I decided to get some help from professionals that would probably increase my chances of accomplishing my goals.  

Even before I paid the fee I contacted the organization. The first thing the advisor said is I had to have complete clarity regarding the purpose of my trip. I told them I was traveling for touristic reasons and they answered I needed a B2 tourist visa. There are several other categories and some embassies combine the B1 category with the B2 category, which creates the B1/B2 category. The B1 category is for business reasons.

Make sure you:

  • Check the validity of your passport
  • Have your passport nearby while you complete the DS-160 form
  • I recommend you go to a place that takes professional photographs since many of those places have “US visa” packages and have the whole process standardized. If you insist on taking it yourself or by someone close to you, make sure you have a camera with a high resolution and that there´s a good lighting. You or the person assisting you should also know something about digital photography, considering the necessary measurements.

You have to pay a $160 fee on the US State Department website, through your bank´s online service. You must have opened a personal account if you want to be able to do this. In some cases, you can pay the fee in local banks. For choosing the date appointment you must enter the US State Department and log into your account. The website will automatically inform you about which are the available dates. That time I remember none of the dates worked for me so I decided to wait a while. I accessed the website the next day and noticed there were available places in the date that worked for me, so I seized the opportunity. So what I did next was to confirm the interview date and to print that confirmation. Once you choose the date you also have to choose the date you find available.

So remember, you need:

  • A valid passport (take the former passport where you had your visa if that´s your case)
  • The DS-160 confirmation sheet
  • The interview confirmation
  • The payment receipt

Mind the details. Some embassies won´t require an interview, especially if you are traveling to the United States for the first time, and have never had a visa. According to the procedure, they will give you specific instructions and it´s best you follow them exactly. If they ask for a specific type of envelope, or if they want the photograph to have specific measurements, or if they want details regarding your economic activity, or if they ask if you are related to any terrorist-related activity, best comply with the whole procedure.

Even if the questions seem ridiculous or unnecessary, you must answer every one of them seriously. Funny answers or answers that take the procedures lightly are frowned upon and can negatively affect the result of your application. If you don´t  want to have any trouble, then it´s best you keep that rebel in you locked, at least temporarily. Read all the rules very carefully. All the information you need you´ll find at the Department of State´s website. Nevertheless, if you have any questions you can also call a local embassy or consulate for more information.

Remember to always answer truthfully and to be precise with those answers. Only answer what they are asking. Don´t talk too much or answer questions that haven’t been asked. It´s simply not necessary to provide information that hasn´t been requested. Also, truth be told, officials don´t care about those stories, however sad, tragic or entertaining they may be. There are a series of standards they need to comply with, and also a lot of people in line waiting to go next, so they expect direct answers to their specific questions.

You can take some support documents with you the day of the interview, if you like, such as bank statements or income certificates. Just let me tell you that I didn´t need any of those additional documents. My interview was a whole other experience, which I will also share.

Some advice on how to get a visa to the United States in Colombia

This year the requirements for getting a visa to the United States got a bit tougher. The Donald Trump administration announced that those measures included citizens from all over the world, including citizens of Colombia.

Now an interview is mandatory for almost every procedure, and the term in which a person with an expired visa can renew it has shortened. These measures which were ordered through embassies worldwide. Nevertheless, these are relatively soft measures that every country is entitled to do to protect their borders. There are certain steps you can follow so that your visa procedure is a success.

Keep in mind that luck has nothing to do with how your procedure will turn out. Consular officials make their decision based solely on the law, regulations, and policies from the US State Department. It´s important that you strictly follow the instructions based on the specific type of visa that you want to request.

Choose the type of visa wisely

There are several visa categories, based on the purpose of your trip. There is the tourist and business visa, but there are also others such as a student visa, work visa, and others related exchange programs and investment, among more. Visa USA Now specializes in the tourist visa, which is also the most common. For example, if you´re traveling to the United States for an English learning program, you need to apply for the student visa, not the tourist visa. Remember that this year a Colombian citizen was denied entry to the United States because she stated that she was traveling to get an English learning program, and she had a tourist visa. If you´re accurate regarding the visa category you can avoid lots of trouble and confusion.

Fill out the form with extra care

Completing the DS-160 form is the first step in the process of applying to a nonimmigrant visa to the United States, without any exception. Even in the case of a family or group application, every applicant must fill out his or her own form. You´ll find the form at the embassy´s website. Keep in mind that you must fill out the form in English, but you can also find the translation to those questions online. If you fill out the form in Spanish or any other language, the application will automatically be invalidated.

Have your valid passport with you when you are filling out the form and, again, remember the purpose of your trip. If you make a mistake in that field you won´t be able to correct it and you will need to start a whole new application. Write the information carefully and memorize the answers since it´s likely that you´ll be asked about those answers in the interview.

We strongly suggest that you don´t lie, since the consequences of fraud are very severe. You will permanently lose the right to travel to the United States and you can even get some kind of judicial penalty. This means that if consular officials catch you in any kind of lie, like for example stating that you earn more than you do, your visa could be denied and you could be labeled as “ineligible” for the rest of your life. That´s why it´s very important that the answers in the interview match the answers you gave in the DS-160 form. Bring the papers that support that information with you, such as marriage certificates, work certificates, bank statements, etc.

You need to know where you´re going and what´s your travel itinerary. If you have relatives in the United States where you´ll be staying you must inform this to the Embassy since they probably already know this, and they´ll find it suspicious that you say you´ll be staying at a hotel.

It´s crucial that the visa applicants can clearly and coherently describe their travel plans, and that these individuals provide precise answers to all the oral and written questions. Inconsistent or incoherent answers will probably make the consular official think that the purpose of the trip is to stay permanently in the United States, or that the person doesn´t qualify for a visa.

Remember to mention the ties you have in Colombia

According to the US Embassy in Bogota, most of the nonimmigrant visa rejections come up because applicants cannot prove that they have enough family, social, economic, or other ties to Colombia. In other words, they want to make sure that you will return to Colombia in the established term or less. You could say that the USA doesn´t want any Colombians that have “nothing to lose”, in their territory, since they could easily stay permanently, as illegal immigrants. So if you have a current work contract with an organization, if you own property or attend a university, don´t forget to mention this in the interview.

Start the procedure in advance

The embassy suggests that anyone that is renewing his or her visa should do so many months before the document expires. If it´s the first time that you´re requesting a visa, begin the procedure at least three months before the date you have to travel. Avoid buying plane tickets before your visa is approved. Visit our homepage www.visausanow.com and we´ll guide you throughout the whole process. 98% of our clients get their visa approved!

 

 

 

 

Request your visa to the United States from Costa Rica

Tourists, business people, students, or skilled workers who wish to stay in the United States for a specified period of time in order to carry out specific purposes need a nonimmigrant visa. According to US laws and regulations, most nonimmigrant visa applicants must demonstrate to the consular officer that they have strong ties to their country of residence and must verify that they intend to leave the United States after their temporary stay.

Requirements

If you apply for a B-1 / B-2 visa, you must demonstrate to the consular officer that you qualify for a visa to the United States according to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 214 (b) of the INA assumes that every B-1 / B-2 visa applicant is a potential immigrant. You must overcome this legal presumption by showing:

1. That the purpose of your trip to the United States is for a temporary visit, such as for business, pleasure or medical treatment.

2. That you have planned to remain in the United States for a limited period of time.

3. Evidence of funds to cover your expenses during your stay in the United States.

4. That you have enough social or economic ties that will secure your return to your place of residence, at the end of your visit.

If you are applying for a tourist/business visa, you must submit the following:

  • A Confirmation Form of the Non-Immigrant Visa Electronic Application Form (DS-160).
  • A valid passport to travel to the United States with a validity of at least six months longer than the time you will remain in the United States (unless specific agreements with each country provide exceptions).
  • If more than one person is included in your passport, every person that desires a visa must submit an application.
  • A printed photograph of 5cmx5cm (2 “x 2”) taken in the last six months, with a white background.
  • A receipt showing the non-refundable payment of US $ 160 corresponding to the processing fee of the nonimmigrant visa application.

In addition to these requirements, you must submit an interview appointment sheet that confirms that you have scheduled an appointment through this service. You can also carry the solvency documents that you believe support the information provided to the consular officer.

The documentation you provide is just one of several factors that the consular officer will consider during your interview. Consular officers analyze each application individually and consider professional, social and cultural factors, among other things. Consular officers analyze specific intentions, family situation and their long-term plans and projects within their country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is granted all the deliberations of the law.

Do not even think about presenting false documents. Fraud may result in being permanently ineligible for the visa. If you are concerned about confidentiality, you should bring the documents to the Embassy in a sealed envelope. The Embassy will not make your information available to anyone and will respect the confidentiality of your information.

You should bring the following documents to your interview:

  • Up-to-date proof of income, tax payments, property or business ownership, and assets.
  • Your itinerary and/or any other information about the planned trip.
  • A letter from your employer detailing your position, salary, how long you have been employed, a vacation permit and the purpose of the company, if any, for your trip to the United States.
  • Criminal/judicial records of any arrest or conviction anywhere, even if you have completed your sentence or were pardoned later.

You should consider providing additional documents, based on the purpose of your trip. If you´re visiting relatives bring documents that prove your relative’s status (for example green Card, valid visa, etc.) If you have previously been in the United States, bring the documents that prove your immigration or visa status.

Documents for Applicants Seeking Medical Care

If you wish to travel to the United States for medical treatment, you must be prepared to submit the following documentation, in addition to the documents listed above and those the consular officer may need:

  • A diagnosis of a local doctor explaining the nature of your medical condition and why it requires treatment in the United States.
  • A letter from a physician or medical center in the United States stating the willingness to treat that specific condition and detailing the estimated time and cost of treatment (including medical fees, hospitalization costs, and medical expenses in general).
  • A statement of financial responsibility from an individual or an organization that will pay for transportation, medical and general expenses. Those who guarantee the payment of these expenses must provide evidence of their ability to do so, usually through bank statements or other income/savings statements, or certified copies of tax returns.

Payment Information

Although the rates are specified in US dollars, you must make the payment in local currency. You can pay the fee at any Banco Nacional agency. Children must pay the same rate.

Restrictions

Your visa application fee is non-refundable and cannot be transferred to another person. You will receive a receipt after paying the application fee. This receipt is valid for one year from the date of payment.

The application fee for the most common types of a nonimmigrant visa is $ 160 USD. This includes tourism, business, student and exchange visas. Visa USA Now specializes on the tourist visa, visit our homepage www.visausanow.com for more information on how to get started.  After you make the payment at Banco Nacional you can schedule your appointment the next business day.

Note: A visa does not guarantee entry to the United States. A visa simply states that a consular officer of the United States has determined that you are eligible to apply for a visa to the United States for a specific purpose.

Fake news through social networks

Social networks quickly spread news everywhere, whether they are true or not. There was news spread recently of a supposed decree the president of the United States, Donald Trump, had signed. This decree completely removed the visa requirement for Costa Rica. The United States embassy in Costa Rica was responsible for denying this information that had come up. For this, they had to make an official declaration indicating to all the people of Costa Rican nationality, that this was false news.

They said the following specifically: “The news that has been circulating on social networks are completely false since every person who is a Costa Rican national, always needs a visa to be able to enter the United States”. They also said: “We advise anyone who is thinking about applying for a visa to ignore this false news, since these are not authorized sources and they generate a lot of uncertainty”.