How To Acquire A U.S Visa

Last week, Kenyan’s sensational sprinter and Africa’s 100 metres champion Ferdinand Omanyala encountered a challenge with his visa ahead of the World Athletics Championship which is ongoing in Oregon. Kenyans took to social media with different claims on the matter, with many left wondering on the steps one has to undertake while applying for a U.S visa.

Citizen Digital outlines the steps needed in applying for the vital document.

1.      Check if you need a visa

Visas are necessary if you’d like to travel to a country that does not have a visa policy in place with your home country. Many countries have visa policies and agreements that allow their citizens to travel freely between them without the need for a visa.

2.      Choose the type of US visa you will apply for

The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements by checking on the portal ( to receive the category of visa for which you are applying. When you apply at a U.S embassy or consulate, a consular officer will determine based on laws, whether you are eligible to receive a visa, and if so, which visa category is appropriate. The four main types of Visas are tourist, immigration, student, or work.

3.      Fill in the Non-immigrant visa Application Form DS-160

Nonimmigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States on a temporary basis for tourism, business, medical treatment and certain types of temporary work. The type of non-immigrant visa needed is defined by immigration law, and related to the purpose of the travel.  Non-immigrant visas have a set duration of time associated with them, which can vary depending on the reason for travel, and will eventually expire.

4.      Pay your application fee

Visa applicants, including children, are required to pay a non-refundable, non-transferable visa application fee, sometimes referred to as the MRV fee, before applying for a nonimmigrant visa. The visa application fee must be paid whether a visa is issued or not. The type of visa for which you apply determines the fee amount. Depending on your citizenship and the type of visa you are applying for, you may also have to pay a visa issuance or “reciprocity” fee.

5.      Schedule visa interview

While conducting visa interviews, consular officers look at each application individually and consider the applicant’s circumstances, travel plans, financial resources, and ties outside of the United States that will ensure the applicant’s departure after a temporary visit.

You can expect to be at the Embassy or Consulate for approximately two to three hours. The interview with a consular officer is the last step in a two-step process and typically lasts just a few minutes. Prior to the interview staff will collect, data-enter and review your application.

The commonly asked questions for US Visitor visa interview are the following:

·         What is the purpose of your visit to the US?

·         Have you been to the US before?

·         Do you have relatives or friends currently in the US?

·         Details on your friends / relatives in the US

·         Where will you be residing in the United States?

It takes from 3 to 5 weeks for a US visa application to get processed. After the processing, the applicant can get a positive reply on their application, and the consulate will deliver the document. The delivery of the visa can take up to two other workdays.

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