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Tourist visa in the USA. FAQ (part 1)

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Tourist visa in the USA. FAQ (part 1)

We present to your attention a selection of tips and guidelines for obtaining a visa in USA . In the Frequently Asked Questions section, you will find answers to typical visa questions. The rubric is constantly updated and supplemented.

Overview of the situation with the issuance of visas

In March-July 2014, the United States imposed a series of sanctions against Russian companies, officials. On standard procedures for obtaining visas to the country, this did not affect. That is, any ordinary citizen of Russia can theoretically become the owner of permission to enter America and make a planned trip to the United States. The number of refusals in connection with the introduction of sanctions has not increased.

The procedure for entering the US today excludes the need to fill I-94 with visa holders and ESTA. The document is filled in automatically. Visa fees in the US were reduced as early as 2013. Today the payment is $ 160 instead of $ 180 (until 01/01/2013). Visas to the United States are issued for 3 years (by agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation on 09/09/2012).

Frequently Asked Questions / Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where can I find out if US sanctions will apply to me?

A: You can check this information in the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN). If you have data in the list, you do not need to submit documents for registration. If you have an American visa, it is likely that it has been canceled, that is, you can not enter the US. To access SDN information, use the following links: ... fault.aspx

The procedure for obtaining visas

Q: How has the procedure for obtaining a visa in the US changed after signing an agreement between the countries on simplifying visa formalities?

A: It's no easier to get a visa to America. Bilateral documents, in the first place, simplify visa formalities for Americans in the territory of the Russian Federation. At the same time, he does not provide preferential conditions for obtaining visas for Russians. In the United States, each applicant is automatically considered a potential immigrant. The situation is aggravated by the total fear of terrorism and other threats to the national security of the country. Accordingly, the US does not hurry to make visa concessions to the US. The agreement only touched upon a number of technical features of obtaining visas for Russians. The procedure for requesting a visa and reviewing it, as well as the validity of visas, have changed slightly.

Improvements under the US-Russian agreement:

  • The increase in the validity of the visa for Russian citizens who do not fall under the administrative control. Since 2012, the document is issued for three years instead of two. After an administrative inspection, visas are issued to rare applicants, in this respect, there was no simplification of the process.
  • Decrease in the fee for issuing the right to enter the United States for a period longer than a year to $ 0 from $ 100.
  • The reduction of waiting queues at the US embassy. This was the most noticeable improvement in the visa situation under the agreement.

The deterioration, which led to the signing of the document:

  • US citizens received a number of privileges as guests of the Russian Federation. In Russia, they can stay up to 6 months in a row on a standard visa. At the same time, Russians in America do not have such an opportunity. Staying for half a year in the US in most cases is interpreted as a loss of ties with the Russian Federation, which leads to the cancellation of the visa, subsequent denials of entry. Non-immigrant visas B1 / B2 do not provide for the possibility of a long stay in the US without good reason. At the same time formally, such a stay is not prohibited by the laws of America. Accordingly, the bilateral agreement can only be called with a big stretch.
  • It is worth noting that the privileges for Americans in the Russian Federation are quite large. For six months in a row, even citizens of states with respect to whom a visa-free regime operates (Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, etc.) can not legally reside in Russia.

In fact, they remained unchanged:

  • The attitude of the US consuls to the applicants, the Russians, who make out the entry documents.
  • The procedure and features of issuing visas. Despite the introduction of three-year visas, stated in the agreement, all applicants do not issue such. At the same time, standard single-entry three-month visas are being issued in the United States, multiple annual.
  • The ratio of issued visas to citizens of the Russian Federation and the United States for their stay in the states and Russia, respectively. As before, a greater number of Americans receive Russian visas than Russians in the United States.

Procedure for obtaining visas

Q: Do I have to deliver documents to the US Embassy through Pony Express?

A: Yes, but only in the case of a repeated application of the applicant and a visa under a simplified scheme. This does not apply to visas marked Clearance Received. The standard procedure remained unchanged. The applicant must sign up for an interview at the embassy, arrive on the appointed day to meet with his representative and bring along the necessary documents.

Procedure for applying to the embassy for a visa

The usual scheme:

  • Payment for the visa fee ($ 160). You can do this by using the service It is recommended to pay the consular fee first. Payments are processed only on working days in a standard banking order. If you pay online during business hours, the payment period for the system is 2 hours maximum. When paying through the cashier's bank - 1-3 days.
  • Photo for registration of entrance documents. The photo must be printed and electronically (in .jpg format).
  • Passage of registration.
  • Completing the questionnaire form DS-160. The document can be filled in one step, with interruptions. The last step is to download an electronic photo. Accordingly, you can complete the completion of the DS-160 questionnaire only if you have a photo of the corresponding sample in the .jpg format.
  • Record on (item 1.3) for the interview. To do this, you need to enter the following information: the details of the valid passport (No., date of issue, validity period), receipt for payment of the consular fee, identification number of the DS-160 questionnaire (a ten-digit confirmation code starting with AA). In addition, the applicant can choose the city, time, date of interview, the method of delivery of the passport after receiving a visa (at home address, office, pick-up from the Pony Express branch).
  • Passing the interview on the appointed day. At itself, in addition to the standard package of documents, it is necessary to have an invitation for an interview (printout of an e-mail), a confirmation of the application of the DS-160 questionnaire, a passport.
  • The following actions depend on the results of the interview.

Attention: the passport remains in the applicant's hands immediately prior to the interview with the representative of the US embassy / consulate.

Q: That is, when you apply for a visa, you do not need to send your documents anywhere, book tickets, hotel, issue proof of reservation?

A: In the US, the visa system is fundamentally different from that in Europe. Entry documents, respectively, are processed differently. Prior to the interview, the applicant does not send a passport, printing a questionnaire, etc. As for the reservation of the hotel, tickets, if there is no need for them in the DS-160 questionnaire, then you do not need to provide anything to the consulate. Information posted on the State Department website is accepted as reliable and does not need confirmation.

Terms of obtaining visas

The American Embassy in Russia does not issue visas in express mode. Longer considered and formalized documents for entry only to Canada and several other countries. To receive the American visa for a week or two, as, for example, European (Spanish, Italian), it is impossible. All the simplified visa procedures stated by officials, as practice shows, remain in words.

Apply for an American visa is recommended long before the trip (at least a quarter). The time is counted from the date of the interview, and not the day of filling out the application (questionnaire DS-160). The waiting for the interview can last for a month and a half (in Moscow, St. Petersburg). In other cities, the procedure goes a little faster.

For those who are 100% sure that an administrative check will not be applied to him, you can apply for a visa for a month (from the day of the interview) to the proposed trip.

The administrative check postpones the decision to grant a visa on average 50-60 days. It is recommended to take into account, if the rigid terms of the trip are established. 95% of applicants are those whose current or past activities relate to science and technology (chemistry, physics, medicine, biology, fundamental sciences, information technology, air navigation, urban planning, the design of weapons, aircraft, including unmanned vehicles And space).

There are no formalities on the time limits for applying for a visa in the United States. But it is recommended to apply to the consulate not earlier than six months before the proposed trip.

Consular or MRV fee: amount, payment details

The first thing you need to do to get a visa to the US is to pay a consular fee of $ 160 (in rubles at the rate). Payment in USD, as practice shows, is not accepted.

The collection can be paid in most banks of the Russian Federation. Does not accept payments only VTB24. Against this bank in the United States imposed sanctions.

The amount of the visa fee for tourist visas of categories B1 and B2 is the same. The duration of the entry permit does not matter. Additional payments (previously - $ 20 and $ 100) from 2013 are not charged.

The payment of the consular fee is accepted not only by banks. You can make payment at any post office in Russia. To do this, you will need a full name, date of birth, the applicant's address (in Russian), the details of the valid passport.

You can also pay the fee online at . Anyone can make a payment from his card at the request of the applicant. Currency restrictions are also missing. Payment can be made in rubles, dollars, euros, etc. At the exchange rate on the day of the transaction.

The receipt for payment of the consular fee is convenient to fill in online. To do this, it is necessary to allow the work program in which the form of payment order is open, access to the Internet for downloading the current dollar rate. In the receipt it is necessary to indicate the passport number (without the number sign, only the numerical value), the date of birth of the applicant in standard digital format (00.00.0000). These data are subsequently listed in the ID-code on the receipt.

Also, in the payment it is necessary to enter the name, address of the applicant. The data is entered into the clickable top field and after pressing Enter are duplicated in the second part of the receipt. A ready payment can be printed (for this, the Print Form option is provided).

The commission for payment of the fee by VTB24 was not charged. There is no data on the Russian Post on this issue.

The paid fee is not refundable (including in case of refusal to issue a visa). This is common practice in most countries.

Documents for visa registration В1 / В2

The US Consulate provides:

  • Completed application form DS-160 (in electronic form + printed confirmation).
  • Valid passport with at least one free page (the document must be without hard cover).
  • Photo 5x5, made no later than 6 months before the filing of documents. The photo is required in electronic form for the questionnaire and printed (served with a package of documents at the consulate).
  • Receipt for the payment of the consular fee.
  • Confirmation of the interview record on (printout).

You can file documents in any region and city, guided by the principle of their convenient location for the applicant. The temporary and permanent registration of the person applying for the visa does not matter.

Q: What type of passport is needed to obtain a visa: ordinary or new (biometric)?

A: Any international passport is suitable. Advantages in obtaining a visa (shortening of terms, simplification of procedure) a new biometric document with electronic information carrier does not. The requirements of the US embassy / consulate regarding new passports refer only to citizens of certain countries (for example, France) wishing to visit the United States under the ESTA program.

Q: What are the requirements for the validity of the passport?

A: Citizens of Russia and a number of other countries are required to have a passport valid for the duration of the proposed trip in order to obtain a visa to the United States and visit the country. Under the rule of six months beyond the period of stay in America, they do not fall. Also it is worth noting that the issued visa in the canceled (old) passport is valid if there is a new one.

Detailed answers to questions on this topic can be found on the US Border Service website:

Six Month Rule

Visitors traveling to the United States are required to be in possession of passports that are valid for six months beyond the period of their stay in the United States. Citizens of the countries listed below are the exempt of the six-month rule and need only.

... Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, Uzbekistan ...

Q: The validity of the passport expires after 3 months. Is it possible to get a three-year visa in the US?

A: Yes, it is possible. To apply for a visa in the United States, the validity of the passport does not matter. But there may be difficulties in administrative verification, which usually takes at least 50-60 days. Therefore, it is not recommended to apply for a visa if the validity of the passport expires after 1-1.5 months.

These documents are not included in the main list, but they can play an important role in the interview. The Applicant is advised to have:

An old passport (or several) with notes on visits to different countries. It is also possible to present copies of passports if the originals are not preserved.

Certificate of employment. There are no official requirements for this document. The certificate is issued in free form. It is recommended to indicate in it the position, length of work, income. Data on wages should be indicated with all premium and additional amounts. Theoretically, the consulate can check in the telephone mode, whether the employee works in a particular company and what position he occupies. But financial data (salary size) is not disclosed. The salary is recommended to indicate the real (in the case of its small size - the maximum with all allowances). A small salary can raise doubts about the availability of funds for a trip. Salary, in size not corresponding to the education of the applicant, his age, experience, position and industry average parameters, will also raise suspicions.

Confirmation of the purpose of the tour. At the same time for independent tourists, a clear travel route is enough (the less tourist experience, the more information should be about the places that are planned to be visited in the USA). It is recommended that you indicate popular destinations and attractions in the itinerary: Grand Canyon, Miami, San Francisco, New York, etc. Confirmation of reservation of cruises, tickets, housing is not required.

All documents are made in Russian, translation into English is not necessary.

Unnecessary documents that reduce the chances of obtaining a visa

Such documents include:

  • Confirmations of booking tickets, accommodation, excursions, etc. Such documents testify to the intention of the applicant to go to America. As a result, the chances of getting a visa are reduced. The US Consulate recommends buying tickets and booking hotels only after receiving an entry permit.
  • Invitations from private individuals (not close relatives). To obtain a visa, it is necessary to demonstrate to consuls the lack of immigration intentions, ties with the country of residence. Otherwise, the chances of entering the US are rapidly decreasing. This is one of the main features of the American migration regime.

Documents not affecting the receipt of a visa:

  • Insurance (medical, life, risk).
  • Information on the availability of property in Russia (real estate, auto, etc.).
  • Account statement from the bank.
  • Invitation from a legal entity.

The more documents confirming the applicant's desire to enter the United States are submitted to the consulate, the less he has the chance to obtain a visa. Permits to enter the country are issued to holders of clean passports, as well as to experienced travelers. The presence of stamps on visited countries increases the chances of obtaining a visa in the US, but is not his 100% guarantee.

General terms, observations

  • The Legend. This is the name of the trip to the US.
  • Bekraund. The term means the data specified in the application form (name, details, marital status, etc.).
  • PE, Pony Express. The company used for obtaining foreign passports with a visa from the embassy, sending applications for a re-visa.

If you really need in the US, it's likely that you will not get a visa.

In the consulate, a small amount of time is spent on processing one applicant's documents. Often, the employees of the service automatically distribute the applicants by category (purpose of the trip, career, etc.). Categories a person must match 100% (especially with regard to behavior, appearance at the interview). For example, a top manager traveling to the United States for tourist purposes can not come to an interview in the cabins and show the booking of a cheap hostel.

Countries visited earlier;
  • knowledge of a foreign language;
  • completed and unfinished educational institutions;
  • previous places of employment;
  • detailed trip plan.
  • The profiles of men and women are filled in the prescribed form:

    The form is provided free of charge. Completing the questionnaire and recording for the interview are separate procedures. The latter is possible only at the completion of all stages of filling in the application, payment of the consular fee.

    The data in the questionnaire are entered in Latin letters (the language of completion is English). In Russian, only the full name of the applicant in the Full Name in Native Alphabet column is indicated. Unfilled fields remain empty (you do not need to set dashes in them).

    Instructions for completing the detailed (male) version of the questionnaire can be found on blog / hakimus / ds160_b-722.html.

    Q: Are the applicant completing other forms of the questionnaire?

    A: In most cases, this is not necessary. When DS-160 is filled, DS-156, 157, 158 or 3032 documents are not filled. More information:

    Are additional forms required?

    No. The online DS-160 application replaced the DS-156, DS-157, DS-158, and DS-3032, which are no longer necessary. NOTE: In addition to the DS-160, the Treaty Trader / Treaty Investor visa applicants should also include the following additional information (see the Treaty Trader / Treaty Investor, E-Visa Applicants section below for more information). Only applicants for K visas should use the DS-156 application form (see the Visa Notices in the section below for more information).

    Q: The applicant has no relatives, friends, acquaintances in America. How to fill in the graph of the U.S. Point of Contact Infromation?

    A: It is recommended to specify the contact details of the proposed hotel. In this case, book a room in it and confirm the reservation is not necessary. In the consulate pay attention not to specific addresses, but to types of contact persons. Involving organizations, individuals or institutions of tourist infrastructure can act in their role.

    Q: How do I fill out a section about education, do I specify a school in it?

    A: Formally, this information is needed. It indicates the secondary school (starting from grade 5).

    Q: If the studies at the institute, college or college were not finished, what should I write in the section on education?

    A: It is recommended to write "I attended such and such educational institutions". The question of their end in the questionnaire is not put.

    Q: Is it possible to complete the application without the electronic version of the photo?

    A: Yes, it is possible. Instead of a photo, you can upload any image of the appropriate format. After the system will ask you to continue the registration without a photo. Paper photo in this case is necessarily provided to the consulate with a package of basic documents during the interview.

    Q: The DS-160 has an error. How do I fix it?

    A: There are probably several options.

    1.If you find an error before recording for an interview, just fill out a new questionnaire. The number of such operations is not limited. It is important only to print the correct confirmation in the completion of the process of processing the questionnaire. You can forget about the old versions of the document with errors.

    2.If an error was found after recording for an interview, you must fill out a new questionnaire, print out a confirmation, come with him for an interview. Employees of the consulate at the same time explain that he was mistaken (for example, with dates, the duration of the trip) in a hurry or inattention. Problems this situation in most cases does not cause. The interview date does not change after the new questionnaire is filled.

    Particular attention should be paid to confirming the registration of the questionnaire. The printout must clearly read the barcode and the individual document number.

    Recording for an interview

    Q: How is the passport number entered?

    A: In the digital format, for example, 60 No. 1244568, is entered as 601234568.

    Q: The system has an old passport number. How to replace it with a new one?

    A: At in your account, create a request for changing the passport data (feedback form), attach a copy of the new document. Applications are carried out quickly.

    Q: Select Visa priority

    • Resident
    • Non-Resident

    What to answer?

    A: For citizens of the Russian Federation and permanently residing in the country - Resident.

    Passage of the interview

    Interviews in the consulate are held by appointment. A slight delay is allowed. The main thing is to arrive on the appointed day.

    At the interview, the applicant must have:

    • Print out an invitation to the consulate for a specific date, time.
    • Acknowledgment of the DS-160 feed.
    • Passport.
    • Old passports with visa marks, if any.

    It is also recommended to bring along:

    • A photograph of the established format.
    • Russian passport.
    • The list of publications printed by CV (actual for those who can get under admin test).

    It is forbidden to carry out an interview for:

    • Large bags, bags. They are not accepted even in the storage room.
    • Mobile phone (it can be left in the camera).

    The sequence of actions in the consulate:

    • Check of documents by the employee of the Russian police.
    • Checking things by the US security service.
    • Delivery of things prohibited for carrying into the storage room.
    • Passage of the post with a metal detector.
    • Confirmation of registration in the queue.
    • Waiting for reception.
    • Fingerprinting.
    • Interviewing.

    It is recommended to pass an interview in Russian. This will avoid mutual misunderstanding if you do not speak English well.

    Do not hurry to show the consul additional documents. Excessive importunity in the interview can adversely affect the process of considering the candidature of a tourist.

    Possible questions to the applicant

    In the consulate, the majority of applicants have to answer typical questions. Usually employees of the service are interested in why the tourist chose the USA, and not Asia, Europe, etc., what is the purpose of his trip, who pays the last, how long does the person plan to be in America, with whom he goes on vacation, are there visas From them. Also one of the mandatory issues is the scope of the applicant's activity.

    It is recommended to answer the interview clearly, confidently, and also to ensure that the information does not differ from the one submitted in the questionnaire and the real one. Many data can be checked, in case of detection of fraud, the applicant is denied a visa.

    Administrative Review

    Administrative verification is most often applied to specialists in science, technology, and industry. At the same time, the presence / absence of profile education is not a 100% guarantee of getting into a risk group. The decision to conduct an audit is always taken on an individual basis and only after an interview at the consulate.

    Most inspections require additional documents (summary in English, publications for scientists). Administrative procedures are completed usually within two months from the receipt of these documents by the consular staff.

    Those who have been assigned a check-up are advised to pick up a passport (by notifying the consular service) at the interview. After the procedure is completed, if it is a positive outcome, the document can be sent free of charge through Pony to the consulate for visa processing.

    The administrative examination is not a reason for an unambiguous refusal of a visa. On the contrary, her appointment means that the applicant was not regarded as a potential immigrant, and he will most likely receive permission to enter the United States.

    Speeding up the verification is impossible. The basis for expediting the procedure is not conferences, tickets purchased, personal events of the applicant.

    The validity of the visa after the administrative verification

    While the methodology for determining the validity of the visa after the administrative examination was explained by logic, it was not possible to adjust it to any regularities. There are cases of issuing both three-month and three-year visas.

    News and opinions on this subject you can place here:

    The US visa. Administrative check. Clearance Received

    How to track a passport after passing an interview?

    There are several ways to do this:

    1. By UID on (indicated under the barcode number in the confirmation of the invitation for the interview). It is entered in the "Tracking" section.

    2.Status Administrative Processing on the page of tracking means the registration of a visa.

    3. By means of an e-mail to passportstatus [#] In its subject it is necessary to indicate the passport number without symbols (only figures). In response to the letter comes a notification of the status of the passport. The method is unreliable, the system often hangs.

    Continue reading in part 2 questions and answers about a visa in the US.

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