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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

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FAQ - COVID19 tests

  1. Will the Department of State require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or test for visa applicants effective immediately?
  2. Given that the CDC has begun to require negative tests to enter the United States, foreign nationals with a negative test or vaccine will be able to obtain / enter the United States even if they would normally be restricted by one of the presidential proclamations? If a foreign national receives a national interest exemption, is he exempt from the requirement of a negative test?
  3. There have been reports of foreign nationals traveling to Florida to get vaccinated. Is that allowed under the law?
  4. What happens to U.S. citizens or foreign nationals who submit fake or otherwise improper COVID negative test results in order to enter the United States?
  5. Can travelers at embassies and consulates apply to the CDC for exemptions from compulsory testing for emergencies or humanitarian reasons?
  6. If I am vaccinated, do I have to show a negative COVID test to fly to the US? Why?

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Question 1: Will the Department of State now require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or test for visa applicants?

At this time we have no changes to the visa regulations to announce. Information about required vaccinations for immigrant visa applicants can be found on this website.

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Question 2: Given that the CDC has begun to require negative tests to enter the United States, foreign nationals with a negative test or vaccine will be able to obtain / enter the United States visa, even if they were normally restricted by one of the presidential proclamations? If a foreign national receives a national interest exemption, is he exempt from the requirement of a negative test?

All presidential proclamations restricting travel due to COVID-19 will remain in effect and will continue to apply to all affected potential travelers regardless of their test results or vaccination status. Travelers with a National Interest Exemption are also still subject to all applicable pre-departure testing requirements. For more information on testing requirements, please contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Question 3: There have been reports of foreign nationals traveling to Florida to get vaccinated. Is that allowed by the law?

Medical treatment in the United States is an acceptable purpose of travel for those with a valid visitor visa; More information can be found here. For questions regarding entry into the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, please contact the Department of Homeland Security.

If you have any questions about the eligibility of anyone in the United States to receive the vaccine as part of a priority group, please contact your local health authority.

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Question 4: What happens to U.S. citizens or foreign nationals who submit fake or otherwise improper COVID negative test results in order to enter the United States?

According to the CDC order, travelers must present a verifiable, documented test result to their airline in order to travel. Persons who have submitted falsified or otherwise improper test results may be refused boarding and / or entry into the United States. We would like to refer you to CDC, DHS and DOT for information on implementation.

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Question 5: Can travelers at embassies and consulates apply to the CDC for exemptions from compulsory testing for emergencies or humanitarian reasons?

Exemptions from compulsory testing may be granted by the CDC on an extremely limited case-by-case basis if an extraordinary emergency trip, such as Emergency medical evacuation, to protect someone's health or safety, and the test cannot be completed prior to travel. Individuals who believe they meet the criteria can visit the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate website for information on how to apply for an emergency dispensation. There is no special permit for people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

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Question 6: If I am vaccinated, do I have to present a negative COVID test to fly to the US? Why?

All passengers aged two and over are subject to the order, including those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Please contact the CDC if you have any questions about testing requirements, the information under Requesting Evidence of a Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Entering the United States, and COVID FAQs -19 vaccination.


 

FAQ - General Visa Information

  1. How long does my passport need to be valid to apply for a visa to enter the United States of America?
  2. Do I qualify for the Visa Waiver Program?
  3. What is the ESTA fee and who has to pay it?
  4. What happens if I travel to the United States without an ESTA?
  5. I live in Germany as a foreigner. Can I apply for a nonimmigrant visa there?
  6. Do all nonimmigrant visa applicants need to complete an interview at the US embassy or consulate?
  7. I have a nonimmigrant visa that is about to expire and I want to renew it. Do I have to repeat the entire application process?
  8. My passport has expired, but the US visa is still valid. Do I have to apply for a new visa?
  9. I have dual citizenship. Which passport should I use to travel to the United States?
  10. How can I extend my visa?
  11. Do I have to submit my visa application electronically?
  12. What is "administrative processing?"
  13. How can I read and understand my visa?
  14. My visa will expire while I am in the United States. Is this a problem?
  15. What if I enter the United States?
  16. I did not submit Form I-94 when leaving the United States of America. What should I do?
  17. I have questions about filling out Form DS-160 and printing the confirmation page. Where can I get more information?
  18. I don't have an online bank account. Can someone else pay for me?
  19. I want to book my trip in advance as early as possible. When can I book my travel tickets?
  20. Question 20: I have changed my name. Is my U.S. Visa with my previous name still valid?
  21. What information do I need to provide on social media while completing the DS 160 form?

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Question 1: How long must my passport be valid to apply for a visa to enter the United States of America?

You must have a valid passport with a period of validity of at least six months after the end of your intended stay in the United States (except in the case of exceptions by country-specific agreements).

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Question 2: Do I meet the requirements for the Visa Waiver Program?

You qualify for the Visa Waiver Program if you are a citizen of a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program, have a machine-readable passport, for business reasons or as a tourist for a maximum of 90 days in the Wish to remain in the United States of America, meet the other requirements for the program, and have been authorized through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

You must be a citizen of a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program. Holders of a permanent residence permit in a participating country in the Visa Waiver Program are not authorized to use this program, unless they are also citizens of another participating country. Please visit the Visa Waiver Program website before traveling to the United States to verify that you qualify for this program.

NOTE Children's passports are not valid for travel under the Visa Waiver Program. Children need their own electronic passport to travel without a visa. View the full list of German passports eligible for the Visa Waiver Program.

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Question 3: What is the ESTA fee and who has to pay it?

ESTA registration is required for all travelers to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. There is a $ 14 fee to register for ESTA. This fee can be paid online using any of the following credit or debit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover. This fee can also be paid by third parties (tour operators, family members, etc.) if you do not have a suitable credit card yourself. If an ESTA registration is denied, the fee is only $ 4.

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Question 4: What if I travel to the United States of America without an ESTA?

Visa Waiver Program travelers who have not received an ESTA confirmation will normally be prohibited from boarding a flight to the United States. If you do get on board, expect a significant delay and possibly refusal of entry when you arrive at an American port of entry (i.e. arrival airport). Typically, ESTA registration can be completed in just a few minutes and confirmation is instant and valid for two years, unless the traveller's passport expires within that period. In such cases, the ESTA registration is valid until the expiry date of the passport.

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Question 5: I live in Germany as a foreigner. Can I apply for a nonimmigrant visa there?

It is usually recommended that applicants apply for a visa in their country of nationality or residence. Anyone who is legally present in Germany can apply for a visa there. However, it is important that applicants do not only consider waiting times for appointments or geographical proximity when choosing where to apply. For example, it should be considered at which location the applicant can prove the closest connection.

There is no guarantee that you will be granted a visa and no guarantee of processing time. If an application is rejected, the application fee will in no case be refunded.

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Question 6: Do all nonimmigrant visa applicants have to complete an interview at the US embassy or consulate?

Yes, in most cases. There are only a few exceptions to the requirement of a personal interview. The following applicants do not normally have to appear in person for an interview:

  • Applicants for A-1, A-2 (official travelers for central government business), C-2, C-3 (central government officials in transit for central government business) or G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 (central government officials traveling in connection with an international organization or employees of an international organization)
  • Children under 14.
  • Applicants over 79 years of age (80 years +)
  • Applicants who meet the requirements for the Visa Reissuance Program (EU citizens with previously issued visas, under certain conditions).

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Question 7: I have a nonimmigrant visa that is about to expire and I want to renew it. Do I have to repeat the entire application process?

Each application for a nonimmigrant visa is a separate process. You must submit a normal application, even if you have already received a visa or if your current nonimmigrant visa is still valid. In some cases it may be sufficient for applicants who have already received a visa to send in their passports and avoid a face-to-face interview under the Visa Reissuance Program.

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Question 8: My passport has expired, but the US visa is still valid. Do I have to apply for a new visa?

No. If your visa is still valid, you can travel to the United States of America with your two passports (old and new passport) as long as the visa is valid and undamaged and corresponds to the appropriate visa category for your main purpose of travel. (Example: tourist visa if the main purpose of your trip is tourism.) The name and other personal data must also match on the two passports. Your nationality stated in the new passport must correspond to the nationality that appears in the passport with a visa.

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Question 9: I have dual citizenship. Which passport should I use to travel to the United States?

Except if one of your nationalities is US, you can use any nationality to travel to the United States; However, you must notify the US embassy or consulate through your application form. US citizens, including those who have a second citizenship, must use their US passport to enter and leave the United States of America.

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Question 10: How can I extend my visa?

The period of validity of a visa cannot be extended, regardless of the visa category. You have to apply for a new visa.

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Question 11: Do I have to submit my visa application electronically?

Yes. You must complete Form DS-160 and bring a copy of the DS-160 Confirmation Page with you to your interview at the US Embassy or Consulate.

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Question 12: What is "administrative processing?"

Some applications require further administrative processing, which will take up additional time after your interview. You will be informed about this when you apply. You can find more information about administrative processing on this website of the Consular Office.

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Question 13: How can I read and understand my visa?

Once you receive your visa, make sure that all of the personal information on it is correct. If any of the information on your visa does not match the information on your passport or is incorrect, please contact the issuing authority (i.e. the embassy or consulate) immediately.

The expiration date of your visa is the last day you are allowed to enter the United States of America. There is no indication of how long you can stay in the United States. This period is determined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at the border crossing. As long as you meet the requirements of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for your stay, you shouldn't have any further trouble.

For more information on the correct issuance of your visa, please visit the Department of State's Consular Affairs website.

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Question 14: My visa will expire while I am in the United States. Is this a problem?

No. You may reside in the United States for as long as the time period determined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security upon your arrival in the United States and subject to such conditions; this information is stamped on your passport. It is not a problem whether your visa will expire during your stay in the United States of America. Further information can be found here.

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Question 15: What if I enter the United States?

You will receive a blank Customs Declaration Form 6059B from your airline.Only one customs declaration form is required for a family traveling together.

A visa is not a guarantee of entry into the United States of America, but it does allow foreign nationals to travel to a United States border crossing and apply for admission to the United States of America. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security or Customs and Border Protection have the right to deny or allow a traveler to enter the United States and determine how long a traveler has been in reside in the United States of America. Once you have been approved for entry into the United States of America, a Customs and Border Protection officer will determine how long you can stay there. In the past, travelers were given an admissions protocol (I-94) that contained this information. With a few exceptions, this process is now automated. Travelers will now receive an approval stamp from the customs and border protection authorities in their travel document, which shows the date of approval, the approval class and the end date of your permitted stay. Find out more on the CBP website. If a traveler needs a copy of Form I-94 for alien registration, immigration status, or authorization for employment, they can request it at www.cbp.gov/I94. More information about this approval can be found on the CBP website.

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Question 16: I did not hand in my Form I-94 when leaving the United States of America. What should I do?

In the past, foreign travelers entering the United States were given Form I-94 (Arrival / Departure Protocol) from Customs and Border Protection officials. With a few exceptions, this process is now automated. If you received a paper form I-94 or I-94W but did not return it to the airline or CBP when you departed for the United States, please refer to the instructions on the CBP website. Do not submit these forms to the U.S. embassy or consulate general.

If you receive an approval stamp in your passport instead of the I-94 form in paper form upon entry, this is the case because your I-94 entry was created electronically and you have not been given a paper copy. In this case, CBP will electronically register your departure from the United States of America. Find out more on the CBP website.

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Question 17: I have questions about filling out Form DS-160 and printing the confirmation page. Where can I get more information?

Unfortunately, our call center is unable to assist you in completing this form. For questions about completing the DS-160 form, see the following website.

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Question 18: I don't have an online bank account. Can someone else pay for me?

If you do not have an online bank account, you can use any other online bank account (e.g. from relatives or friends).

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Question 19: I want to book my trip in advance as early as possible. When can I book my travel tickets?

Applicants are strongly advised not to book their trip until they have received their passport with a new visa. To avoid the inconvenience of being unable to travel because your visa has been refused or having to pay for the expensive flight rebooking process, wait until your visa has been delivered.

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Question 20: I have changed my name. Is my U.S. Visa with my previous name still valid?

If your name has changed legally through marriage, divorce, or a legal name change, you will need to apply for a new passport. Once you have a new passport, the State Department recommends that you get a new U.S. Apply for a visa to make it easier to travel to and from the United States.

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Question 21: What information do I need to provide via social media while filling out the DS 160 form?

On May 31, 2019, the U.S. Department of State updated its immigrant and non-immigrant visa application forms to request additional information, including social media identifiers, from most U.S. visa applicants worldwide. For more details please click here.

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FAQ - Visa Rejection

  1. What is Section 214 (b)?
  2. How can an applicant prove a "close bond"?
  3. Is a denial under Section 214 (b) permanent?
  4. Who can convince a consular officer to reverse a decision?

The United States of America is an open society. In contrast to many other countries, most visitors are not required to carry out internal controls, e.g. registration with the local authorities. Our immigration law obliges consular officers to view every applicant as a potential immigrant until proven otherwise. In order to enjoy the privilege of free entry into the United States of America, it is your responsibility to demonstrate that you will be returning abroad before you are issued with a visitor or student visa.

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Question 1: What is Section 214 (b)?

Section 214 (b) is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This section states:

(b) Any alien (other than non-immigrants under (L) or (V) of Section 101 (a) (15), and Section 101 (a) (15) (H) (i) except for clause (b1) of this Section) shall seen as an immigrant until he proves to the satisfaction of the consular officer at the time of application that he is entitled to nonimmigrant status under Section 101 (a) (15). A foreigner who is an official or employee of a foreign government or international organization enjoying privileges, privileges, or immunities under the United States International Organizations Immunities Act, or a foreigner who is an assistant, Servant, employee, or immediate family member of such alien shall not be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa or to enter the United States as an immigrant unless he signs a written waiver under Section 247 (b).

Our consular officers do a very difficult job. You need to find out in a short amount of time whether or not a person is eligible for a temporary visa. In most cases, the decision is made after a brief interview and verification of ties in the country of residence. To be eligible for a visitor or student visa, an applicant must meet the requirements under Section 101 (a) (15) (B) or (F) of the Immigration and Citizenship Act. Otherwise the visa will be refused in accordance with INA 214 (b). The most common reason for such a rejection concerns the requirement that a potential visitor or student must have a residence abroad that they do not intend to leave behind. All applicants are required to provide evidence that such residence exists and that there is a "close bond" by which they intend to leave the United States at the end of your temporary stay. By law, this burden of proof is incumbent on the applicant.

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Question 2: How can an applicant prove a "close bond"?

"Attachments" are different aspects of your life that bind you to your country of residence. These can vary depending on the country, place of residence and person. Examples are:

  • Your employment;
  • Your house or apartment; and or
  • Your relationships with your family and friends.

During visa interviews, consular officers evaluate each application individually, taking into account the applicant's circumstances, travel plans, financial resources, and ties outside the United States that guarantee the applicant's return after their temporary stay.

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Question 3: Is a section 214 (b) denial permanent?

No. A rejection or non-compliance under Section 214 (b) applies only to a specific application. The consular section cannot take any further action once an application is complete. No objection can be raised against such decisions. If you think there is additional information that should be considered regarding the visa decision, or if there has been a significant change in your circumstances since your last application, you can apply for a new visa. To do this, you have to fill out a new application form, pay the application fee again, and arrange a new interview appointment. Read the US embassy or consulate website carefully; there you will find all the information you need to apply for a new application.

Applicants should remember that there is a non-refundable fee for each visa application, even if one is ultimately denied a visa.

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Question 4: Who can convince a consular officer to reverse a decision?

According to the Immigration Act, responsibility for approving or denying visas rests with the consular officers in the respective countries. You have the final say on all visa applications. Under the applicable law, the US Department of State is empowered to investigate consular decisions; however, this authorization is limited to the interpretation of the law and not the determination of the facts. When a visa application is rejected, the most important question, namely whether an applicant has the required place of residence abroad, is based on pure facts. It is therefore the sole responsibility of the consular officers in our international service to clarify this question. An applicant can only change the judgment by submitting new, convincing evidence confirming the existence of close ties in their own country. For more information, please visit the Department of State's Consular Affairs website here.

A visa is not a guarantee of entry into the United States of America, but allows foreign nationals to travel to a United States border crossing and apply for admission to the United States of America. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security or Customs and Border Protection have the right to deny or allow a traveler to enter the United States and determine how long a traveler has been in stop in the United States of America. Once you have been approved for entry into the United States of America, a Customs and Border Protection officer will determine how long you can stay there.

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FAQ - Business / Tourist Visas

  1. How long can I stay in the United States on a business or tourist visa?
  2. My visitor visa (B-1 / B-2) will expire after my scheduled arrival in the United States. Do I have to apply for a new visa before leaving?
  3. My US visa will expire in the next 6 months. Can I apply for a new visa after the expiry date, or can I do so before?
  4. My US visa was issued while I was doing other work. I have a new job now and my employer wants me to attend a conference in the United States next month. Can I use the same visa or do I have to apply for a new one?
  5. My child is studying in the United States of America. Can I go there to live with my child?

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Question 1: How long can I stay in the United States on a business or tourist visa?

A nonimmigrant visa to the United States of America allows you to travel to a border crossing (sea or airport) in the United States of America. When you get there, the US Customs and Border Protection officer processing your entry will determine the maximum length of time you can stay in the United States. You are entitled to travel to a border crossing during the entire validity period and up to the last day of the validity of your visa. The period of validity of your visa does not determine the maximum length of stay in the United States of America; this will only be determined by a Customs and Border Protection officer upon your arrival in the United States of America.

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Question 2: My visitor visa (B-1 / B-2) will expire after I plan to arrive in the United States. Do I have to apply for a new visa before leaving?

You can enter the United States of America up to the last valid date shown on your visa. Upon entry, the maximum length of your stay will be determined by an officer from the American Customs and Border Protection. It is not a problem for your visa to expire while you are in the United States of America; But you have to make sure that you do not stay longer than the customs and border protection authorities allow you.

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Question 3: My US visa will expire in the next 6 months. Can I only apply for a new visa after the expiry date, or can I do so before?

You don't have to wait for your current visa to expire. You can also apply for a new visa during the validity period of your current visa.

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Question 4: My current US visa was issued while I was doing another job. I have a new job now and my employer wants me to attend a conference in the United States next month. Can I use the same visa or do I have to apply for a new one?

You can travel to the United States on the same visa as long as it is for business or tourism.

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Question 5: My child is studying in the United States of America. Can I go there to live with my child?

While you can travel to the United States of America to visit your child on your own B-1 / B-2 visa (or under the Visa Waiver Program if you meet the requirements) to visit your child, however do not live with your child unless you have your own immigration, work or student visa.

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FAQ - work visas

  1. What is a petition?
  2. Can I get a visa to do casual work?
  3. Is there an age limit for applying for a temporary work visa?
  4. Can a relative living in the United States sponsor me for a work visa?
  5. When can I enter the United States of America?
  6. Who pays the fraud prevention and detection fee and when is it due?

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Question 1: What is a petition?

Before you can apply for a nonimmigrant employee visa, you must have a USCIS-approved Form I-129, Application for a Nonimmigrant Employee Visa. This petition must be submitted by your potential employer no earlier than 6 months before the start of the employment relationship. This petition should be submitted by your employer as soon as possible within that 6 month period to allow sufficient time for processing. Upon approval of this petition, your employer will receive a Notice of Action Form I-797. For more information, visit the USCIS Temporary Agency website.

Note: To review the approval of your petition, the U.S. embassy or consulate will need your I-129 receipt number and an approved Form I-797. Please bring these two documents with you to your interview.

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Question 2: Can I get a visa to do casual work?

No. There is no casual work visa. All applicants intending to work in the United States must have an approved petition prior to your interview date.

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Question 3: Is there an age limit for applying for a temporary work visa?

No.

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Question 4: Can a relative living in the United States help me financially for a work visa?

No. Only your employer can support you financially.

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Question 5: When can I enter the United States of America?

You may enter the United States no earlier than 10 days prior to the commencement of your employment, which is recorded on Form I-797 or in your job offer.

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Question 6: Who pays the Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee and when is it due?

An L-1 visa applicant wishing to travel on a flat-rate petition must first pay the fraud prevention and detection fee. For individual L, H-1B, and H-2B petitions, the U.S. applicant pays the fraud prevention and detection fee to USCIS when the petition is filed.

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FAQ - Student Visa

  1. What is an I-20 and how can I get it?
  2. How early do I have to apply for my student visa?
  3. I have already received my visa. When should I start my trip?
  4. Can a visitor visa holder change their status to "student" while in the United States if they are admitted to an educational institution and given a Form I-20?
  5. What if I get an I-20 for another educational institution?
  6. I work as an H-1B and have now been admitted to a university as an F-1. Do I have to return to my country before I can apply for a student visa?
  7. Can an F-1 student work in the United States?
  8. What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?

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Question 1: What is an I-20 and how can I get it?

The Form I-20 is an official US government form issued by a certified educational institution. A prospective nonimmigrant student must have this form in order to obtain an F-1 or M-1 visa. Form I-20 serves as proof of admission and contains all the information required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, apply for a visa or change a visa status, and enter the United States of America . Form I-20 contains the student's SEVIS identification number; this begins with the letter "N", followed by nine digits, and is noted in the top right directly above the barcode.

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Question 2: How early do I have to apply for my student visa?

It is recommended that you apply for a nonimmigrant student visa as soon as you receive Form I-20. You can submit the application at any time to make sure you get your interview appointment as early as possible. However, a student visa can be issued no earlier than 120 days prior to the start date specified on Form I-20.

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Question 3: I have already received my visa. When should I start my trip?

When you first enter the United States, regardless of when your visa was issued, you may not enter the United States any earlier than 30 days prior to the start of the course as noted on Form I-20.

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Question 4: Can a visitor visa holder change their status to "Student" while in the United States if they are admitted to an educational institution and given a Form I-20?

Yes. In general, you can apply for a change in your nonimmigrant status if you entered the United States legally on a nonimmigrant visa, it is still valid, you have not violated the requirements for your status and have not committed any other acts that would lead to inadmissibility. For more details, please visit the USCIS website.

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Question 5: What if I get an I-20 for another educational institution?

If you receive an I-20 form after making your appointment, you can let the consular officer know about it at your interview.

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Question 6: I work as an H-1B and have now been admitted to a university as an F-1. Do I have to return to my country before I can apply for a student visa?

No. As long as you are in the United States of America, you do not need to apply for a new visa, as this is only valid for entry into the United States of America. Check with USCIS for more information on whether you need to change your status. However, if you leave the country, you will need to apply for a student visa in order to re-enter.

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Question 7: Can an F-1 student work in the United States?

Full-time students with F visas are allowed to work at the university for up to 20 hours per week. After the first year of student status, an applicant may work outside of the university if approved by USCIS. Please contact your academic advisor for more information.

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Question 8: What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?

The Information System for Students and Exchange Program Participants (SEVIS) requires educational institutions and exchange programs to confirm the status of all new students and exchange program participants and those who continue their studies. Student visa applicants must pay the SEVIS fee before they can be issued with a visa. You can find more details on the SEVIS website.

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FAQ - Visas for participants in exchange programs

  1. I have already received my visa. When should I start my trip?
  2. What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?
  3. What is the "two year rule"?
  4. Can you bypass the two-year rule?

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Question 1: I have already received my visa. When should I start my trip?

Exchange program participants may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days prior to the start of the course as noted on Form DS-2019, regardless of when their visa was issued.

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Question 2: What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?

The Information System for Students and Exchange Program Participants (SEVIS) requires educational institutions and exchange programs to confirm the status of all new students and exchange program participants and those who continue their studies. Exchange program participants who apply for a visa must pay the SEVIS fee before a visa can be issued to them. You can find more details on the SEVIS website.

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Question 3: What is the "two year rule"?

"Two-Year Rule" is the common term used for that section of the US Immigration Act that requires many exchange program participants to return to their home country after completing their studies and to reside there for at least two years until they qualify for certain visa categories, in specific ones H-1, L-1, K-1 and immigrant visas are allowed to return to the United States of America. Please note that when your J-1 visa is issued, only a preliminary judgment will be made on your DS-2019. The final decision will not be made until later if you intend to apply for an H-1, L-1, K-1, or immigrant visa.

Holders of J-1 visas, for which the two-year rule applies, may not remain in the United States of America and a change or adjustment of their status to a non-immigrant status (e.g. from J-1 to H-1) or apply for a permanent residence permit (Green Card) without first having lived in your home country for two years or having received a corresponding exemption. Whether the two-year rule applies to your case depends on a variety of factors, including your source of funding and your country's "skills list". The length of your stay in the United States of America is not decisive.

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Question 4: Can you avoid the two-year rule?

That is possible. Exceptions to the two-year rule can only be approved by the Department of State's Visa Service. The Visa Section has final authority over whether you are subject to this rule, regardless of what is stated in your passport. If you are subject to the two-year rule, it is possible to apply for an exemption. Also, if you are subject to the two year rule, you may be able to get a tourist visa or other nonimmigrant visa, except for the types listed above.

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FAQ - Transit Visa or Ship Crew Visa

  1. I plan to stop in the United States for one day and take a flight to another country the next day. Do I need a C-1 or B-1 / B-2 visa?

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Question 1: I plan to stop in the United States for one day and take a flight to another country the next day. Do I need a C-1 or B-1 / B-2 visa?

If you need stopover privileges for purposes other than transit through the United States of America, e.g. visiting friends or for tourism, you must meet the requirements for the relevant visa category and apply for a suitable visa, e.g. B2.

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Faq - visas for religious workers

  1. I want to apply for a religious worker visa, but my application has not been approved. I have entered the United States on an R-1 visa in the past and did not need a petition at the time. Can I apply for an R-1 visa without the petition because I have already received an R-1 visa?

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Question 1: I want to apply for a religious worker visa, but my application has not yet been approved. I have entered the United States on an R-1 visa in the past and did not need a petition at the time. Can I apply for an R-1 visa without the petition because I have already received an R-1 visa?

Since November 28, 2008, the approved petition has been a basic requirement. All R-1 nonimmigrant visa applicants must have a petition approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For more information, please visit the USCIC website.

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Faq - tracking my passport

  1. Why only one passport per envelope? Why not a family discount?
  2. How do I get my passport back after the interview?
  3. What happens to my passport if I am not at home when the messenger comes by?
  4. Do I have to send my passport to my home address?
  5. Do I have to pay a fee for courier services?

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Question 1: Why only one passport per envelope? Why not a family discount?

There is no additional charge for having your passport returned to you by courier. The costs incurred for this are already included in your visa application fee. Due to the security rules of the courier service, separate tracking of each individual passport is required.

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Question 2: How do I get my passport back after the interview?

You will receive your passport at the delivery address you specified when you arranged your interview. You can change this address until 11:59 p.m. on the day of your interview. The cost of the courier service is already included in your visa application fee.

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Question 3: What happens to my passport if I am not at home when the messenger comes by?

The messenger will try to deliver your passport only to the address you have chosen or the address given when you arranged your interview appointment. If this delivery is unsuccessful, e.g. because your mailbox is full or inaccessible, the messenger will leave a notification to that effect. In this case, contact the courier service immediately. If a passport cannot be delivered within 7 business days, it will be returned to the US embassy or consulate. In this case, please contact our call center.

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Question 4: Does my passport have to be sent to my home address?

No. Your passport can also be delivered to your office or other family member.

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Question 5: Do I have to pay a fee for courier services?

No. The cost of courier services is already included in your visa application fee.

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Faq - visa document packages and the modernized immigrant visa (MIT)

  1. I recently had my interview for an immigrant visa at the embassy / consulate and received my passport and visa. However, I did not receive a package of documents in a sealed envelope to take on the plane to the United States. My lawyer / applicant / friend say I can't fly without it. What should I do?
  2. I can't remember whether I submitted my civil and financial records electronically or by email. Is there any other way to tell if my visa has been approved using the paperless process?
  3. I know other people who received immigrant visas and they had to carry documents in a sealed envelope in their hand luggage at the US port of arrival. Why is their process different for them?

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Question 1: I recently had my interview for an immigrant visa at the embassy / consulate and received my passport and visa. However, I did not receive a package of documents in a sealed envelope to take on the plane to the United States. My lawyer / applicant / friend say I can't fly without it. What should I do?

The State Department has started processing some immigrant visa applications electronically. If either the national visa center or the embassy / consulate that conducted your visa interview required you to electronically submit your civil and financial supporting documents via the CEAC portal, then your visa was approved under the new electronic process. Unless the embassy / consulate that interviewed you and issued your visa has NOT specifically informed you that you need to carry documents in a sealed envelope in your hand luggage in order to present it at the US port of arrival. Then you can be assured that your documents have been electronically sent by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS / CBP) to the Immigration Service. When you arrive at immigration control at the port of arrival, the CBP officer will have access to all the necessary information required by the process of arrival in the United States. This new electronic process modernizes the immigrant visa process and entry into the United States.

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Question 2: I cannot remember whether I submitted my civil and financial records electronically or by email. Is there another way to tell if my visa has been approved using the paperless process?

Yes. Look at your visa. If you don't need a package of documents, your visa will have a note in the lower right corner of your picture that says “IV Docs in CCD”.

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Question 3: I know other people who have received immigrant visas and they had to carry documents in a sealed envelope in their hand luggage at the US port of arrival. Why is their process different for them?

The electronic process for some immigrant visa applications began in 2018. It will take several years to convert all different types of immigrant visas into an electronic process. Until the process is complete, some visa holders still have to carry their package of documents with them in their hand luggage at the US port of arrival. These people have not noted “IV DOCS in CCD” in the lower right corner of their visa.

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FAQ - application profile

  1. How do I reset my password?
  2. What should I do if I move to another country after registering on www.ustraveldocs.com but have not yet applied for a visa or if I want to submit a new visa application in a country other than the one previously specified?

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Question 1: How do I reset my password?

Just click on the Forgot Password? Link at the bottom of the page. Enter your email address in User field and click on Send. The email address you have entered must match the one you entered at the beginning of your visa application.

Important: The email with your new password will be sent from [email protected] If you have not received this, please have a look at your e-mails that have been sorted out by the spam filter.

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Question 2: What should I do if I move to another country after I move to www.ustraveldocs.combut have not yet applied for a visa or I would like to submit a new visa application in a different country than the one previously specified?

You do not need to create a new profile if CGI is also responsible for the Visa service in this country. Simply contact us via contact on our website and write us your passport number, UID and email address so that we can enter the country in which you want to apply for a US visa. If you apply for a visa in a country that is not represented by CGI, you will then be asked to create a new profile. As a reminder, the visa fees paid in one country cannot be transferred to another country.

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