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As a specialized agency for US visas, we inform you below about the different visas for the USA and explain where and how to apply for a USA visa.

Should you need assistance in applying for a visa, feel free to contact us.

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Requirements to apply for a USA visa

First of all, you should know that not every person is eligible to apply for a visa to the USA. Therefore, the first question you should ask yourself is whether or not you need a US visa. You may not need to apply for a US visa if

  • you have a valid US visa in your passport,
  • you are participating in the visa waiver program with ESTA, or
  • you hold US citizenship or a Green Card.

A visa allows applicants to stay in the United States for various purposes and to different duration. Whether or not you need a visa, and if so, which one, usually depends first on

  • the specific reason for your entry and
  • the length of your stay.
Visaantrag

 

Other factors that determine which US visa you need to apply for may include:

  • your nationality,
  • previous entry behavior,
  • residence frequency or
  • potential immigration law problems in the past.

Potential visa applicants do not always find it easy to keep track of more than 40 visa categories – we can help you with this!

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Where do I apply for a visa to the USA?

Application at the US consulate

Depending on the visa category, the application process can be divided into several steps. At the end, however, there is usually the consular procedure in the US consulates worldwide for the actual receipt of the visa in the passport – regardless of whether a work visa, visitor visa or student visa is applied for.

Responsible for the issuance of a US visa (visa stamp) are exclusively the consular sections of the US embassies worldwide, i.e. outside the United States. In Germany, for example, you can apply for a US visa at the US consulate in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main or Munich. In Austria, the US Embassy in Vienna is responsible and in Switzerland you must contact the US embassy in Bern.

Depending on the size of the country, applicants can choose from several application locations. In Mexico, for example, there are currently 10 US consular posts. Please have a look at the list of all US representations worldwide.

Which US consulate has jurisdiction?

Generally, US visas are applied for in the country where applicants currently have their center of life. Please note that not all US consulates are responsible for all visa categories and there are – depending on the country of application – regional responsibilities.

In Germany, applicants can visit the three US consulates in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main and Munich, regardless of where their place of residence is located. However, immigrant visas or E visas, for example, are processed exclusively by the US Consulate General in Frankfurt am Main. So find out in good time which location is responsible for you.
Furthermore, not all US consulates worldwide are automatically responsible for US visa application procedures. For example, the German US consulates in Hamburg, Düsseldorf or Leipzig do not issue US visas.

How do I apply for a visa to the USA?

The application channels are manifold. Depending on the visa category, the application process to obtain a US visa may include several application steps. For example, for certain work visas, such as L-1 or H-1B, a petition must always be filed in advance by the US employer with US immigration authorities in order to obtain a work permit (Approval Notice). Only after receiving this document can a visa be issued at the US consulate.

In any event, all persons who are outside the United States and plan to stay in the United States must comply with the consular application process to the actual receipt of the U.S. visa by stamp in the passport go through (exception: Visa Waiver Program / ESTA).

Visa issuance by US embassies and consulates worldwide is now highly standardized, but there may be regional differences depending on the country of application. Applicants can find information on the respective websites of the US missions worldwide that issue US visas.

Consular procedure

In any case, all nonimmigrant visa applicants must, in addition to completing the online application DS-160 create a visa profile on the website of the respective visa information service for the purpose of making an appointment and paying the visa processing fee. For the US consulates in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the service provider is CGI Federal Inc. responsible. In other countries, e.g. Great Britain, Mexico, etc., there is a second visa information service.

Once the DS-160 online application (incl. digital passport photo) has been submitted in a first step, the online profile can be created via the corresponding service provider in a second step.

Please note that the following is an example of the application process for US consulates in Germany.

Postal application without an interview

Under certain conditions, applicants can also apply for their US visa by post through the so-called Interview Waiver Programme without having to attend an interview at the consulate.

Prior to the introduction of this programme, all applicants aged 14 to 79 had to appear in person at the US consulate. However, the programme, also known as the Visa Reissuance Program, does not automatically grant a visa. Applicants can be summoned for an interview despite applying by post, with the decision being made by the US official processing the application.

Decisive requirements for submitting a visa application by post include not only certain visa categories or the place of application, but also a history of visa refusals or criminal convictions.

Personal advice on US visas Our experts will be happy to advise you on your request
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Our services

We advise you on the choice of the appropriate visa category and take over the complete processing for you or your company.

  1. First contact: We clarify which visa or which visa types are applicable in your case.
  2. Worldwide support: We will assist you with your request, no matter where you are located.
  3. Assignment: We send your HR department and the respective employees all the necessary documents and checklists.
  4. Visa processing: We take care of checking, correcting and compiling the application documents.
  5. Visa Interview Preparation: We will disburse the visa application fee for you and arrange the visa interview appointment. In addition, each applicant will be prepared by telephone for the formalities and procedures at the US Consulate.
  6. Visa issuance: We check your visa for accuracy and prepare your employees for entry into the USA by telephone.

Interview date

The interview appointment must be made either online via the visa profile or by telephone via the call center of the US consulates at +49 (0)322 2109 3243. If you make the appointment online via your visa profile, you have the possibility to view and book the still available appointments of the US consulates in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main and Munich in a calendar.

You will then receive an appointment confirmation including proof of payment of the visa application fee. Appointment postponements or cancellations are possible. However, if you postpone your appointment more than twice, you will have to pay the visa fee again. There is also an option within the visa profile to apply for an emergency appointment (e.g. family, medical or work emergencies).

Procedure of the visa interview at the consulate

At the agreed appointment at the respective US consulate, you must then personally present all necessary documents to the official (exception: Visa Reissuance Program or applicants under 14 and over 79 years of age).
Depending on the visa category, the application documents differ considerably. However, what must always be presented as a minimum requirement are the following application documents:

Schriftzug vom Consulate General of the United States
  • passport
  • appointment confirmation
  • DS-160 confirmation page or barcode sheet of the submitted DS-160 form

Please inform yourself in time which further documents are necessary or useful to prepare your visa application in the best possible way. We will be happy to assist you with your visa application.

On the day of the visa appointment, your documents will be reviewed, you will be briefly interviewed and, as a rule, the officials will decide directly whether or not to approve your visa for the USA. If the decision is positive, your passport will be retained at the US consulate and, after a processing time of approximately three to seven days, will be sent by registered mail to the shipping address you provided in your online profile with the visa included. A personal pickup is usually not possible, but can be requested in individual cases and in urgent emergencies.

How long does the visa application process take?

It is difficult to make a general statement about how long it takes to apply for a visa to the USA will take. Depending on the visa, processing times can vary from three to five weeks to seven months. You should therefore find out in good time which visa category is suitable for your purpose of stay and which application procedure is associated with it, in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises in your time planning. How much time you have to plan for the application of a US visa usually depends on the following components:

  1. Which visa category is applied for?
  2. At what time does the visa application take place?
  3. Other factors that may affect the visa application timeline.

Please note that US officials cannot take individual travel plans into consideration. For this reason, it is recommended to apply for a visa before booking a flight.

1. Which visa category is applied for?

Not all US visa applications are the same. Depending on the purpose of stay, there are over 40 categories available to US travelers, which vary significantly by

  • effort,
  • application procedure,
  • official responsibilities and
  • costs.

A variety of US visas, such as visitor visas (B-1 / B-2), can be applied for directly at US consulates during a personal interview appointment.
Visa interview appointments are available quicky, depending on the country of application, i.e. within approximately three to five weeks. If the application is approved, the passport will be sent within one week.

Please note, however, that some visa categories, for example many US work visas, are subject to elaborate procedural steps before a consular interview appointment to issue the visa can even take place. Depending on the category and the processing times of the USCIS service centers, this pre-application step can take an additional two to three months (or even longer).

2. At what time does the visa application take place?

US consulates around the world can also experience busy periods. For example, experience has shown that more US visa applications are filed during peak travel periods (summer and winter months) with the same staff. In addition, during the summer months, consulates are well utilized by prospective students in the US (F-1 visas). The usual waiting time for a free interview appointment of about one to two weeks can increase to up to three weeks during these times. Travelers to the USA should therefore start their visa application early during the high season. Due to their busy schedules, U.S. consulates are generally unable to accommodate individual applicants (aside from emergency situations).

The official website of the U.S. Department of State provides visa waiting times at US consulates at US consulates.

3. What other factors influence the time frame of the visa application?

In addition to the type of visa as well as the time of application, other circumstances may have an impact on the visa application period:

  • a) Administrative Processing / Security Check
    Normally, visa applicants receive an acceptance or rejection of their visa application from US officers directly on the day of the interview. However, the consular officers also have the option of initiating so-called administrative processing - an additional, internal security check of the applicant. n this case, the passport is often first returned to the persons and the official informs the applicants that they will be contacted as soon as a further examination of the case has been completed. As part of the security check, the applicant's data is thoroughly reviewed again using various security databases. Unfortunately, these internal procedures can be very time-consuming – in some cases, applicants have to wait several months for the result, which significantly delays the application process. During this time, entering the United States, e.g. under the Visa Waiver Program, is not allowed. This often affects visa applicants of certain nationalities, persons with criminal records, individuals with previous immigration law violations, or persons working in sensitive areas.
  • b) Inadequate or insufficient application documentation
    It is not uncommon for visa applicants to be inadequately prepared for the consular appointment, either in terms of insufficient application documents or insufficient substantiation of the application's content. The consular officer is free to request further documents or evidence from the applicant. Usually, on the day of the appointment, the person will receive an information slip indicating which documents or details need to be submitted subsequently. Usually, these can be sent to the US consulate by e-mail. Only after reviewing and assessing this data will the officer then make a final decision, which can lead to not inconsiderable delays in the visa issuance. It is therefore more important than ever to clarify which documents are required in good time and depending on the individual application situation.

If the visa application is done through our agency, we can assure you the fastest possible processing and make the application process as easy, efficient and fast as possible for you.

Costs of a visa application

Within the visa profile you can make the payment of the visa fee (please note that the application fee will not be refunded if your visa is refused). The fee can be paid

  • online bank transfer
  • debit card (not credit card) or
  • in cash at a bank

As a rule, you will be notified by e-mail that payment has been received and your account has been activated so that the appointment can be made.

The costs for applying for a US visa are as follows:

  • Consular visa processing fee
    US authorities such as the US Consulate or the US Immigration Service charge processing fees for US visa applications.
  • Fees for US Visa Service
    Depending on the visa category, i.e. depending on the time and effort required for processing, we charge a fixed flat rate for counselling on your visa case and processing your visa application.
  • Additional costs for translation etc. may apply.

We provide detailed information on visa costs for the USA on our website.

Visa validity

A US visa is not valid indefinitely, but has an expiration date. The maximum validity period depends on several factors, such as the visa category applied for and the nationality of the visa applicant.

Apply for a US visa with us

Compared to other countries, applying for a US visa involves a relatively large amount of effort. In addition, the requirements for the respective visa category must always be checked on a case-by-case basis – this then results in the different

  • application procedures,
  • application documentation,
  • costs and
  • application times.

Our visa experts are familiar with the current visa regulations for the USA through daily consultations and case processing and can therefore guarantee you optimal support with your visa application. Every year we help more than 750 companies and individuals with the

  1. selection of the right visa and
  2. and the subsequent application.

We are particularly specialized in the needs of companies operating in the United States.

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