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How To Apply for a U.S. Visa from Abroad

A visa is a document that allows you to enter and reside or visit in the United States for a set period for a specific purpose. For most people entering the United States, obtaining a visa is important before entering the United States. You usually won’t be able to enter unless you have the right visa, but you can apply for a U.S. visa from abroad.

How to Apply for a U.S. Visa from a Different Country

You must generally go to the U.S. consulate or embassy near you. This is most easily done in your home country — simply visit the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country and apply. If you’re outside of your home country, this is known as applying from a “third country.” It’s still possible to apply, but if you encounter problems in the application process you might need to remain in that country for weeks until the matter is resolved. You may even need to return to your home country to attempt to apply again if your request is denied by the consulate or embassy.

What Is the Application Process Like?

The process for applying for a U.S. visa from abroad will depend on the type of visa you are trying to obtain. For example, if you’re applying for a student visa, you’ll need to show you’ve been admitted to a school in the United States. If you’re applying for a work visa, you’ll need to get a job offer in the United States. Your U.S. employer will have to sponsor you for a work visa and will need to file paperwork on your behalf with USCIS (U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services). Once you’ve received approval from the USCIS, only then can you seek a visa.

Most of the time, applying for U.S. visa will require a visit to a consulate or embassy, the completion and filing of paperwork, the submission of any documentation needed and a visa interview. The visa interview is to determine the accuracy of your application and your links to your home country. The aim is to ensure you will return to your home country once your visa expires. You may be asked about your intentions to visit the United States and you may be asked about your finances and your relationships. For example, you may be asked whether you have children, what your income and career are and even if you are seeing anyone in the United States.

You will get an appointment to attend your visa interview. Show up neatly dressed and be sure to request an interpreter ahead of time if you don’t speak English. Be prepared to answer questions accurately and honestly.

What if I Have Visa Questions?

Applying for U.S. visas from different countries can create many questions, especially if your situation is somehow unique. If you’d like legal representation or legal help as you apply, contact the Austin, Texas, law offices of Morales & Sparks to speak to one of our attorneys.