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You want to live in the United States but you’re getting lost in the administrative maze leading to the desired visa? At Mondassur, we looked at the various embassies and immigration services’ websites and we summed it all up in one page!

going to usa

And as we wish you the best in the United States, we have also included all useful links for your visa application in the article.

Temporary visas (non-immigrant)

Many types of temporary visas exist for travelers going to the United States:

- (B) visitor: business, tourist or medical visa to stay up to 6 months on the territory.

- (F / M) student enrolled in an American school and on SEVIS

- (J) exchange visitor, registered in an exchange program and on SEVIS

- (D) crew member

- (I) media and journalist

- (E1) Treaty Trader, professional from a partner country traveling for reasons linked to international trade.

- (E2) Treaty Investor, investor from a partner country willing to invest in the United States

- (H, L, O, P, Q, R) temporary worker or trainee

- (TN / TD) NAFTA Professional (now, USMCA professional)

- (T) victim of human trafficking

- (U) victim of crime, participating in the investigation or prosecution of the perpetrator.

The process of obtaining the visa is as follows:

-  First of all, you have to collect all the necessary documents for the visa application. It depends on the type of visa requested. These documents include your passport, resume, certificate of available funds, and your travel dates. The certificate of available funds proves that you will be able to support yourself once in the United States. If you are a student, you’ll need your I-20 or DS-2019 form with your SEVIS ID and the address of your host institution. If you are traveling as a temporary worker, you will need your I-129 form and information about the employer and his address.

-  Then fill out the DS-160 form (with photo) and print the confirmation page. Click here to view an example of DS-160 form.

-  Once done, create an account* on the embassy website in your home country. Pay your visa fees and schedule an appointment for an interview with the consular service. Appointments are generally available within 3 to 5 days, but this period may be longer between June and August.

-  The interview is done in English and deals with your reasons for visiting the country and your wishes for the future. Your visa may be refused if you indicate wishing to settle in the country (for immigration, not temporary). You will usually be notified of the visa acceptance or refusal at the end of the interview.

-  The visa is sent by mail within 3 to 5 working days following the interview.

* This link leads you to the website of the US Embassy based in France. Please look for the US Embassy’s website of your home country if you are not a French citizen.

The petition, or Form I-129, must be completed by your future employer and forwarded to US immigration authorities within 6 months before your start date. Once this request is accepted, your employer is notified via the I-797 form.

During your interview with the consular service, you will need to submit the I-129 application receipt and the accepted I-797 form.

The visa fees depend on the type of visa requested:

- Visa without petition (B, C, D, F, I, J, M, TN / T, U) = $ 160

- Visa with petition (working visa: H, L, O, P, Q, R) = $ 190

- E (Treaty Trader or Investor) Visa = $ 205

- Visa K (fiancé of US citizen) = $ 265

There is no reciprocity fee for French nationals. To check the applicable reciprocity fees for your country, visit the US Consular Affairs website.

Please note that visa fees are not refundable, even when the visa is refused.

Immigration Visas

The family reunification visas are: close relatives (IR), family (F), and fiancé (K).

The US citizen or permanent resident in the United States, a member of your family, must complete a petition to support your visa application. For IR and F family visas, the I-130 form will be used for petition to support immigration. For the fiancé visa (K), the future US spouse must complete the I-129F form for a temporary visa application in the United States.

The completed form should be sent to USCIS, the US Immigration Service. Service fees will be paid to USCIS in addition to visa fees.

Once the form is processed by USCIS, you will receive a notification from your home country US Embassy saying your file has been received from the National Visa Center (NVC).

Register* on the embassy website, pay the visa fees and schedule an appointment with the consular service. The interview will then be in English and will seek to determine your motivation to travel to the United States. At the end of it, you will be notified of the acceptance or refusal of the visa. If your request is accepted, the documents will be sent to you by mail within 7 to 10 working days.

* This link leads you to the website of the US Embassy based in France. Please look for the US Embassy’s website of your home country if you are not a French citizen.

The E visa for immigration is intended for foreign workers willing to become permanent residents in the United States. To do so, the employer will have to complete a petition, or I-140 form, and forward it to the USCIS, the US Immigration Service. Once processed by the USCIS and received by the NVC (National Visa Center), the latter will send you the instructions for completing the DS-261 immigration form.

Other documents will be required: passport, ID photos, civil documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate...), and proof of available funds or of financial capacity. The latter must show that you can support yourself and your family if they accompany you to the United States. A medical certificate issued by a panel physician will also be required.

Register* on the US embassy website in your home country, pay the visa fee and schedule an appointment with the consular service. The interview will then be made in English and will seek to determine your motivation to travel to the United States. At the end of it, you will be notified of the acceptance or refusal of the visa. If your request is accepted, the documents will be sent to you by mail within 7 to 10 working days.

* This link leads you to the website of the US Embassy based in France. Please look for the US Embassy’s website of your home country if you are not a French citizen.

Finally, the diversity visa is obtained through lottery. A certain number of visas are granted to countries that have not obtained enough green cards in the previous year. This is regularly the case for France, which allows its citizens to participate in the lottery. Very few places are available, and being selected in the lottery does not mean that the visa itself will be granted. After being selected, you will need to continue the visa application process.

Numerous articles explaining the green card lottery are available on our partner EuropUSA’s website. Do not hesitate to read them to learn more about immigration through the lottery in the United States.

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