US eVISA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Table of Contents

Q.1 How long does my passport have to be valid in order to apply for a U. S. visa?

You must possess a passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions).

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Q.2 Do I qualify for the Visa Waiver Program?

You qualify for the US VISA FAQ if you are a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program country, possess a machine-readable passport, are traveling for temporary business or a visit of less than 90 days, meet other program requirements, and have obtained an authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

You must be a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program-eligible country in order to use this program. Permanent residents of VWP-eligible countries do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program unless they are also citizens of VWP-eligible countries. We recommend you visit the Visa Waiver Program website before any travel to the United States to determine if you are eligible for the VWP.

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Q.3 What is the fee for ESTA 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 US$14 fee for ESTA registration. The fee can be paid online using a debit card or any of the following credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover. Third parties (travel agents, family members, etc.) can pay your ESTA fee for you if you do not have the correct type of credit card. If the ESTA registration is denied, the fee is only US$4.

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Q.4 If I travel to the United States without ESTA, what happens?

Visa Waiver Program travelers who have not obtained approval through ESTA should expect to be denied boarding on any air carrier bound for the United States. If you are allowed to board, you can expect to encounter significant delays and possible denial of admission at the U.S. port of entry (i.e., arrival airport). ESTA registration usually only takes a few minutes to complete, authorization often arrives in seconds, and it is valid for two years, unless the traveler’s passport expires within that two-year period. In those cases, ESTA validity is limited to the passport’s validity.

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Q.5 If I am a foreign national living in Norway, can I apply for a nonimmigrant visa in Norway?

Applicants are generally advised to apply in their country of nationality or residence. Any person who is legally present in Norway may apply for a visa in US VISA APPLICATION. However, applicants should decide where to apply based on more than just convenience or delay in getting an appointment in their home district. One thing to consider, for example, is in which consular district the applicant can demonstrate the strongest ties.

There is no guarantee that a visa will be issued, nor is there a guarantee of processing time. If refused, there is no refund of the application fee.

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Q.6 Do all nonimmigrant visa applicants have to come to the U.S. Embassy for an interview?

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

  • Applicants for A-1, A-2 (official travelers on central government business), C-2, C-3 (central government officials in transit on 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 the age of 14
  • Persons 80 years of age or older.

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Q.7 I have a nonimmigrant visa that will expire soon and I would like to renew it. Do I need to go through the whole visa application process again?

If, when you last applied for a visa, you provided a complete set of your fingerprints and are now applying to renew the same category of visa, you may be eligible for the Visa Reissuance Program. Please see the “Renew My Visa” section for further information.

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Q.8 My passport has expired, but the U.S. visa in it is still valid. Do I need to apply for a new visa?

No. If your visa is still valid you can travel to the United States with your two passports (old and new), as long as the visa is valid, not damaged, and is the appropriate type of visa required for your principal purpose of travel. (Example: tourist visa, when your principal purpose of travel is tourism).  Also, the name and other personal data should be the same in both passports. Your nationality, as indicated in the new passport, must be the same as that shown in the passport bearing the visa.

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

If one of your nationalities is not American, you can apply using whichever nationality you prefer, but you must disclose all nationalities to the U.S. Embassy on your application form. U.S. citizens, even dual citizens/nationals, must enter and depart the United States using a U.S. passport.

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Q.10 How can I extend my visa?

The validity of a visa cannot be extended regardless of its type. You must apply for a new visa.

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Q.11 Must I submit my visa application form electronically?

Yes, you must complete the DS-160 and bring a printed copy of the DS-160 confirmation page with you when you go for your interview at the U.S. Embassy.

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Q.12 What is “administrative processing?”

Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after your interview with a consular officer. You are advised of this possibility when they apply. This web page on the Consular Affairs website has more information about administrative processing.

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Q.13 How do I read and understand my visa?

As soon as you receive your visa, check to make sure all your personal information printed on the visa is correct. If any of the information on your visa does not match the information in your passport or is otherwise incorrect, please contact the issuing authority immediately.

The expiration date of your visa is the last day you may use the visa to enter the United States. It does not indicate how long you may stay in the United States. Your stay is determined by the Department of Homeland Security at your port of entry. As long as you comply with the Department of Homeland Security decision on the conditions of your stay, you should have no problem.

Further information about interpreting your visa can be found at the Department of State’s Consular Affairs website.

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Q.14 My visa will expire while I am in the United States. Is there a problem with that?

No. You may stay in the United States for the period of time and conditions authorized by the Department of Homeland Security officer when you arrived in the United States, which will be stamped in your passport, even if your visa expires during your stay. You can find more information here.

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Q.15 What will happen when I enter the United States?

Your airline should give you a blank Customs Declaration form 6059B. Only one Customs Declaration is required for a family traveling together.

A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States, but allows a foreign citizen coming from abroad to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request permission to enter the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States, and determine how long a traveler may stay. At the port of entry, upon granting entry to the United States, the Customs and Border Protection officer will determine the length of stay permitted. Previously, travelers received a paper I-94 (record of admission) with this information. This process is now automated, with some exceptions. The traveler will be provided with a CBP admission stamp on their travel document that shows the date of admission, class of admission, and admitted-until date. Learn more on the CBP Website. If a traveler needs a copy of their I-94 for verification of alien registration, immigration status or employment authorization, it can be obtained from www.cbp.gov/I94. You can review information about admission on the CBP Website.

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Q.16 I did not turn in my I-94 when I left the United States. What should I do?

Previously, foreign travelers granted entry by CBP officials received a paper Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record). This process is now automated, with some exceptions.  If you received a paper Form I-94 or I-94W and failed to turn in your paper Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record to the commercial airline or CBP when you departed the U.S., see the CBP Website for instructions. Do not send your paper Form I-94 or I-94W to the U.S. Embassy General.

If you received an admissions stamp in your passport instead of a paper Form I-94 when granted entry, the I-94 record was created electronically, and a paper copy was not provided to you. CBP will record your departure from the U.S. electronically. Learn more on the CBP Website.

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Q.17 I have questions on submitting my DS-160 and printing the confirmation page. Where can I go for more information?

Our call center is unable to provide assistance on the application form. Any inquiries on completing the DS-160 can be addressed on the following website.

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Q.18 I do not have an internet bank account. Can somebody else pay for me?

If you don’t have internet account you can use another online bank account (For example, your relatives or friends).

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Q.19 I want to book my travel as far in advance as possible. When should I book my travel tickets for?

Applicants are strongly advised not to book their travel until after they receive their passport and new visa. The best way to avoid the unpleasant circumstance of having bought an airplane ticket only to find out that the visa was refused, or that you will need to go through the costly process of changing your tickets to another travel date, is to wait until after your visa arrives.

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Q.20 I changed my name. Is my U.S. visa with my old name still valid?

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

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Q.21 What information do I need to provide about social media, while filling the DS 160 form?

On May 31 2019, the 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 Refusals

  1. What is Section 214(b)?
  2. How can an applicant prove “strong ties?”
  3. Is a denial under Section 214(b) permanent?
  4. Who can influence the consular officer to reverse a decision?

The United States is an open society. Unlike many other countries, the United States does not impose internal controls on most visitors, such as registration with local authorities. Our immigration law requires consular officers to view every visa applicant as an intending immigrant until the applicant proves otherwise. In order to enjoy the privilege of unencumbered travel in the United States, you have a responsibility to prove you are going to return abroad before a visitor or student visa is issued.

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Q.1 What Is Section 214(b)?

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

(b) Every alien (other than a nonimmigrant described in subparagraph (L) or (V) of section 101(a)(15), and other than a nonimmigrant described in any provision of section 101(a)(15)(H)(i) except subclause (b1) of such section) shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for a visa, and the immigration officers, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15). An alien who is an officer or employee of any foreign government or of any international organization entitled to enjoy privileges, exemptions, and immunities under the International Organizations Immunities Act, or an alien who is the attendant, servant, employee, or member of the immediate family of any such alien shall not be entitled to apply for or receive an immigrant visa, or to enter the United States as an immigrant unless he executes a written waiver in the same form and substance as is prescribed by section 247(b).

Our consular officers have a difficult job. They must decide in a very short time if someone is qualified to receive a temporary visa. Most cases are decided after a brief interview and review of whatever evidence of ties an applicant presents. To qualify for a visitor or student visa, an applicant must meet the requirements of sections 101(a)(15)(B) or (F) of the INA respectively. Failure to do so will result in a refusal of a visa under INA 214(b). The most frequent basis for such a refusal concerns the requirement that the prospective visitor or student possess a residence abroad he or she has no intention of abandoning. Applicants prove the existence of such residence by demonstrating that they have ties abroad that would compel them to leave the United States at the end of the temporary stay. The law places this burden of proof on the applicant.

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Q.2 How can an applicant prove “strong ties?”

Ties are the various aspects of your life that bind you to your home country. Strong ties vary from country to country, city to city, and person to person, but examples include:

  • Your job;
  • Your home; and/or
  • Your relationships with family and friends.

While conducting visa interviews, consular officers look at each application individually and consider the applicant’s circumstances, travel plans, financial resources, and ties outside of the United States that will ensure the applicant’s departure after a temporary visit.

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