Visa to the United States of America

It’s time to write sagas about the intricacies of obtaining a visa to the United States of America: everything here came together – both the unreasonable nitpicking of consular workers even about the most “strong” packages of documents, and the unexpected ease in obtaining the coveted stamp in the passport for the most emigrant-minded tourists. The peculiarity of applying for an American visa is the absence of a single list of documents, according to the principle “bring everything, and then we’ll figure it out.” In general, the goal of the tourist is to convince the consulate that he cannot imagine life without the Motherland, and no benefits of capitalism will undermine this filial love. A ghostly bonus is a multiple-entry visa for a year by default and the possibility of obtaining a 3-year “cartoon”.

  • JIBIN123: Entry requirements of country United States, including visa application, customs regulations and import export prohibitions.

A visa to the United States is always required, even if you are flying with a transfer and are not going to get off the plane. The package of documents for a transit visa is no less than for a regular tourist visa.

  • LIUXERS: Culture and traditions of country United States, including language, religion and holidays.

Those who are going to visit the States in the near future should take into account that the issuance of visas is limited (as of 2019).

Tourist visa to the United States of America: general information

Do they give multivisa? give at least a year
Term of receipt from 3 working days; waiting for an interview for B1 / B2 – from 50 calendar days;
Validity limit 6 months from the end of the trip
  • The cost of a regular visa


  • Express visa

not issued

  • Visa fees

US visa documents

Required documents for obtaining a tourist visa:

  1. international passport

Passport with at least one blank page, valid for at least 6 months after the end of the trip.

  1. Photocopy of the passport

An old international passport (or its copy), if it had visas from the USA, Canada, Great Britain or Schengen countries for the last 5 years.

  1. Photo

Photo 5×5 cm, photo requirements see below (photos must be provided by all applicants, including children entered in the parents’ passport)

  1. Questionnaire

Filled in at online questionnaire in English in the form DS-160 (men aged 16 to 45 years also need to complete the application in the form DS-157). The DS-160 Application Confirmation Page must be printed on a laser printer: it contains information about the applicant, encrypted in an individual barcode, which must be legible. If the code is not clearly printed, there will be a problem with finding and identifying information, which will lead to the need to re-register for an interview and submit documents

  1. Receipt

Consular fee payment receipt

  1. Help from the place of work

Certificate of employment with the prescribed position and salary;

  1. Bank statement

The extract must be fresh, not older than 6 months;

  1. sponsorship letter

In addition to the listed documents, students – a certificate from the educational institution, a copy of the student card. Pensioners – a copy of the pension certificate. And also to all of them and to those who are not working – an application for sponsorship, a certificate from the sponsor’s work, a copy of his internal passport and a document confirming the degree of kinship.

  1. Additionally

Evidence that the tourist will leave the United States at the end of the stay (information about the presence of immediate relatives in the Russian Federation (husband / wife, children), documents confirming the presence of property in the Russian Federation, information about the goals and objectives of the trip (tourist voucher, hotel reservation).

  1. Minors

For minors, a copy of the birth certificate must be provided. If children travel to the United States without parents or with one parent, you must provide a notarized permission from both or from one parent, respectively.

Documents can be drawn up in both English and Russian.

American laws do not define an official list of documents required to obtain a visa, so it is very important to provide the consulate with the most complete package of documentation confirming a strong financial position, as well as family and business ties.

Do not forget to take out medical insurance for the entire duration of the trip. Although the policy is not asked when entering the country, it is at least unreasonable to travel without it.

It is better to collect documents with some excess: the more all kinds of certificates confirming the adequate level of income of travelers and their blood attachment to the Motherland, the better.

In some cases, consular officers can check the applicant’s visa account on social networks.

Visa processing for children

Children under 14 do not need to be interviewed, but the process depends on whether the parent has a valid US visa. If available, documents can be submitted via Pony Express: pay the consular fee, fill out the DS-160 form in the name of the child, create an account on the embassy website, carefully answer the questions in section 7, receive a letter confirming the submission of the application without an interview, print it and bring it to the office. You must have a passport and a photo of the child, a photocopy of the parent’s visa, documents for a visa of the required category and their inventory.

Teenagers over the age of 14 must be accompanied by their parents during the interview.

If the parent does not have a visa and he signs up for an interview, the child should be listed as a dependent family member. But you do not need to bring him to the consul: it is enough to provide his passport and a printed page confirming the interview.

Photo Requirements

First rule: The photo must be taken within 6 months prior to the application. If the previous visa has expired and a new one is needed, you will have to take pictures again. The facial expression is neutral, the gaze is directed directly at the camera. The head should fit completely into the frame and occupy 50-70% of the image area.

The photograph itself is square, 5×5 cm in size, with a resolution of 600×600 to 1200×1200 pixels. The background is white or close to white. Casual clothing: no uniform, headgear (except for those worn for religious reasons, and even then not hiding the face), headphones and glasses. People who wear hearing aids or similar devices at all times are allowed to take pictures with them.

US visa fingerprinting

Since 2003, the US Embassy in Moscow has been scanning the fingerprints of all applicants between the ages of 14 and 79. Usually during the interview: digitally without the use of ink. For applicants who do not need an interview, a visit to the embassy or consulate is scheduled for a fingerprint procedure. In order to freely enter the territory, the applicant must present an invoice from Pony Express and a valid civil passport.

If the applicant has cuts, calluses or other temporary injuries to the fingertips, they will have to reschedule the date of the procedure and report to the embassy when everything has healed.

However, since November 2008, there have been some indulgences regarding the general scanning of “fingers”. Applicants who have already undergone the 10-fingerprinting process at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates General in Russia may be exempted from interview and fingerprinting upon subsequent visa application, subject to the following conditions:

  • re-application is made no later than 11 months from the date of expiration of the previous visa;
  • the applicant is applying for a visa of the same category as the expired visa;
  • there is no Clearance Received mark on the previous visa;
  • the visa application takes place in the applicant’s country of permanent residence and complies with the requirements of United States immigration law.

Consular fee – 160 $

The consular fee for all non-immigrant visas, except for workers, is 160 USD. Applicants for work visas will have to fork out for 190 USD. The fee is paid in ruble equivalent before submitting documents to the consulate at the offices of the Russian Post or using a bank card. Charged in full from each applicant, including children entered in the parents’ passport. In the event of a successful transaction, a receipt will be sent to the email address provided by the payer containing the identification code required to make an appointment for an interview at the consulate.

Filling out a visa application

The electronic application form DS-160 is filled in English directly at the office. US Embassy website. Such an application contains all the data entered by the applicant, this information will be encrypted in a barcode.

If there is no user activity, the form filling session will time out after 20 minutes. To avoid data loss, it is worth saving the file with the application to your computer more often. When submitting to the site, you need to upload not only the DS-160, but also a photo that meets all the requirements. After filling out the form, a page with a barcode will be generated, which must be printed and brought to the interview with the rest of the documents.

Application procedure

After paying the consular fee (no earlier than 2 working days) and filling out an electronic application in the form DS-160, you must sign up for an interview on the embassy website. For registration, you must specify the numbers of the international passport, the document confirming the payment of the consular fee and the 10-character barcode from the DS-160 submission confirmation page.

Passports with a visa are delivered to the address indicated at the time of registration or stored until required by Pony Express, the cost of its services is included in the consular fee. You can track the status online and by calling the call center. To obtain a passport, the original of any identification document and a printed letter with an invitation to an interview are required.

Visa processing time

As of July 2018, the waiting time for an interview for applicants for tourist visas in Moscow and Yekaterinburg is 300 calendar days, in Vladivostok – 50 days. For student visas in Moscow they invite you after 2 calendar days, in Yekaterinburg – after 60 days, in Vladivostok – after a day. If the conversation with the consul goes well, the documents will be processed fairly quickly: from 3 working days. If you do not need to pass an interview (for example, upon re-entry), a visa is issued in 7-30 days.

A valid American visa may be in an already expired passport: at the border you will need to show both the old passport with a visa and a new, valid one.

Visas to the USA in 2018

Now only the Moscow embassy and consulates in Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok work in Russia. The queues for an interview are gigantic: in order to get to the consul in the capital, a tourist needs to wait almost a year or hope for a miracle. So for those who apply for a visa for the first time, it is better to think about a trip to neighboring countries – Latvia, Georgia or Lithuania. Holders of visas that expired less than 11 months ago can expect to receive a new one within a month.

The most common type of visas issued are “cartoons” for up to 3 years for tourism, business and education purposes.

According to statistics, every 10th Russian is denied an American visa. At risk are young, single and childless boys and girls with modest salaries, applicants for student visas who do not speak English, residents of the Stavropol, Krasnodar Territories, Dagestan and areas close to “hot spots”. Also in doubt are persons who previously violated the deadlines for returning from the States, were denied a visa, or are traveling to relatives who immigrated from Russia to the United States. The absence of Schengen visas and the discrepancy between personal data and answers at the interview will also alert the consul. And if a forgery of documents is discovered, you will never see permission to enter.

Where can I travel with a valid US visa?

With a multiple open visa in the United States, you can visit a number of other countries with a visa regime:

  • Albania – no more than 90 days in a period of 180 days, the visa must be used at least once to travel to the United States;
  • Bermuda – no more than 90 days;
  • Mariana Islands – at the time of entry to the islands, the visa must be valid for at least another 6 months;
  • Marshall Islands – at the time of entry to the islands, the visa must be valid for at least another 6 months;
  • Mexico – no more than 180 days;
  • Turks and Caicos – the visa must be used at least once to travel to the United States;

Visa to the United States of America