What You Need to Know about a USA Tourist Visa 2021-2022

The U.S. is a great choice for traveling alone, with friends, or with a family. However, most foreigners need to obtain a visa to cross the border. If you’ve never gone through the application process, you may have questions on how to do it by yourself. Follow the post to learn the most important info on where to start.

Who Doesn’t Need a Visa?

Citizens from some counties are in luck, as they can come to the U.S. visa-free. The list includes and isn’t limited to:

  • Ireland 
  • Switzerland 
  • Mexico
  • Germany 
  • Australia
  • Singapore

These and other countries have agreements with the USA that make the border crossing way faster and more convenient. If you see your homeland on the list, you’ll just need to get an electronic permit. Fill in the application at least 3 days before the planned trip. The information you enter is then processed by the U.S. Homeland Security. The service costs $14 and is only available if you have a biometric passport in electronic form (even for toddlers). The permit is usually issued for 2 years but the holder can’t stay in the U.S. longer than 90 days per trip.

B1/B2: What is the Difference?

Depending on the purpose of your visit, there are 2 types of short-term visas:

  • B1 – for business meetings, professional events, or legal proceedings
  • B2 – for tourism, visiting friends/relatives, medical treatment, non-profit events

In most cases, travellers are issued a combined visa.

Getting the Visa in 3 Steps

I. Once you know what visa to apply for, start preparing the documents. You’ll need:

  • The international passport
  • A filled-in DS-160 form
  • Proof of fee payment ($160)
  • A high-quality visa photo that meets the specifications
  • Proof of financial solvency (a bank account statement)

The list is subject to change. Check the requirements via the Department of State to make sure you don’t miss something important.

II. Book an appointment at the Embassy. If you’ve never applied for a visa before, you’ll have to submit your biometrics as well.

III. Attend an interview. It’s a standard procedure during which the consular officer will ask questions about your trip. If you’re not proficient in English, use an interpreter’s services.

That’s it. Wait for the application to be finalized. You’ll get a notification when it’s ready. You can receive your passport via a signed post courier if you’d like. 

Can the Photo be Taken with a Smartphone?

Yes, it can. But you can’t attach it to the application without adjusting it to the right format first. Use these tips to make sure your photo meets the official specifications:

  1. Take the pic, with the camera 1.5-2 meters away from your face. Use a tripod or ask someone to take the picture. The room must be well-lit.
  2. Make sure to have several takes and then choose the best shot. Upload it to the visa photo editing service. The online tool processes the file in a couple of minutes, making it fully compatible with the requirements.
  3. Pay for the service $7USD and get a perfect image in a digital format with a template for printing.

This method is faster, cheaper, and more convenient than spending time and money on the commute to the offline photo center alternative.

Traveling to the USA in 2021-2022: New Rules

All foreigners crossing the U.S. borders must provide a vaccination certificate of the WHO-approved vaccine, with the last shot taken at least 14 days before the trip. It’s also necessary to show a negative PCR test taken 3 days before boarding the airplane. Travelers under 18 years of age can enter without a vaccination certificate.

Keep Safe During the Trip

  • Avoid touching surfaces without gloves
  • Keep a social distance of 2 meters and wear a mask to minimize the chances of catching the virus
  • Use a sanitizer for your hands and wash your grocery
  • Get medical insurance that covers the cost of treating the coronavirus disease
  • Take the first-aid kit and a thermometer (just make sure the meds are legal in the U.S.

Getting a US tourist visa is easy. Just prepare the documents, successfully complete your interview and don’t forget to bring a vaccination certificate along. Take a PCR test before the trip and remember about the safety rules when traveling!

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