Applying for a United States Visa is a harrowing experience. When it comes down to it, the decision to grant or deny you a visa is left to a single consular official who has the authority to grant or deny you. They are mandated to give you a reason for a denial, but these are very ambiguous criteria that can be interpreted any way the CO sees fit. This is true for immigrant visas and non-immigrant visas. True, a non- immigrant visa is a much shorter process, and much less costly, so a denial does not necessarily ruin your life, but imagine working hard for 6 months minimum, maybe 2 years or more to complete an immigrant visa application only to be denied based on the judgment of one person.
Visitor Visa Process in a Nutshell:
When you apply for a Visitor Visa, or Non-Immigrant Visa, usually you have to set up an appointment months in advance. You must have a equivalent minimum balance in your bank account of $1500.00 USD. You fill out the visa application and bring it with you to your appointment. If you are a man between the ages of 25 and 45 you must fill out two forms.
You turn over your paper work upon arrival and then wait for your name to be called. When your name is called you simply walk up to a window that resembles a bank tellers counter or a ticket counter window, just feet away from the next window-no privacy whatsoever-and attempt to answer tricky questions thrown at you from a smirking official behind a pane of glass. Then they either say no, or hand you a pink piece of paper, which is a yes, or tell you to sit down and call you up over and over again until they are satisfied they know who you are. Then they give you the good or bad news.
Immigrant Visa Process:
Because there are many different kinds of Family, or Immigrant Visas, this article cannot hope to give instructions in a nutshell. The general picture is one of waiting, waiting, waiting for decisions to be made in each office about each different form that makes up your application. Each visa type has a different set of instructions that must be followed precisely in order to avoid having your application returned for more information or corrections, or worse refused. Depending upon what country you are from and what type of visa you are applying for, this process could take as little as 6 months or as long as ten years, or more. If your record in the United States or your home country is tarnished or blemished in any way, expect to need an attorney to help you, and expect to wait, in agony and frustration for at least 2 years for an answer.