How to Get a Working Visa in the USA

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Obtaining a visa is never an easy task, even if you are eligible. However, you can accomplish the process smoothly and without strife with a little patience and attention to details. The U.S. processes one of the highest volumes of visa applications in the world; therefore, any slight problem with your application can set the process back. If you have a job and are sponsored by a credible employer, then all you have to do is complete the required forms and gather the appropriate documents to present at an application interview.

Wait until you receive your approved I-129 form in he mail. Don't panic if you did not submit one, your employer did for you. All temporary work visa application processes are started by the employer or sponsoring agent. Once you have your job secured, you can't do anything in the visa process until you receive your I-129 approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Schedule a visa interview appointment at the U.S. Consulate General or embassy that has jurisdiction over the region or country in which you reside. You cannot apply for a working visa while you are inside the United States. The appointment must be made online at the website of the consulate or embassy that you are applying through. If you are unsure of which embassy or consulate is appropriate for you, visit for a full listing of locations around the world. Each embassy will list which states, regions or even cities are under their jurisdiction. Remember that at all embassies and consulates, when you make your appointment you will be required to submit your approval receipt number on your I-129 form.

Complete the visa application form. Before you arrive at the interview, you must complete and print the nonimmigrant visa application form DS-156. This form must be completed electronically at the website of the U.S. Department of State (, printed and signed. Some embassies require the use of form DS-160 rather than DS-156. Visit the website of your particular embassy or consulate to learn which form is required of you.

Gather all supplemental documents. These include a passport valid for at least six remaining months, one passport size photograph and proof of binding ties in your home country (proof that you do not intend to abandon for permanent residency in the U.S.). All males between the ages of 16 and 45, and all citizens of the nations of Cuba, Syria, Sudan and Iran must also complete and present form DS-157, (Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application), which asks detailed questions on travel plans.

Attend the interview during which time you will present your application and documents as well as supply an electronic fingerprint scan. You will need to pay the visa processing fee, which was $131.00 in April 2010, at the time of application. There is no guarantee that your visa will be granted during the interview. Depending on your nationality and case, processing can take additional time to complete.



About the Author

Mallory Ferland has been writing professionally since her start in 2009 as an editorial assistant for Idaho-based Premier Publishing. Her writing and photography have appeared in "Idaho Cuisine" magazine, "Spokane Sizzle" and various online publications. She graduated from Gonzaga University in 2009 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and French language and now writes, photographs and teaches English in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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