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Getting Nonimmigrant Visas

Aliens seeking nonimmigrant visas (NIVs) must file an application with a US consular post outside the US The application includes Form DS-156 Nonimmigrant Visa Application, special supplements if required, the applicant's passport, photograph, application fees, evidence of approved petition or certification when appropriate, and supporting documentation establishing eligibility for the type of visa sought by the alien.

Approved Petitions from BCIS must be received for several types of visas, such as H,L,O,P, or TN-2 before a US consulate abroad will issue a nonimmigrant visa. Aliens seeking admission into the US as students in the F and M categories or as exchange visitors in the J class, must obtain a certificate of eligibility from the sponsoring institution.

The next step involves a visa interview, unless waived. The consular officer will review the application documents submitted, and information received during the interview to adjudicate the alien's eligibility for the visa classification applied for. The consular officer will also make security checks on CLASS, the State Department's visa look-out system, or through other means, to verify the alien's eligibility for the visa. The consular officer will then decide whether or not to issue the nonimmigrant visa.

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