Applying for a Visa to The United States
To apply for a Tourism/Visit Visa (B-2) you will need to follow the instructions found on the U.S. Department of State website. If you are from a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program, you may not need a visa to enter the U.S.
A few things to keep in mind:
- You will need to have a passport valid for at least 6 months past the date you plan to enter the U.S.
- You will need to show evidence of ties to your home country. Some suggestions can be found at this link.
- Interviews and processing time are different in each country. Make sure to visit your country’s U.S. consulate website for the approximate time frame or visit http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/wait-times.html/ for a calculator.
- Be prepared to pay the visa application fee of $160 USD. There may also be an issuance fee depending on your country.
- Even if you are granted a visa, you will still need to pass the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Some helpful tips and videos can be found on the USCBP website.
Letters of Invitation
We are happy to provide Visa letters of invitation on request once your registration is paid in full. To request a visa letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that the visa letter of invitation is not typically used in determining your eligibility for a visa to travel to the United States.
Please consult with your country’s U.S. Consulate to determine how early you should apply for an interview. You will need to request your visa letter at least 1 month prior to your scheduled interview.
We will need the following information for each person requiring a visa letter:
- Copy of main page of passport
- Full legal name as it is listed on passport
- Physical home address
- Expiration date of passport (must be valid at least 6 mos from exit of US)
Follow-up Once Visa is Granted
You will also need to provide us with the following as soon as you are able so that we can alert U.S. Department of Homeland Security of your entry into the U.S.:
- Mobile phone number or way to contact you once in the U.S.
- Primary language spoken (if not English)
- Copy of your flight itinerary including your first port of entry to the United States and which airport you will arrive at in Houston (there are two major airports)
- Copy of U.S. visa and dates of validity
If your visa is not granted, your registration fee may be refunded if you let us know by July 30, 2016. After that date we are not able to issue refunds.
Tips for the Visa Application Process
- Consular officers want assurance:
- that applicants are telling the truth
- have a good reason to travel
- have a residence outside of the U.S
- and have a reason to come home.
- Consular Officers Are Always Right! Even the President of the United States cannot order a consular officer to grant a visa.
- Answer only the question that is asked. Do not give more information than requested.
- Answer all questions truthfully.
- “I am attending an assembly of Methodists, Wesleyans, Nazarenes, Uniting and United Churches.”
- If you have another passport that shows that you have gone to another country and returned home, take it with you. It will help demonstrate that you will return home.
- If you are in school and have a transcript that shows that you are nearing the completion of your studies, take it with you.
- If you own property or have a business, take supportive documents with you to demonstrate that you have reasons to return home.
- Under U.S. law, consular officers assume that you will not return home. Prove them wrong.
- When people return from the U.S., they should go back to or communicate with the embassy or consular office and show themselves to the visa officer and say, “I have returned.” This is important for establishing an effective relationship for the individual and for the connection.
The following links are provided by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Homeland Security to provide assistance in understanding visas and entry to the United States. We recommend that you always check with the local consular office in your country to determine the best course of action for you.
- U.S. Visitor Visa Overview – http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visitor.html
- About Visa Expiration Dates – http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/visa-expiration-date.html
- Frequently Asked Questions about U.S. Visas – http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/frequently-asked-questions.html
- Tips for gaining entry to the U.S. – http://www.dhs.gov/how-do-i/visit-united-states
- Checklist for documents to satisfy Customs and Border Protection