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Obtaining a US Non-immigrant Visa

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Once USCIS has approved a visa petition, it is necessary to have the visa stamped into the candidate's passport.

The visa is stamped into the candidate's passport at a local US Embassy or Consulate; this process generally takes from 1 to 3 weeks from the visa interview.

Candidates already in the US may, if they are on a non-immigrant visa (such as a B1/B2 visit visa), be able to apply to the BCIS for adjustment (if changing to immigrant) or change (if changing to other non-immigrant) of status while remaining in the US. This option is not open to candidates who are present in the US under the visa-waiver scheme. Also, if the candidate did not advise of the possibility of a change of status to the relevant US Embassy or Consulate beforehand, USCIS may be reluctant to permit an application for adjustment of status.

Where a visa is being stamped into a passport at a US Embassy, the following documents should be provided:

F-156 FormThis is the standard non-immigrant visa form for entry to the US. In most cases, it must be completed before a visa can be issued.
DS-157 FormCheck Embassy or Consulate regarding who must complete this
I-797Notice of Approval of petition by USCIS, if relevant.
Letter from EmployerNecessary for the B1 in lieu of H-1, 'blanket' L1 and E visas for employees, useful in other cases.
The Applicant's PassportThe passport should be valid for at least six months (not necessary for British Citizens and certain other nationals), and should have two pages free for endorsements.
Passport PhotographThis is the usual passport sized photograph commonly available.
OtherVarious other supporting documentation depending on visa classification and location of Consulate/Embassy