Philadelphia Employment Law News

6 Steps to Get a U.S. Visa

We wrote before that many area employers have hired foreign workers to perform jobs like Jersey Shore lifeguard and chocolate factory worker.

However, if you are not from this country, getting a job in the United States isn't as easy as simply interviewing for a job and getting hired. Instead, you have to take steps to get a U.S. visa to ensure that you can legally remain in the country and work.

Generally, there are six basic steps to getting a visa:

  1. Make an appointment with your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate. This should be done as soon as you know you will be traveling to the United States. Embassy or Consulate workers will get your visa application process started.

  2. Ask about any required fees and payment options. You generally have to pay a visa application fee before the initial appointment.

  3. Prepare your documentation. Gather and have ready a valid passport, appropriate applications for your visa type, documents detailing employment, financial status and reason for travel, proof that you have paid fees, and any additional information or forms as indicated by the consular officer.

  4. Submit your application. After gathering all the necessary materials, you will need to submit your passport and supporting documents.

  5. Additional reviews may be required. Be aware that your information will be checked against an international security database. If a red flag is raised and additional reviews are required, your visa application could be delayed for weeks. Additional reviews may include more interviews, requests for more information, and fingerprinting.

  6. More steps upon arrival at port-of-entry. Before landing or departing, you will complete an arrival/departure form. You may also be asked to sit through a brief interview and verification of paperwork by a U.S. official. Luggage is also subject to inspection by U.S. Customs.

These are just six general steps to get a U.S. visa. Depending on many different factors like employment, income, etc., your visa application may be more or less complicated. You may want to contact an immigration attorney if you plan on coming to the United States from a foreign country.

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