USA Visas

The United States is a land of boundless diversity, innovation, and opportunity. From the dazzling skylines of iconic cities to the vast landscapes that stretch from coast to coast, the USA offers a tapestry of experiences that captivate the imagination. Explore a country where cultures collide, landmarks inspire, and the pursuit of dreams knows no limits.

South Africans can apply for several types of visas to visit or stay in the United States, each catering to specific purposes. Some common types of visas include:

  • B-1 Visa (Business Visitor): For individuals travelling to the USA for business purposes, such as meetings, conferences, consultations, and negotiating contracts.
  • B-2 Visa (Tourist Visitor): Intended for tourists, individuals visiting family or friends, or seeking medical treatment in the USA.
  • F-1 Visa (Student Visa): For individuals enrolled in academic programs at accredited U.S. institutions, such as universities or colleges.
  • J-1 Visa (Exchange Visitor): Designed for individuals participating in approved exchange programs, including students, researchers, trainees, and cultural exchange participants.
  • H-1B Visa (Temporary Worker – Specialty Occupation): For skilled professionals employed in specialised fields, such as science, engineering, IT, and finance.
  • L-1 Visa (Intracompany Transferee): Intended for employees of multinational companies who are being transferred to work in a USA branch, subsidiary, or affiliate.
  • E-2 Visa (Treaty Investor): Available to individuals from countries with treaties with the USA, who invest a substantial amount in a business in the USA.
  • O-1 Visa (Extraordinary Ability): For individuals with extraordinary abilities in fields like science, arts, education, business, or athletics.
  • K-1 Visa (Fiancé(e) Visa): For individuals engaged to USA citizens and planning to get married in the USA.
  • R-1 Visa (Religious Worker): Designed for religious workers engaged in religious occupations or vocations in the USA.
  • A-1 and A-2 Visas (Diplomatic and Official): For accredited diplomats and certain representatives of foreign governments.
  • U Visa (Crime Victims): For individuals who have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse due to certain criminal activities and are willing to help law enforcement authorities in investigations or prosecutions.
  • V Visa (Spouse or Child of Lawful Permanent USA Residents): For spouses and children of U.S. lawful permanent residents waiting for their immigration process to be completed.

general requirements

The specific requirements for a South African to obtain a USA visa can vary based on the type of visa you are applying for.

General requirements that often apply to most non-immigrant USA visa applications:
  • Valid Passport: A valid passport with at least six months of validity beyond your intended entry date to the United States.
  • Non-Immigrant Visa Application (DS-160): Complete the DS-160 online application form, which gathers information about your travel plans, personal details, and the purpose of your visit.
  • Visa Application Fee: Pay the non-refundable visa application fee, the amount of which varies depending on the type of visa you are applying for.
  • Passport Photos: Recent passport-sized photos that adhere to the USA. visa photo requirements.
  • Appointment Confirmation: Schedule an appointment at the U.S. embassy or consulate through the respective visa application centre. Bring the appointment confirmation with you.
  • Proof of Ties to Home Country: Provide documentation that demonstrates strong ties to your home country, such as employment, family, property, or educational commitments, to show your intent to return after your visit to the USA.
  • Proof of Funds: Show evidence of financial ability to cover your expenses during your stay in the U.S., including bank statements, pay slips, or sponsorship letters.
  • Travel Itinerary: Present details of your travel plans, including flight reservations, accommodation arrangements, and the purpose of your visit.
  • Supporting Documents: Depending on the type of visa, you might need additional documents such as an acceptance letter from a USA educational institution, a job offer letter, or an invitation letter from a USA host.
  • Visa Interview: Attend a visa interview at the embassy of the USA or consulate. Be prepared to answer questions about your travel plans, intentions, and ties to your home country.
  • Biometric Data Submission: Depending on the specific visa category and the consulate’s procedures, you might need to provide biometric data like fingerprints.

It is important to note that the exact requirements can vary based on the type of visa and individual circumstances. To ensure accuracy and provide up-to-date information, it is recommended to consult the official USA embassy or consulate website and follow the guidelines provided. Seeking assistance from visa experts can also provide you with personalised guidance tailored to your visa application.

general guideline

Turnaround time:
  • Non-Immigrant Visas (e.g., Tourist, Business, Student, Work): The processing time for non-immigrant visas can vary from a few days to a few weeks. On average, it might take around 2 to 6 weeks from the date of submitting your application to receive a decision.
  • Immigrant Visas (e.g., Family-Based, Employment-Based): Immigrant visa processing times can vary significantly based on the visa category, the petitioner’s relationship to the applicant, and visa availability. Processing times can range from several months to over a year.
  • Visa Processing Times for Specific Embassies/Consulates: Different U.S. embassies and consulates around the world may have varying processing times based on their workload and efficiency. Some locations might have shorter processing times, while others might have longer wait times.

It is important to note that these are approximate processing times and can vary based on individual circumstances, the complexity of the application, the consulate’s workload, and any changes in regulations. During peak travel seasons, processing times might be longer due to increased application volumes.

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