How to get your USA Visa


Applying for a USA Visa – This is how it works in a practical way

Which USA Visa should I apply for? Who can apply for a USA visa? And how much does it cost to apply for a USA visa? Everything you should know about a US Visa – a practical guide written from an immigrant.

If you don’t know me yet, then very briefly. My name is Bernhard Rieder and I emigrated from Austria as trainee with my family of five to the USA.

And that without a matriculation examination, without studying and without having won the Green Card Lottery !

How to Apply for a USA Visa

Emigrate USA : If you want to emigrate to the USA, then it is very important to know who can apply for a USA visa for you. Most people who want to emigrate to the United States try by finding a US job.

It is important to know that you cannot apply for a USA visa yourself. If you choose to work with a so-called sponsorship in the USA, then the USA Visa can only be applied for by the employer.

My METHOD OF Emigrating to the USA

Of course, there are a variety of other visa options for the United States. You should definitely know the two most important categories.


The purpose of your planned trip and other facts determine what type of visa is required under the U.S. Immigration Act.

The applicant must ensure that all requirements are met. When an application is made to a U.S. embassy or consulate, a consular officer will decide whether to obtain the U.S. visa or not based on law. Here is an overview of the visa categories.

# 1 – Non-Immigration Visa Categories

  • Apply for USA VISA – how it works in practice

The first USA VISA category is the so-called Non Immigrant Visa Category.

The table below contains many different purposes for temporary travel and the corresponding non-migration visa categories available on this website. Select a visa category below to learn more:

Purpose of TravelVisa CategoryRequired: Before applying for a visa *
Athlete, amateur or professional (only for prize money)B-1(N / A)
Au pair (exchange visitor)JSEVIS
Australian professional specialtyE-3DOL
Border Crossing Map: MexicoBCC(N / A)
business visitorsB-1(N / A)
CNMI transition workers onlyCW-1
Crew memberD(N / A)
Diplomat or foreign government officialON(N / A)
Domestic worker or nanny – must accompany a foreign employerB-1(N / A)
Employee of a designated international organization or NATOG1-G5, NATO(N / A)
exchange visitorJSEVIS
Foreign military personnel stationed in the United StatesA-2NATO1-6(N / A)
Foreigners with exceptional skills in science, art, education, business or athleticsOUSCIS
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional:
Chile, Singapore
H-1B1 – Chile
H-1B1 – Singapore
International cultural exchange visitorQUSCIS
In-house acquirertheUSCIS
Medical treatment, visitors forB-2(N / A)
Media, journalistI(N / A)
NAFTA skilled workers: Mexico, CanadaTN / TD(N / A)
Athletes, artists, entertainersPUSCIS
doctorJ , H-1BSEVIS
Professor, scholarship holder, teacher (exchange visitor)JSEVIS
Religious workerRUSCIS
Special professions in areas that require highly specialized knowledgeH-1BDOL then USCIS
Student: academic, professionalF, MSEVIS
Temporary workers in agricultureH-2ADOL then USCIS
Temporary agency workers who provide other temporary or seasonal services.H-2BDOL then USCIS
Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitorsB-2(N / A)
Training in a program that is not primarily for employmentH-3USCIS
Dealer / contract investorand(N / A)
Transit through the United StatesC(N / A)
Victim of criminal activityUUSCIS
Victim of human traffickingTUSCIS
Non-Immigration Visa (V) for Spouses and Children of Legally Permanent Residence (LPR)V(N / A)
US Renewals – A, G, and NATO Visas(N / A)

* What the Abbreviations Mean – Before you can apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, the following is required:

  • DOL = The US employer must receive a labor certificate for foreign workers from the US Department of Labor before submitting a petition to USCIS.
  • USCIS = Petition or application approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (The required petition or application depends on the category of visa for which you wish to apply.)
  • SEVIS = Program approval entered in the Student Information Exchange System (SEVIS)
  • (NA) = Not applicable – No additional U.S. governmental approval is required before applying for a visa

Important notes:

  • About this chart – It is not a complete list of all travel purposes for the “Visa” category. Select a website for the visa category for more information. The table lists almost all non-immigration visa categories, with the exception of some that are not listed above. Information on all non-immigration visa categories can be found in the Foreign Affairs Handbook, 9 FAM 402.1.
  • Canadian NAFTA Professionals – No visa is required. apply to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the border crossing port.
  • K Non- Immigration Visa – For fiancé (s) and spouses of the United States related to immigration. Refers to immigrant visa categories .

# 2 – Immigrant Visa categories

The following table lists various purposes for immigration to the United States and the corresponding categories of immigration visas for which information is available on this website. Select a visa category below to learn more if you want to emigrate to the USA :

Instant Relatives & Family SponsoredVisa Category
Spouse of a US citizenIR1, CR1
Spouse of a US citizen pending approval of a petition with I-130 immigrantsK-3 *
Marry fiancé and live in the United States. FiancéK-1 *
International adoption of orphans by US citizensIR3, IH3, IR4, IH4
Certain family members of US citizensIR2, CR2, IR5, F1, F3, F4
Certain family members of legitimate permanent residentsF2A, F2B
Employer sponsored – employment
Employment-based immigrants, including (preference group): priority workers [first] professionals with advanced qualifications and persons with exceptional skills [second] professionals and other workers [third] job / investor creation [fifth] certain specific immigrants: [fourth]E1

E3, EW3

C5, T5, R5, I5

S (many **)
Religious workersSD, SR
Iraqi and Afghan translators / interpretersAND
Iraqis who worked for / on behalf of the United States governmentSQ
Afghans who worked for / on behalf of the U.S. governmentSQ
Other immigrants
Diversity Immigrant VisaDV

Important notes:

K Visa – Listed with immigration visas as they are intended for immigration purposes.

About this diagram – This diagram contains a list of many immigration visa categories, but not all immigration visa categories.

** A list of all immigration visa categories can be found in the Foreign Affairs Handbook, 9 FAM 502.1 .


Since January 12, 2009, so-called ESTA approval (ESTA = Electronic System for Travel Authorization) has been required for entry into the USA.

All citizens of those countries that participate in the so-called VISA Waiver Program (VWP) can apply for ESTA approval. You should do this, even if you subsequently want to emigrate to the USA with a VISA.

This electronic system was developed to make entry into the USA easier. It is also possible to make vacation trips or business trips of up to 90 days in the USA without a USA VISA!

This application must be submitted online before you start your trip to the USA. The ESTA system automatically creates a document that is issued as a travel authorization for the USA.

The good thing about it. The ESTA document is valid for two years and therefore does not have to be applied for every single entry into the USA.

The so-called Department of Homeland Security issues the travel permit. Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Australia, Singapore, etc. are participants in the ESTA program.

US Visa Application

As already mentioned, a US Visa Application must be carried out by the respective applicant. In other words, if you have received a sponsorship in the USA, and if the employer wants to apply for an H1B Visa as an example, then this US Visa Application can only be applied for by the US employer.

US Visa Germany

If you are a German citizen then a USA VISA is usually to be submitted to the responsible US embassy. Here you will find a list of all American embassies in Germany .

US VISA status

If you or a company or a US immigration lawyer has submitted a USA VISA application, you can immediately check the status of your application online at any time.

Where? Here is the link to the US Department of State for your status check .

DS 160 form

Every candidate who applies for a visa must also fill out the so-called DS-160 form. The whole thing has to be filled in before you have your interview at the US embassy.

The entire process takes place electronically online. The barcode is required to arrange the interview with the US embassy.

Handwritten applications without the confirmation page from the DS-160 form will not be accepted by the US Consulate!

As soon as you have confirmed the form DS-160, you have indicated that all the information has been entered correctly. If incorrect information is subsequently found, this can result in the entry to the USA being refused.

Here you will find all the information you need to fill out the DS-160 form.