Non-immigrant Visa Application Procedures

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The following is a step-by-step guide for applying for a non-immigrant visa. For full instructions, see Apply for a U.S. Visa.

Note:  The following procedures only apply to visa applications that require visa application fee and visa interviews.

  • Mail-in visa application procedures are different. Please see this web page for detailed qualifications and instructions.
  • For application procedures for diplomatic and official visas and Exchange visitor applicants enrolled in a program with program number starting with G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-7 on Form DS2019, please see this web page.

Step 1:  Select a Visa Type

The type of visa you will need and the requirements to apply for that visa depend primarily on your purpose of travel to the United States. Click on the type of visa on this webpage to learn more about the requirements for that visa class.

Step 2:  Prepare the required documents

Please prepare for all necessary documents listed on this page for your visa application.

Step 3:  Complete the Online DS-160 Form

All non-immigrant visa applicants are required to complete the DS-160 online application form.  Please see here for detailed instructions.

The following video shows you the step by step procedures for filing out the DS160 form with useful tips.

Step 4:  Create your profile, pay the visa application fee, schedule an interview appointment

  • In order to pay a visa application fee and schedule an interview appointment, you will first need to create a profile online.
  • Once the application fee payment has been made and the receipt number has been activated in your profile, you can schedule your appointment.
  • After choosing your appointment date and time, please print out your confirmation letter and bring it with you to your interview.

Please follow the steps on this webpage to pay the visa application fee and schedule an interview appointment.

The following video explains about how to pay a visa application fee, a SEVIS fee (Only required for F/M/J visa applicants)  and schedule an interview appointment.

Note:  Student and Exchange Visitor visa (F/M/J) applicants are also required to pay a SEVIS fee. There are exemptions for certain J visa applicants and continuing students who are not required to pay the fee, for detailed information, please see here. To pay a SEVIS fee, please visit https://www.fmjfee.com/.

Step 5:  Visa Interview

Tokyo:  For interview procedures at U.S. Embassy Tokyo, please see this online page.

The following video features what to expect of the day of your interview at the U.S. Embassy Tokyo.

Osaka: For interview procedures at U.S. Consulate in Osaka, please see this instructional video.
Fukuoka: For interview procedures at U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka, please see this instructional video.

Step 6: Passport Return

Your visa will not be issued on the day of your interview. Your passport with your visa will be returned to you by LetterPack Plus. When you receive your visa, please confirm the all of the information is correct.

Following is an Example of a B1/B2 visa:

Note: Delivery of your passport may be delayed if the mailing information registered on your profile is incomplete. For common mistakes and instruction on modifying your address, please see here.

Visa Issuance:

We cannot guarantee in advance that you will be issued a non-immigrant visa. You should not make final travel plans or purchase of non-refundable air tickets until you have received your passport with your approved visa.

Visa Processing Time:
Provided the visa is approved at the time of the visa interview, most applicants receive their visas in about seven days from their interviews. However, we do not guarantee that every case will be processed in the seven days time frame. Longer processing time may also be required in the following situations:

  • in cases where the applicant has failed to submit all the required elements of an application;
  • in cases where the Consular officer requires additional information from the applicant; and
  • in cases where the case requires additional administrative processing. For further information on administrative processing, see Administrative Processing Status Check page.

We recommend prospective travelers submit their applications well in advance. Applicants should refrain from contacting the Embassy Consular Section merely to inquire about the status of their application until the full processing time has expired. We also strongly recommend that applicants not purchase airplane tickets or make nonrefundable travel arrangements until they have actually received their visa; visa applicants should never assume their application will be automatically approved.