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How Long Does My Passport Have to Be Valid to Apply for a U.S. Visa?

May 5, 2022
  By Saman Movassaghi

You want to apply for a visa for the United States but aren’t sure if you meet the requirements, especially when it comes to your passport. Before you try to get a visa, make sure that you find out about the process and what you can do to ensure it goes smoothly. Here’s some more information.

How Long Your Passport Has to Be Valid

When applying for a visa, your passport needs to be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of State. You could be exempt from this requirement if you’re from a country that has a specific agreement with the U.S. 

Different Types of U.S. Visas

There are various types of U.S. visas you may be pursuing. They include:

  • Tourism visa
  • Business travel visa
  • Student and vocational training visas
  • North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional visa

There are different requirements for all these kinds of visas. It’s best to visit usa.gov/visas and find out more about applying. You should also reach out to your school or employer if you plan to come to the U.S. to study or work. They will likely be able to assist you with the process so that it goes smoother. 

Another good resource is Travel.State.gov’s Visa Wizard. You can go on the website, enter the country where you have a passport, and select the primary purpose for your visa. For instance, if you put in that you’re from Mexico, you’re doing a study program, and you’re taking courses for academic or vocational credit, the Visa Wizard shows these results to help you:

  • Academic study at an approved academic institution, including high school (F) 
  • Vocational study at an approved educational institution (M) 
  • Academic study at an approved educational institution, including high school, under an approved exchange program (J)

With this information, the application process becomes simpler. 

What to Do Before Your Visa Interview

Prior to your visa interview, you’ll need to complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page. Family members who are on your passport will need to submit separate visa documents. You’ll also have to pay the application fee and upload your photo. 

Keep in mind that you’ll need to look at the instructions on the website for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you’re going to be applying for your visa. You may need to let them know further information about your trip, like the purpose of it, your ability to pay for it, and your intent to leave the U.S. after your trip. By providing proof like your employment and family information, you’ll be able to show that you intend to go back home after your trip is over. 

What Happens During the Visa Interview

During the visa interview, you will have digital fingerprint scans taken, and a consular officer will decide if there is additional administrative processing needed. You’ll need to cover a visa issuance fee and figure out a way for the visa and your passport to be sent to you. 

Modifying Your Nonimmigrant Status

Let’s say that during the time you’re in the U.S. on your visa, your nonimmigrant status changes. You might become employed in the U.S. or marry a U.S. citizen, for example. Reach out to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and see if you can change your nonimmigrant status. You won’t have to apply for a new visa while you’re in the U.S. 

Contact a Florida Immigration Attorney

Do you have questions about gaining naturalization or citizenship? Then contact Florida Immigration Law Counsel through our website or by calling 1-800-666-4996. We deal with the government so you don’t have to. We look forward to assisting you. 

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