Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Nonimmigrant Visas

If you have any questions regarding the nonimmigrant visa process, please review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) below.  For questions related to other visa categories, please visit our immigrant visa FAQK-1 Fiancé(e) Visa FAQs, or other FAQs.  If you still can’t find the answer to your question, please contact us.

Please follow these steps to apply for a nonimmigrant visa.

You can schedule your visa interview at either the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City or at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi.  Wait times may vary between the two.  If you would like to schedule an appointment in Hanoi, simply select “Hanoi” instead of “Ho Chi Minh City” when scheduling your appointment.

As is standard practice around the world, no third parties are permitted to attend the nonimmigrant visa interview.  This rule also applies to third parties who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. However, you can be accompanied by an additional person if:

  • You are a minor child: Applicants under 17 years old must be accompanied to their interviews by a parent or legal guardian.  Accompanying parents must present the child’s birth certificate and the parent’s identification card or passport. Accompanying legal guardians must present a government-issued legal guardianship document and the guardian’s identification card or passport.
  • You are 70 years old and older or require special assistance: Applicants 70 years old and older or requiring special assistance may be accompanied by an additional person. The additional person must present their identification card or passport for access.
  • You don’t speak either English or Vietnamese: We offer interviews in English and Vietnamese, so if you cannot speak either language, please bring an interpreter with you for your interview. The interpreter must present their identification card or passport for access.

No.  Your visa appointment is only valid for yourself and cannot be transferred to another person.

No.  In order to make an appointment, you must first print a personalized bank deposit slip and then pay the visa application processing fee at Vietnam Post.  Once you have paid the fee, you will be able to return to the website the next business day to schedule an appointment.

No. Visa fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.  You can schedule your visa interview within one year of your payment.

If you need to travel soon and no appointments are available, you may request an expedited appointment.  Before you request an appointment, please book the earliest available appointment date in the system.

Follow these steps to renew your visa through the mail.  You will mail in your application through Vietnam Post.

If your visa is issued, the designated courier will deliver your passport back to the address you register on ustraveldocs website.  You may change this address according to the instruction on this link.  Estimated visa delivery time is 1-2 business days for addresses in metropolitan areas and 3-5 business days for addresses in rural areas.  Refer to this link for information about delivery fee and passport tracking options.

Our officers speak Vietnamese. We also have trained local staff who can translate if necessary.  If you are a student and your I-20 indicates you are proficient in English, be prepared to demonstrate your proficiency at the interview.

No.  You should never pay anyone who says that they can help you get a visa.  You should also not pay for fraudulent documents because our consular officers and staff are trained to detect fake documents.

The dates of birth on your passport and your birth certificate/national ID card must match.  If they do not, you must have your passport amended or obtain a new passport to match the date of birth on your birth certificate and/or your national ID card before you come to an interview. If you come to an interview with an unmatched date of birth on your passport and your birth certificate and/or your national ID card, you may be asked to come back another day with a new or amended passport.  If all of your documents list only a year of birth, we will accept a passport with only the year listed.

We do not recommend that applicants bring in large amounts of personal documents.  For the majority of visa categories, the only required documents are a passport, visa application processing fee receipt, and the DS-160 confirmation sheet.  In all other categories, the only extra documents required are U.S. government documents that an applicant will already have in his or her possession.

By law, qualifying for a U.S. visa is an interview-based process, and because most of the information required to make a decision is located on the visa application form, other than a few clarifying questions the interviewer will often not need any additional information to make a decision.

Invitation letters, financial documents or employment documents are never required, and a visa will never be issued based solely on their presence.  Nevertheless, many applicants believe they need to present documents about their finances or employment.  Officers will often not examine these documents, either because they show facts the officer already understands, or because the information does not change the applicant’s basic situation already shown on the application form.

Please note that document vendors prey on members of the public and have a financial incentive to convince visa applicants that they should purchase unnecessary documents containing false information to show during the interview.  Under U.S. law, the penalty for providing false information in support of a visa application is a lifetime ban on entry to the United States.

“Ties” are the aspects of your life that bind you to your place of residence, including family relationships, employment and possessions.  In the case of younger applicants who may not have had an opportunity to establish such ties, interviewing officers may look at educational status, grades, their parents’ employment, and an applicant’s long-range plans and prospects in Vietnam.  As each person’s situation is different, there is no set answer as to what constitutes adequate ties.

A letter, even from a highly placed person, does not necessarily establish the applicant’s ties outside of the United States.  U.S. law requires each applicant qualify in his or her own right.

 

Full disclosure is best.  We understand that many people have relatives in the United States but intend only a short visit, or have immigrant visa petitions on file but do not intend to immigrate at this time. It is therefore to the advantage of the applicant to disclose these facts. When an interviewing officer uncovers any attempt to conceal or misrepresent facts, the application will be denied and the applicant may, in certain cases, be ruled permanently ineligible to enter the United States.

Not necessarily.  The interviewing officer must apply Section 214(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in determining whether you are eligible for a U.S. visa.  That section of the Act states, in part: “Every alien [visa applicant] shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the officer, at the time of the application for a visa…that he is entitled to nonimmigrant status…“

This means that the visa officer is required by law to view you, the applicant, as intending to immigrate permanently until you demonstrate otherwise.  Your evidence may come in many forms, but when considered together it must be enough for the interviewing officer to conclude that your overall circumstances – including social, family, economic, and other ties to Vietnam – constitute a compelling reason for you to leave the United States at the end of a temporary stay.  You should be prepared to present your case clearly and concisely.  Your interview can be conducted in Vietnamese or in English, which ever you prefer.

There are many other reasons a consular officer may refuse a visa.  Besides Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the most common refusal is under Section 221(g) of the INA. This refusal means that the consular officer did not have all of the information needed in order to process the visa application to conclusion, so the visa could not be issued at that time. When the required information is submitted in a timely manner, visa processing can continue to conclusion, and the applicant does not need to reapply for the visa.

There are also several categories of visa ineligibilities, which may result in a visa being refused or denied. Other activities, such as corruption (PDF 20KB), may also result in a visa denial.

In a typical day, a consular officer may need to interview 100 applicants or more, which only allows a few minutes per applicant.  However, your application form, if completed thoroughly, contains most of the information needed to adjudicate the visa.  Additional documents are examined only if the consular officer needs to obtain further clarification of your situation.

A visa represents permission to apply to enter the United States.  There is a difference between the validity of your visa (which may be as long as one year for Vietnamese applicants) and the length of time you may stay in the United States (which may be as short as a few days).  The expiration date of the visa is the date by which you must enter the United States.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector at the port of entry, not the consular officer, determines the length of time you may stay.  DHS usually grants permission for the visitor to remain in the United States for the amount of time needed to accomplish the purpose of the visit.

If you wish to remain in the United States beyond the time granted, you must submit a request for extension to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  There are penalties that can be applied to any visitor who remains in the United States beyond the period of stay authorized by DHS at the time of entry.  An “overstay” of even one day can have a serious negative effect on a traveler’s ability to qualify for a U.S. visa in the future.

Please note that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector at the port of entry, not the consular officer, determines the length of time you may stay in the U.S. DHS usually grants permission for the visitor to remain in the U.S. for the amount of time needed to accomplish the purpose of the visit.  However, if you stay in the U.S. longer than the time stated in your visa interview, this may affect your future applications for visas.

Visitor visas are issued to temporary visitors for business or pleasure.  “Business” does not generally include gainful employment, but it does include almost any other legitimate commercial activity.  A B-1 visa holder may go to the United States to consult with business associates, negotiate a contract, buy goods or materials, settle an estate, appear as a witness in a court trial, participate in business or professional conventions or conferences, or undertake independent research.  “Pleasure” includes purposes such as touring, visits to friends and relatives, visits for medical treatment, participation in conventions, conferences, or convocations of fraternal or social organizations, and participation by amateurs, who will receive no remuneration, in musical, sports, and similar events or contests.

At the visa interview, you should be able to explain clearly the purpose of your visit to the United States.  The officer will determine the appropriate visa category for your visa.

In general, you may apply for your nonimmigrant visa at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  However, if you choose to apply for a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in a country where you do not reside, please be aware that language difficulties and the interviewing officers’ unfamiliarity with the local conditions of your home country may make it more difficult to demonstrate your qualifications for a visa.

As is standard practice around the world, any nonimmigrant visa application, once denied under Section 214(b), will not be reviewed or reconsidered; there is no appeal process.  However, applicants are free to reapply at any time and any new applications filed will be adjudicated by a different consular officer.  The applicant must follow all of the same procedures as the first application, to include paying the visa application processing fee and obtaining a new interview date.  Please note that we always advise applicants with more than one recent refusal in the past 6 months NOT to reapply unless his/her circumstances have changed significantly, as it is unlikely the outcome will change.

You do not need to apply for a new visa; you can use both the old and new passports to travel.

You should not buy an airline ticket before visa issuance.  Please do not make any firm plan until you receive your visa.

The duration of validity for U.S. nonimmigrant visas is based on reciprocity (what another country grants a United States citizen for a similar type of visa).  Currently, we are issuing Vietnamese citizens 12 month nonimmigrant visas in most visa categories.  For more information about U.S. visa validity for Vietnam passport holders, see our site on visa reciprocity and select “ALL” or a specific U.S. nonimmigrant visa type.

You can find more information about reciprocity by viewing the U.S. nonimmigrant visa reciprocity schedule.

Check here to see if you need to pay the SEVIS fee again.

You cannot make changes to the DS-160 once you have submitted it.  You will need to fill out a new DS-160.  After completing a new DS-160, please log into your ustraveldocs account, update the new DS-160 barcode number on your appointment at least three working days prior to your appointment date, and print out a new Appointment Confirmation Sheet.

If you have your application ID, your DS-160 will stay active in draft form for 30 days.  You can learn more about the DS-160 here.

Yes, even if you have an APEC Business Travel Card, you will still need a visa to travel to the United States.  The United States does not recognize the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) in lieu of a visa.  Possession of an APEC does not affect visa requirements, the visa process, or your eligibility for a U.S. visa.

There is no special U.S. visa process for ABTC card holders.  Every applicant, including ABTC card holders, may go to https://vn.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visas or http://ustraveldocs.com/vn/vn-niv-visaapply.asp for step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a nonimmigrant visa.

Report the loss of your passport and visa to the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate which issued your visa. You will need to provide a written report documenting the loss. Include a copy of the police report if available. Once you report the loss of your passport and visa, the visa will be invalid for future travel to the United States.

If you wish to change your interview location, a new form DS-160 is not required. The Embassy or Consulate at which you actually apply can access your form using the barcode on your DS-160 confirmation page, which you must bring to the visa interview. However, accessing a DS-160 submitted to a different location requires extra time, so you may encounter significant delays if you appear for an interview with a DS-160 submitted to a different location.  Unfortunately, we are unable to predict the duration of these delays.