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Visa Application Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Check the Validity of your Passport

Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States, unless exempt by country-specific agreements.  If it isn’t, you must get a new passport before applying for a visa.

Step 2: Complete the Visa Application

Complete the Online Non-immigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 (https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/). Please note the following additional points:

  • You must answer EVERY question on the application form. If the answer to a question is “none,” please write “none” (do not leave it blank.) Incomplete/incorrect forms will be returned and will require you to schedule a new interview appointment.
  • There is no cost to fill out the DS-160 form. You do not need the services of a company or third-party to fill out the form for you, and no company or third party is able to guarantee your visa issuance or expedite your visa appointment or processing.

Step 3: Collect any Supporting Documentation

The only documents required for a nonimmigrant visa interview are:

  1. Passport
  2. DS-160 Confirmation Page
  3. 2×2 inch (5×5 cm) photo taken within the last 6 months, with a white background
  4. For F, M, and J visa applicants only: I-20 or DS-2019 and proof of SEVIS payment, if required
  5. For H, L, or R visa applicants only: I-797 Approval Notice

Additional documents may be requested to establish if you are qualified. For example, additional requested documents may include evidence of:

  • The purpose of your trip;
  • Your intent to depart the United States after your trip; and/or
  • Your ability to pay all costs of the trip.

Note: Visa applicants must qualify on the basis of the applicant’s residence and ties abroad, rather than assurances from U.S. family and friends. A letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support is not needed to apply for a nonimmigrant tourist visa. If you do choose to bring a letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support to your interview, please remember that it is not one of the factors that we use in determining whether to issue or deny a nonimmigrant tourist visa.

Step 4: Schedule an Interview Appointment, if required

To schedule an appointment for a non-immigrant visa (NIV) interview, please consult the Embassy’s online NIV Appointment System. Please have your DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form confirmation number handy. It is located on your DS-160 confirmation page, in bold print.

Some visas can be issued or renewed without an interview. To determine whether an interview is required in your case, please refer to the Interview Waiver/Visa Application or Renewal by Mail information.

Step 5: Visa Fee Payment and Interview

Come to the embassy on the date and time of your appointment. Bring the documents listed in Step 3. During your visa interview, a consular officer will determine whether you are qualified to receive a visa, and if so, which visa category is appropriate based on your purpose of travel. You will need to establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive the category of visa for which you are applying. Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken as part of your application process, during your interview with the Consular officer.

You will pay the appropriate visa fee at the Embassy at the beginning of your appointment. Please note we do not accept credit cards for visa fee payments; you must bring cash or a credit card. Fees can be paid in U.S. dollars or Papua New Guinea kina.

The cost of the visa fee depends on the visa class for which you are applying. For details, refer to travel.state.gov.

The current visa processing fees are:

  • $160 USD for B1/B2, C-1/D, F, I, J, M, TN/TD, S, T, or U visa classes;
  • $190 USD for H, L, O, P, Q, and R visas;
  • $205 USD for E-3 visas.
  • $0 USD (no fee) for A, G, C-2, C-3, NATO, and diplomatic visas

Some visa types may include additional fees, such as L-1 and H-1B. Further, citizens of certain countries may be required to pay a reciprocity fee if the Consular officer approves your visa. More information on reciprocity fees can be found here.

PNG nationals applying for a B1/B2 tourist visa normally receive visa valid for one month, single entry. If PNG nationals want a 12-month, multiple-entry visa, you must pay an additional reciprocity fee: $163 USD.

Step 6: Return to Collect your Passport and Visa

If your visa is approved, you can normally return to the Embassy the following workday after 9:00 am to collect your passport and visa. The Embassy will send you an email or call you when your visa is ready for pick-up.

You may send a third-party to collect your visa and passport on your behalf. Please provide a signed letter naming the authorized person who may retrieve your documents.

Note:  You should never pay for travel arrangements (e.g., airfare, hotels) without having a visa in your possession.  The U.S. Embassy accepts no responsibility if you do so. You risk significant financial losses if you ignore this advice.