A non-immigrant U.S. visa is an entry permit to the U.S. It is issued by the U.S. Department of State and is stamped in your passport.
Non-immigrant visas are for individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. who are coming to the U.S. temporarily for a specific purpose such as tourism, attending a conference or work. A U.S. visa stamp allows you to to request permission of the border inspector at a U.S. Port of Entry to enter the U.S.
A visa alone does not guarantee entry into the U.S. You must also carry your other documents, including valid passport, valid DS-2019 (for a J visa) or I-797 Approval Notice (for an H visa) and demonstrate proper intent (non-immigrant or dual intent) at time of admission.
You must obtain a U.S. visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside the U.S. Please consult the website of the U.S. Consulate / Embassy where you will apply for your visa to find out about application procedures.
While it is always recommended that you apply for a U.S. visa in your home country, some people apply for their U.S. visas in Canada. Generally speaking, U.S. consular posts in Canada do not support third-country-national visa processing except in limited circumstances such as where the individual seeks H-1B visa renewal or where the individual obtained their terminal degree at an institution of higher education located in the U.S. U.S. consular posts always reserve the right to refer the application for administrative processing in order to determine if you are eligible for the visa.
If you decide to apply for your U.S. Visa in Canada, please note that you may have to wait in Canada while your visa application is pending. In addition, if your application is denied, you will not be able to return to the U.S.
June, July, August and December are the busiest months in most U.S. Consulates so visa appointments may be difficult to obtain during these months. Wait times for visa appointments and visa processing times can vary significantly so you should check on current wait times on the U.S. Department of State website.
Due to background checks, mandatory visa interviews and increased scrutiny of individuals conducting research in “sensitive fields,” you should be prepared for delays in the processing of your visa application. If your field of study or research is on the Technology Alert List, you should obtain a letter from your UB host department explaining in detail the nature of your research. This letter should be written in simple language so it can be easily understood by non-specialists.
In addition, applicants from certain countries may have additional processing requirements, which may delay the issuance of their U.S. visa stamp.
Also, if you have applied for Lawful Permanent Residence in the U.S., have a criminal record or violated your previous immigration status, your application for a new visa may be subject to additional scrutiny or denial. If you have concerns about your ability to obtain a U.S. visa due to one of these issues, please contact UB ImmigrationServices for assistance.
All applicants for J visas are required to demonstrate their intent to return to their home country following the completion of their scholarly activities in the U.S. There are several ways you can demonstrate your intent to return home:
For additional information about applying for a J-1 visa, we encourage you to visit the Department of State website.
The U.S. Department of State website lists detailed instructions regarding the forms, documents, etc. which are required for the visa application. It is important that you bring everything to your visa interview to avoid needless delays in the processing of your application.
For the latest information on how to obtain an H-1B visa, please visit the U.S. Department website.
For additional requirements, please contact the U.S. Consulate or Embassy where you will apply for your visa.
The information contained on this web page is provided as a service to the international faculty, researchers, staff, employees and administrators of University at Buffalo, and does not constitute legal advice on any immigration, tax, or other matter. We try to provide useful information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site or any associated site. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel. Neither the University at Buffalo nor the Office of UB Immigration Services is responsible for any errors or omissions contained on this web page, or for the results obtained from the use of this information.
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