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What type of visa do I need?
 

Please visit the sections below for information about different types of nonimmigrant visas.

For additional information please visit the Department of State's website at www.travel.state.gov or contact the Visa Information Call Center.

(B1)

You should apply for this visa if your purpose is to travel to the U.S. for short-term, temporary business. Lawful B1 business-related activities include but are not limited to:

  • Attending a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, conference or seminar;
  • Giving a lecture;
  • Doing independent research at a scientific or educational institution;
  • Participating in a voluntary service program;
  • Participating in a sporting event;
  • Negotiating contracts;
  • Attending short-term training;
  • Consultations with suppliers and customers.

A B1 visa is not valid for employment in the US. People who have B1 visas may not, in general, get salaries or money from U.S. sources. See the section on Work Visas for more information.

In addition to the general application requirements applicants should also consider bringing the following documents:

  • Documents pertaining to the anticipated business activities.
  • A detailed letter from the U.S. inviting company, event or business partners indicating the purpose of travel; copies of contracts or agreements; information on machines, software or equipment to be examined, tested or purchased; catalogues of own and U.S. company; detailed schedules of travel, training content, etc.
  • Personal papers proving strong ties to China, including but no limited to bank statements, letters confirming employment, work ID cards, evidence of property ownership, family registries (hukou), marriage certificates, family photos, proof of prior travel to the U.S. or other countries.

While the above-mentioned documents are not required, they may be helpful in supporting your application.

Work Visas 

Pleasure (aka Tourism) Visa (B2)

If you intend to visit the U.S. for tourist activities, including sightseeing, visiting friends or relatives, obtaining medical treatment and attending conferences and meetings, you should apply for this visa.

A B2 visa is not valid for employment in the U.S. See the section on

In addition to the general application requirements applicants should also consider bringing the following documents:

  • Letters of invitation from friends or family; information confirming participation in a conference or tour group; documentation demonstrating intention; detailed itineraries or schedules; proof of ability to pay for travel;
  • If visiting friends or relatives, proof of their current legal status in the U.S.;
  • Personal papers proving strong ties to China, including but no limited to bank statements, letters confirming employment, work ID cards, evidence of property ownership, family registries (hukou), marriage certificates, family photos, proof of prior travel to the U.S. or other countries.

Business/Pleasure Visa (B1/B2)

If your purpose in traveling to the U.S. is partly for business and partly for tourism, apply for this combination.  Based on reciprocity with the Chinese government, most Chinese citizens, when qualified, are granted 12-month multiple-entry combination B1/B2 visas.

We frequently receive questions from Chinese students, workers, and residents in the U.S. who want to know how their parents can qualify to receive visas to enter the U.S. for tourism (B2 or B1/B2 visas). In our experience, many of these applicants are eligible for visas, but a significant number overstay or fail to return.

In adjudicating visitor visa applications for parents of Chinese students, workers, and residents, our visa officers tend to focus on factors that help us determine whether the applicants possess compelling ties to China:

  • If your purpose in traveling to the U.S. is partly for business and partly for tourism, apply for this combination.  Based on reciprocity with the Chinese government, most Chinese citizens, when qualified, are granted 12-month multiple-entry combination B1/B2 visas.

  • We frequently receive questions from Chinese students, workers, and residents in the U.S. who want to know how their parents can qualify to receive visas to enter the U.S. for tourism (B2 or B1/B2 visas). In our experience, many of these applicants are eligible for visas, but a significant number overstay or fail to return.
  • In adjudicating visitor visa applications for parents of Chinese students, workers, and residents, our visa officers tend to focus on factors that help us determine whether the applicants possess compelling ties to China:

  • If the applicants have traveled to the U.S. previously, how long did they stay? If they stayed longer than 6 months, did they have INS approval to do so? (Note: please have the applicants bring their INS extension approval notices to their interview).
  • If the applicants have traveled to the U.S. previously, how long have they been back in China?
  • How many children and grandchildren do the applicants have in China?
  • Have the relatives in the U.S. ever returned to China to visit their families as is normal for foreign students, workers, and residents in the U.S.?
  • Are the parents active professionally in China; if so, what is their income and the nature of their work?

The answers to these questions relate to whether applicants can fulfill the statutory requirement in Section 101 (a)(15)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to show that they have a permanent residence in a foreign country that they have no intention of abandoning. In other words, persons who are absent from China for periods of a year or so may have trouble showing that they possess social or professional obligations in China that are sufficiently powerful to ensure that they will go home following a temporary stay abroad. Applicants are advised to be ready to address these issues during their visa interviews.

Apart from the required documents, parents may also want to bring the following documents to their interview:

  • Proof of their child's/children's current legal status in the U.S. (such as a copy of a visa, petition or green card);
  • Copies of the original, as well as any subsequent U.S. visas issued to their child;
  • Recent family photos showing parents together with their child;
  • Proof of ability to pay for the travel;
  • Personal papers proving strong ties to China, including but no limited to bank statements, letters confirming employment, work ID cards, evidence of property ownership, family registries (hukou), marriage certificates, family photos, proof of prior travel to the US or other countries.
  • If in their professional lives your parents are or were active in science and technology-related fields, they may want to consider bringing a resume, in case a special clearance is required.

Often, older applicants do not understand why their applications to return to the U.S. a second time are denied, even though INS approved an extension of stay during their previous visit. Usually, these applicants stayed in the U.S. for a year or more and have been back in China only a short while. Under these circumstances, the applicants have great difficulty establishing that they have compelling social or professional obligations in China sufficient to ensure that they will return to China, thereby making them ineligible to receive another visa. Parents who find themselves in this situation may wish instead to invite their U.S. relatives to visit them here in China or reapply, once more time has passed and they are able to demonstrate better their ties to China.

For additional information please visit the Department of State's web site at www.travel.state.gov or contact the Visa Information Call Center.

(F1 or M1)

F1 - visa for academic and language students
M1 - visa for vocational students

Please take a moment to read about the "Five Secrets of Applying for a U.S. Student Visa" and "U.S. Visa Officers Dispel Rumors."

All applicants must appear at the Consulate for an interview. The interview can be scheduled via the Visa Information Call Center.

Requirements:

  • Your sole (not primary) purpose must be to pursue a program of study;
  • You must have the intention of being a full-time student in the U.S. (more that 18 hours of instruction per week);
  • Your acceptance by the U.S. school or university must be unconditional;
  • Unless otherwise specified on the I-20 form and in the acceptance letter, students must be prepared to demonstrate that they have sufficient English language skills to complete the program they are enrolling for. Therefore student interviews are generally conducted in English;
  • Students must show that they have the intention to depart from the U.S. after completing their studies.

Required documents:

  • The DS-160;
  • A  recent (taken within the last six months) 2" x 2" color photo;
  • Visa application fee receipt;
  • I-20 form issued by the school or university you are enrolling in;
  • SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee receipt;
  • Acceptance letter from the school and/or department your are enrolling in;
  • Proof that you have been accepted by the school or university unconditionally;
  • Proof of adequate funds to cover all tuition, living and anticipated incidental expenses without taking unauthorized employment;
  • Proof that you have the required qualifications, background or skills necessary to complete the projected program of study (this may include diplomas, transcripts listing courses taken and grades received, test or exam results usually required for admission to U.S. schools, for example GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, etc;)

Extra documents:

  • Detailed resume (CV) and complete list of publications. Please click her for a sample resume you can use;
  • Proof you have sufficiently strong social, economic and other reasons to compel your departure from the U.S. upon completion of your studies (this may include family registries, property deeds (your own, not your parents), bank statements, etc.
  • sample resume .  Currently (as of July 2008) the additional administrative processing takes about six weeks.  Please be sure to apply at least six weeks in advance in order to complete this processing in time for your planned travel dates.

  • Dependents
    If your spouse and/or children are planning to travel with you to the United States, it is preferable that they be interviewed together with you, the principal applicant. Additional documentation to bring is:

  • F2 I-20 form for each applicant;

  • SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee receipt for the principal applicant -- dependents do not need to pay this fee;

  • Original marriage certificates;

  • Original birth certificates and any other original documents issued at the time of birth, e.g., single child pass, vaccination and health certificates, etc.;

  • Photos documenting the family relationship over time

  • Your dependents can, of course, apply at a later time, without being accompanied by the principal applicant. Please see the section on Dependents for more information about requirements.

Returning students
The same documents are required as for first-time applicants and you should be prepared to present them to the Officer at the time of your interview. Additional documentation you may want to bring consider are transcripts and any evidence of your continued ability to fund your studies in the U.S.

If you are a returning student and your last visa is either current or expired within the last 12 months you may qualify for Drop Box service, if:

  • You are returning to the exact same program;

  • If you are currently still in status;

  • You are not in a science and technology-related field and did not require a special clearance for your last visa.

Please keep in mind that you may require an additional clearance this time, especially if you are in the science and technology-related field of work or study, even if a clearance was not necessary during your last application. See Special Administrative Processing  above.

If you decide you use the Drop Box service, please attach a copy of your I-20 form as well as an up-to-date resume and list of publications. Click here for more information about the Drop Box service.

Public School
There are certain restrictions on attending public school in the U.S. Persons who violate these restrictions may not receive another visa for a period of five years.

The restrictions apply only to students holding F-1 visas. They do not apply to students attending public school on derivative visas, such as F-2, J-2 or H-4 visas. The restrictions also do not apply to students attending private schools on F-1 visas.

The restrictions are:

  • Students who attend public high schools in the U.S. are limited to twelve months of study. Public school attendance in the U.S. prior to November 30, 1996 does not count toward this limit.
  • F-1 visas can no longer be issued to attend public elementary or middle schools (Kindergarten - 8th grade) or publicly funded adult education programs.
  • Before an F-1 visa for a public school can be issued, the student must show that the public school in the U.S. has been reimbursed for the full, unsubsidized per capita cost of the education as calculated by the school. Reimbursement may be indicated on the I-20. Consular officers may request copies of canceled checks and/or receipts confirming the payment as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

When do I need to apply for my student visa?

Changes introduced shortly after September 11, 2001 involve extensive and ongoing reviews of visa issuing practices as they relate to our national security. It is important to apply for your visa well in advance of your travel departure date.

You may apply as soon as you are prepared and have obtained all the required and recommended documents and information. We encourage students to apply early to provide ample time to complete any special clearance procedures that may be required.

Keep in mind that June, July, and August are the busiest months in most consular sections, and interview appointments are the most difficult to get during that period. Students need to plan ahead to avoid having to make repeat visits to the Consulate.

Please note however, that the Consulate is only able to issue your student visa 120 days or less in advance of your study registration date as indicated on your I-20 form. If you apply for your visa more that 120 days prior to your start date, we may defer issuance until a later date. Any special administrative processing will be completed during that time.

When can I travel to the US?

According to Department of Homeland Security regulations all initial or beginning students may enter the US 30 days or less in advance of the start date of their course, as stated on the I-20 form. Please consider this date carefully when making your travel plans.

A student who wants to enter the U.S. earlier (more than 30 days prior to the course start date) must qualify for, and obtain a visitor visa. A prospective student notation will be shown on his/her visitor visa and the traveler will need to make the intent to study clear to the U.S. immigration inspector at port of entry. Before beginning any studies, he or she must obtain a change of classification, filing form I-506, Application for Change of Nonimmigrant Status, and also submit the required Form I-20 to the Department of Homeland Security office where the application is made. Please be aware that there is an additional fee of $140 for this process, and that one may not begin studies until the change of classification is approved.

How long may I stay in the U.S. on my F-1 student visa?

 
When you enter the United States on a student visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status. That means you may stay as long as you are a full time student, even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in America. For a student who has completed the course of studies shown on the I-20, and any authorized practical training, additional time in the U.S. before departure is allowed as follows

  • F-1 student: An additional 60 days, to prepare for departure from the U.S. or to transfer to another school.
  • M-1 student: An additional 30 days to depart the U.S. The 30 days to prepare for departure is permitted as long as the student maintained a full course of study and maintained status. An M student may receive extensions up to three years for the total program.

As an example regarding duration of status, if you have a visa that is valid for five years that will expire on January 1, 2006, and you are admitted into the U.S. for the duration of your studies (often abbreviated in your passport or on your I-94 card as "D/S"), you may stay in the U.S. as long as you are a full time student. Even if January 1, 2006 passes and your visa expires while in America, you will still be in legal student status. However, if you depart the U.S. with an expired visa, you will need to obtain a new one before being able to return to America and resume your studies. A student visa cannot be renewed or re-issued in the United States; it must be done at an Embassy or Consulate abroad.

I have been accepted by a U.S. school, which issued me an I-20. Why isn't that enough for issuance of a student visa?

 
The approved INS I-20 is just one piece of information the interviewing officer must consider when deciding whether a student visa may be issued. Remember, under Section 214 (b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, you still must prove that you will leave the United States after the purpose for which you entered the United States comes to an end. In student visa cases, the applicants may intend to stay in the United States for many months and even years pursuing a course of study. Consequently, we must consider your overall circumstances when deciding whether to approve a student visa. Student visas must be denied if it appears that the applicant's primary purpose of travel is not to obtain an education, but, rather, to facilitate an indefinite stay in the United States. The fact that a school has admitted a student to study and issued the student an I-20 is, only one factor we consider.

I will certainly return to China because my parents are here. I am the only son in my family and I need to return so that I can take care of my parents. Why did the officer say I have insufficient ties to compel me to return?


Our experience shows that being an only son has not deterred many travelers from remaining indefinitely in the U.S. While this factor may be one among others relevant to an individual's personal circumstances, it would not usually, in itself, be sufficient to establish eligibility.

Must applicants take such tests as TOEFL, SAT, GRE, and GMAT, in order to obtain a student visa? Is any particular score on these exams needed to get a visa?


Applicants are generally not required to take any particular tests to qualify for a visa. However, we note that motivated and serious student visa applications often take such tests when seeking admission to schools in the United States. The fact that a student has taken one or more of these tests may help show the seriousness of the applicant's study plans.

I am an F-1/M1 application. My case is being reviewed by the Consulate. What can I do to expedite my application?


Your patience is highly appreciated. According to the latest U.S. Department of State regulations, applications for studies and research in certain academic fields need advisory opinions from Washington. This takes a minimum of four weeks. Once the review is complete, the Consular Section will notify you of the outcome. You may call the Consular Section to check on the status of your case or leave your best phone number of contact. However, it is not possible for us to adjudicate your case before the review is complete.

Visa (J1)

 The "J" exchange visitor program is designed to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge and skills in the fields of education, arts and sciences. Participants include students at all academic levels; trainees obtaining on-the-job training with firms, institutions, and agencies; teachers of primary, secondary, and specialized schools; professors coming to teach or do research at U.S. institutions of higher learning; research scholars; professional trainees in the medical and related fields.

The "Q" international cultural exchange program is for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and the sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of the participant's home country in the United States. See more on Q visas in the section on Temporary Work Visas.

All applicants must appear at the Consulate for an interview. The interview can be scheduled via the Visa Information Call Center.

Required documents:

  • The DS-160;
  •  Recent (taken within the last six months) 2" x 2" color photo;
  • The application fee receipt;
  • DS-2019 form prepared by the sponsoring organization or university;
  • SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee receipt;
  • Acceptance letter from the organization or university in the US that is sponsoring you;
  • Proof of adequate scholarship or personal funds to cover all tuition, living and anticipated incidental expenses without taking unauthorized employment;

Special Requirements:

  • A J1 applicant must have sufficient scholastic preparation and knowledge of the English language to enable the applicant to undertake a full course of study in the U.S. institution of learning or other place of study at which the applicant has been accepted. Therefore J1 visa interviews are generally conducted in English.
    If the applicant's knowledge of English is inadequate, he/she must submit documentation that special arrangements have been made by the accepting U.S. institution for English language tutoring.
  • Exchange visitors coming under the J program for graduate medical education or training must meet certain special requirements. They include having passed the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination in Medical Sciences, demonstrating competency in English, being automatically subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement (later), and being subject to time limits on the duration of their program.
    Physicians coming to the United States on exchange visitor programs for the purpose of observation, consultation, teaching, or research in which there is little or no patient care are not subject to the above requirements.

For applicants in certain fields of study or with certain academic or professional backgrounds, additional administrative processing may be required by current U.S. government regulations. This is particularly likely if you will be working or studying in a science and technology-related field. To complete the additional administrative processing, you must present a detailed resume (in English), a list of publications and a statement of intent (please detail proposed areas of research or work, proposed university and department, contacts and sponsors in the U.S. and China). Click here for a sample resume.  Currently (as of July 2008) the additional administrative processing takes about six weeks.  Please be sure to apply at least six weeks in advance in order to complete this processing in time for your planned travel dates.


Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement

  • The program in which the exchange visitor was participating was financed in whole or in part directly or indirectly by the United States government or the government of the exchange visitor's nationality or last residence;
  • The exchange visitor is a national or resident of a country designated as requiring the services of persons engaged in the field of specialized knowledge or skills in which the exchange visitor was engaged for the duration of their program (Exchange Visitor Skills List 9 FAM 41.62, Exhibit II);
  • The exchange visitor entered the United States to receive graduate medical education or training.

If the exchange visitor is subject to INA 212(e) requirement, he or she cannot change his/her or status to that of H, L, K, or immigrant lawful permanent resident (LPR) until he or she has returned to his/her home country for at least two-years or received a waiver of that requirement. Such waivers can be obtained under five separate basis: No Objection Statement, Exceptional Hardship or Persecution, Conrad Program, or Interested Government Agency.

Dependents
If your spouse and/or children are planning to travel with you to the United States, it is preferable that they be interviewed together with you, the principal applicant. Additional documentation to bring is:

  • J2 DS-2019 form for each applicant;
  • Original marriage certificates;
  • Original birth certificates and any other original documents issued at the time of birth, e.g. single child pass, vaccination and health certificates;
  • Photos documenting the family relationship over time.

Your dependents can, of course, apply at a later time, without being accompanied by the principal applicant. Please see the section on Dependents for more information about requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

 
When do I need to apply for my visa?


Changes introduced shortly after September 11, 2001 involve extensive and ongoing reviews of visa issuing practices as they relate to our national security. It is important to apply for your visa well in advance of your travel departure date.

You may apply as soon as you are prepared and have obtained all the required and recommended documents and information. We encourage all applicants to apply early to provide ample time to complete any special clearance procedures that may be required.

Keep in mind that June, July, and August are the busiest months in most consular sections, and interview appointments are the most difficult to get during that period. Applicants need to plan ahead to avoid having to make repeat visits to the Embassy. During the busy months special J1 appointment are usually available via the Call Center.

My Visa Has Been Issued: When Can I Travel to the U.S.?


Department of Homeland Security regulations requires that all J exchange visitors, and J-2 spouse and dependents enter the U.S. 30 days or less in advance of the applicant's program start date as shown on the DS-2019 form. Please consider this date carefully when making your travel plans. Immigration officers may deny you entry into the United States at your expense if you attempt to enter more that 30 days before your program start date. The 30-day limitation does not apply to current exchange participants who are returning to continue with their exchange program.

How Long am I Permitted to Stay in the U.S. After my Program has ended?


The initial admission of an exchange visitor, spouse and children may not exceed the period specified on Form DS-2019, plus a period of 30 days for the purpose of travel. The 30-day grace or travel status period is intended to be a period following the end of the exchange visitor’s program and is to be used for domestic travel and/or to prepare for the departure from the U.S., and for no other purpose. A spouse or child (J-2 visa holder) may not be admitted for longer than the principal exchange visitor (J-1 visa holder).

For additional information please visit the Department of State's web site at www.travel.state.gov or contact the Visa Information Call Center.

(H, L, O, P, or Q)

Classifications
The Immigration and Nationality Act provides several categories of nonimmigrant visas for a person who wishes to work temporarily in the United States. There are annual numerical limits on some classifications, which are shown in parentheses.

  • H-1B classification applies to persons in a specialty occupation, which requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge requiring completion of a specific course of higher education. This classification requires a labor attestation issued by the Secretary of Labor (65,000). This classification also applies to Government-to-Government research and development, or co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense (100);
  • H-2A classification applies to temporary or seasonal agricultural workers;
  • H-2B classification applies to temporary or seasonal nonagricultural workers. This classification requires a temporary labor certification issued by the Secretary of Labor (66,000);
  • H-3 classification applies to trainees other than medical or academic. This classification also applies to practical training in the education of handicapped children (50);
  • L classification applies to intra-company transferees who, within the three preceding years, have been employed abroad continuously for one year, and who will be employed by a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of that same employer in the U.S. in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity;
  • O-1 classification applies to persons who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics or extraordinary achievements in the motion picture and television field;
  • O-2 classification applies to persons accompanying an O-1 alien to assist in an artistic or athletic performance for a specific event or performance;
  • P-1 classification applies to individual or team athletes, or members of an entertainment group that are internationally recognized (25,000);
  • P-2 classification applies to artists or entertainers who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program;
  • P-3 classification applies to artists or entertainers who perform under a program that is culturally unique (same as P-1); and
  • Q-1 classification applies to participants in an international cultural exchange program for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and the sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of the alien's home country.

Petitions


H, L, O, P, and Q visas entitle the holder to work in the United States. All require the company or organization in the United States to first submit a petition to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for permission to hire a foreign worker. If the petition is approved, the company will be issued an I-797 form enabling you to apply for a visa. It should be noted that the approval of a petition shall not guarantee visa issuance to an applicant found to be ineligible under provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Required Documentation:

  1. Completed DS-160;
  2. Recent (taken within the last six months) color passport-sized photograph (2 inches square). Please see the newest requirements for photos.
  3. A passport, which must be valid for more than six months. According to U.S. government regulations a passport must be valid for at least 6 months at the time of entry to the United States.
  4. A notice of approval, Form I-797; this does not have to be the original -- a photocopy will suffice.
  5. Applicants are also advised to bring a copy of the I-129 application material to the interview.
  6. There is an additional $ 120 visa-issuance fee for any L visas issued.

Other documentation and requirements:
With the exception of the H-1 and L-1 visa applicants, you may also need to show proof of binding ties to a residence outside the United States which you have no intention of abandoning.

  • Personal papers proving strong ties to China, including but no limited to bank statements, letters confirming employment, work ID cards, evidence of property ownership, family registries (hukou), marriage certificates, family photos, proof of prior travel to the U.S. or other countries.
  • The Q exchange visitor must be 18 years old and be able to communicate effectively about the cultural attributes of his or her country.

For applicants in certain fields of study or with certain academic or professional backgrounds, additional administrative processing may be required by current U.S. government regulations. This is particularly likely if you will be working or studying in a science and technology-related field. To complete the additional administrative processing, you must present a detailed resume (in English), a list of publications and a statement of intent (please detail proposed areas of research or work, proposed university and department, contacts and sponsors in the U.S. and China). Click here for a sample resume.  Currently (as of July 2008) the additional administrative processing takes about six weeks.  Please be sure to apply at least six weeks in advance in order to complete this processing in time for your planned travel dates.

Dependents
If your spouse and/or children are planning to travel with you to the United States, it is preferable that they be interviewed together with you, the principal applicant. Additional documentation to bring is:

  • Original marriage certificates;
  • Original birth certificates and any other original documents issued at the time of birth, e.g., single child pass, vaccination and health certificates;
  • Family photos documenting the relationship over time.

Your dependents can, of course, apply at a later time, without being accompanied by the principal applicant. Please see the section on Dependents for more information about requirements.

With the exception of "Q-1 Cultural Exchange Visitors," the spouse and unmarried, minor children of an applicant under any of the above classifications may also be classified as nonimmigrants in order to accompany or join the principal applicant. A person who has received a visa as the spouse or child of a temporary worker may not accept employment in the United States. The principal applicant must be able to show that he or she will be able to support his or her family in the United States.

For additional information please visit the Department of State's web site at www.travel.state.gov or contact the Visa Information Call Center.

 (F-2, J-2, L-2, or H-4)

To obtain a visa to join a spouse or parent for a short-term stay in the United States, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that he or she is the spouse or minor child of an F-1, J-1, M-1, H-1, H-2, or L-1 visa holder who wishes to enter the United States solely to accompany, visit or follow to join the principal visa holder.

Visa Specific Information:

  • The F-2 visa is intended for dependents of students (F-1).
  • The J-2 visa is intended for dependents of exchange visitors (J-1).
  • The M-2 visa is intended for dependents of students at vocational or other recognized non-academic institutions (M-1).
  • The H-4 visa is intended for dependents of temporary workers (H).
  • The L-2 visa is intended for dependents of intra-company transfers (L).

If your spouse and/or children are planning to travel with you to the United States, it is preferable that they be interviewed together with you, the principal applicant.

Documentation
In addition to the required documentation you and your dependents should also bring the following to the interview:

  • Original marriage certificates;
  • Original birth certificates and any other original documents issued at the time of birth, e.g., single child pass, vaccination and health certificates;
  • Photos documenting the family relationship over time;
  • Each F-2 applicant needs to bring his/her own I-20 form;
  • Each J-2 applicant needs to bring his/her own DS-2019 form;
  • Petition-based dependents (H-4, L-2) need to bring a photocopy of the principal applicant's I-797 form.

Your dependents can, of course, apply at a later time, without being accompanied by the principal applicant. In this case they should also provide:

  • Documentation that establishes the visa status of the principal applicant, such as photocopies of the passport, issued visa, and I-20, DS-2019 or I-797 of the principal applicant.
  • Evidence that the principal visa holder has sufficient funds available to support any dependents, without the family member becoming a public charge or taking unauthorized employment while in the United States.

For additional information please visit the Department of State's web site at www.travel.state.gov or contact the Visa Information Call Center.

(I)

Press and broadcast media require different types of nonimmigrant visas depending on the purpose of travel.

  • Employees of magazines, newspapers, television and radio networks, and other media organizations who will go to the U.S. in order to report on actual current events as they occur and develop can be issued I (Media Representative) visas. No petition is required, although evidence that the applicant is an accredited media representative must be presented.
  • Media representatives who will travel to the U.S. in order to participate in the production of artistic media content (in which actors are used) require a petition approved in advance by INS before applying for visas. Depending on circumstances, H or P classification is most common for this type of activity, but O, L, and Q petitions may be appropriate in some circumstances. Television, radio, and film production companies may wish to seek expert counsel from an immigration attorney who specializes in media work for specific advice tailored to the project at hand.
  • Media representatives going to the U.S. to attend meetings as ordinary participants or to purchase or sell media equipment or broadcast rights are considered ordinary business visitors and can travel using B-class visitor visas.

For additional information please visit the Department of State's web site at www.travel.state.gov or contact the Visa Information Call Center.

(C)

Transit visas are needed by those planning to proceed in immediate and continuous transit through the U.S. en route to their final destination.

Required documentation for a C visa application:

  • Completed DS-160;
  • Recent (taken with the last six months) 2"X2" color photo;
  • Both the original and the copy of the CITIC Bank MRV fee receipt

Applicants for transit visas must also present the following documentation:

  • A visa to their destination country;
  • Documents explaining the purpose of their visit;
  • Evidence that they will either return to their home country or remain permanently in a country other than the United States;
  • Applicants may provide flight details if they have made ticket reservations.

For additional information please visit the Department of State's web site at www.travel.state.gov or contact the Visa Information Call Center.