What you need to know for a visa to America
Unfortunately, you can’t currently go on vacation to America because of the coronavirus. But of course that will all change in the future. And that’s why it’s useful to know what rules exist and what visa you need to apply for america. Because the regulations on this are not always simple. We would therefore like to explain what you need to know for a visa for America.
Types of visas for America
1 ESTA (no visa)
If you go to America as a tourist and do not want to stay in the country for more than 90 days, you do not need to apply for a visa but an ESTA. This is a digital travel authorization to travel to America. They’re checking that you’re not a danger to the country or you’ve been in one of the countries america is in conflict with. You can easily request them online, for example from visumbuitenland.be. This document is mandatory! As a tourist, you can’t enter the country without the ESTA.
You can already record this document for a trip in the future because your ESTA is valid for two years. So if you cancel or shift your trip due to the coronavirus, your visa will still be valid. You can return to America several times with this ESTA, but you can only stay there for a maximum of 90 days straight. In other cases, you’ll need a different visa for America.
How long does an application take?
An application from your ESTA doesn’t take that much time. You request this online, which will take about half an hour. And normally after a few days you already have an answer that is either positive or negative. Although as a Belgian you will rarely get a negative answer if you do not have a criminal record. Sometimes a request can take a little more time. For example, we only got the answer after 1 week when we applied. So don’t panic if you don’t get an answer right away. You can also take an emergency procedure, but this often costs something extra. You can expect the approval or disapproval of your ESTA or often after an hour.
Unfortunately, tourists who have been in Iran, Iraq, Yemen, North Korea, Libya, Sudan, Somalia or Syria after 2011 cannot apply for ESTA. In that case, you will have to contact the embassy for another request.
2 Non-immigration visa
You should only apply for a non-immigration visa if you want to stay in America for a period longer than 90 days as a tourist or student. This is for example if you want to cover the Pacific Crest Trail, which requires at least 150 days. For this particular visa you have to go through a thorough procedure. This way you will have to explain what you are going to do and where you will stay. Not every reason for staying for a period longer than 90 days is just assumed. You can’t apply for this visa for America online. You need to contact the U.S. Embassy for this. They then give you the different possibilities of what can and cannot be done and more importantly: what the right visa is for your trip. More information can be found here.
How long does an application take?
The time for applying for this visa for America is difficult to determine. Each file is different and will take a different time. What is certain is that you can apply for any visa on time. It’s often not arranged in one week.
3 Immigration visa
Another visa for America, which does not really apply to a tourist, is the immigration visa. With this visa you apply for a permanent stay in America. A visa that is highly sought after but rarely given by America. You can only obtain this through your employer in America, a marriage or by investing a lot of money in America. Unfortunately, this is not for everyone. This visa is sometimes called a Greencard. This also gives you the right to buy a property in America.
However, there is one exception for the above visa. For example, every year there is the Diversity Lottery. A competition organized by the American state in which 55,000 of these visas are given away each year. Even if the chances of winning are minimal. Because every year, about 20 million people sign up for this competition. The Diversity Lottery can easily be found online.
Visa for America
Hopefully you have found all the information you were looking for about a visa to America and you will soon be back to this beautiful and diverse country. If you have any questions, you can ask them in the comments or on our Facebook page.