DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visas in Arizona: Facts to Know Before You Leave Home
Failure to obtain your proper travel documents before entry to the US could lead to serious consequences when your trip will last more than 90 days. There are also harsh implications if you did get the proper nonimmigrant visa, but then failed to extend or renew as required by law. Situations of overstaying your visa could affect your finances and future.
Regardless of whether you are visiting for tourism, business, or school, you want the confidence of knowing that your travel documents are in order before you leave your home country. Fortunately, with help from an Arizona nonimmigrant visa lawyer, you remain in compliance with US immigration laws and avoid harsh outcomes. Some additional facts about Form DS-160 are also informative.
How Nonimmigrant Visas Work in Arizona
A nonimmigrant visa is issued to a foreign citizen who is seeking to visit the US temporarily for personal travel, business, and other designated reasons. When your stay will be less than 90 days, you will likely be covered by the VWP and not required to obtain a visa. By US diplomatic policy, foreign nationals from certain countries can enter for this limited period of time.
If your trip to the US will be longer than 90 days, you must complete the US Department of State Nonimmigrant Visa Application DS-160. The information you provide will be used by officials to determine whether you qualify to enter the US for the specific purpose you indicate on the form. The DS-160 is not a guarantee that you will be allowed entry into the US. You must still obtain the visa, such as a B1/B2 visitor visa or a K-1 spouse visa, through a US embassy or consulate in your home country. Then, at your port of entry into the US, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will review your nonimmigrant visa and other travel documents.
A nonimmigrant visa does not grant any immigration status or put you on the path to becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). However, if you were to ever seek a green card, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will review your previous visits to the US to determine if you were present unlawfully. Overstaying a nonimmigrant visa could be grounds for inadmissibility.
Who Must Complete Form DS-160
A DS-160 is required for anyone who will visit the US on a B1/B2 visa as a visitor, as well as those looking to enter the US to get married under a K-1 visa. For those traveling as a family, all adults and children must submit the form. Parents can complete the DS-160 on a child’s behalf, and they must indicate that they assisted with the application when preparing it.
The DS-160 application is strictly for nonimmigrant visas, so you would not complete the form if you are currently looking into getting a green card. You certainly want to submit it and comply with all requirements when there is a possibility you want LPR status in the future.
Steps to Filing a DS-160 Application in Arizona
The application is entirely online through the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC), so an important first step is ensuring you have access to a secure internet connection. You will need certain documents handy, including your passport, identification issued by your home country, US Social Security or Taxpayer ID number, and travel itinerary. As you are working through the application, be prepared to provide the following information for each person traveling:
- Personal and biographical details, including date of birth and contact information;
- Your travel plans, purpose, and dates of arrival and departure;
- Facts about prior trips to the US for any period of time;
- Specifics about our family and relatives, including your marital status; and,
- Your employment history and education go back five years.
In addition, the DS-160 includes a list of background questions that you must answer as a matter of national security. They are closed-ended questions that require a Yes or No answer, but it is critical that you review each one carefully. When you sign electronically, you attest that the information you provide is true and correct. There can be consequences for dishonesty or mistakes.
Finally, you will need to upload a photo as part of completing DS-160. Showing your passport will not be sufficient when you move into the next phase of getting a nonimmigrant visa. After completing and signing your DS-160, you will print and retain the confirmation page generated by the CEAC website.
Next Steps with Nonimmigrant Visas in Arizona
Completing the DS-160 does not provide you with a nonimmigrant visa, but it sets the foundation for the next phase of getting your proper travel documents: The visa interview. Once you submit the application electronically, it is processed by your local US Embassy or Consulate. You will need to check with these officials about how to schedule your appointment, keeping in mind that all visitors traveling with you must go through the visa interview process.
On the date of your visa interview, you should bring the confirmation page of your DS-160 and a printed version of the photo that you electronically uploaded. The US Embassy or Consulate agent will be able to access your entire application through the confirmation page. He or she will go through each item on the form and review the information you provided. You might need to answer additional questions or clarify some of the details. After the interview, the US Embassy or Consulate will either approve or deny the DS-160 for your nonimmigrant visa.
Frequently Asked Questions About DS-160
How much does it cost to file DS-160? There is no filing fee for the application itself, but the DS-160 serves as a support for a nonimmigrant visa. The USCIS does charge filing fees for B1/B2 visitors, K-1 visas, and other visas.
Are there any additional documents to submit with DS-160? Most applicants will only need the confirmation page and their photo, but some may need to present additional paperwork. For instance, a student will need their ID information from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Those seeking a visa as temporary workers may need a copy of their I-129 – Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.
Do I need to complete an application if I am renewing a nonimmigrant visa? Yes, you must complete DS-160 regardless of whether you are seeking a new visa or must renew your existing travel documents.
What happens if I overstay a nonimmigrant visa? The consequences of being present in the US without proper documentation are severe and may include:
- Deportation and removal from the US;
- A three-year ban on re-entry into the US, if you were unlawfully present for 180 to 365 days;
- A 10-year ban on re-entry, where you overstayed your nonimmigrant visa for more than a year; and,
- A permanent ban, if you attempt to re-enter after accumulating more than one year of overstay in multiple visits.
Are there valid reasons to overstay my visa? Under US immigration laws that create exceptions for overstaying, you may not be considered as being unlawfully present. The consequences mentioned above do not apply if:
- You have proof of abuse as the reason for overstaying.
- You have filed an asylum application with USCIS.
- You applied for a green card and your application is pending.
- You are a victim of trafficking, and this was the reason for your unlawful presence.
Legal Help with Nonimmigrant Visas
The above information is a helpful summary as you review your options for traveling to the US for a temporary stay, but the details on completing a DS-160 application are complicated. Errors or omissions could lead to delays, and you may even be denied permission to enter on a nonimmigrant visa. An Arizona immigrant visas attorney will help you avoid headaches and mistakes, so you can stay on track with your visit to the US. Your lawyer will assist by:
- Consulting with you about your circumstances, purposes of travel, and who will accompany you on the trip;
- Gathering information from you and guiding you through the completion of Form DS-160;
- Helping you collect necessary evidence or other documentation needed for your application;
- Checking on the status of your DS-160 application and coordinating with US Embassy or Consulate officials to arrange the visa interview;
- Coaching you in preparation for the visa interview;
- Handling any follow-up as necessary before you depart your home nation;
- Preparing additional DS-160 applications as necessary to renew your visa and extend your visit; and,
- Counseling you on the implications of overstaying a nonimmigrant visa.
A Skilled Arizona Immigration Attorney Will Help Navigate Form DS-160
As you can see from these facts about nonimmigrant visas, retaining legal counsel is an important first step for securing proper travel documents before you leave home. If you are seeking to travel to the US for a temporary stay, you can trust our team at Diamondback Legal to counsel you through the process. To learn more about Form DS-160, please contact us at (602) 755-3199 or visit our website. We are happy to set up a consultation with an experienced Arizona immigrant visa lawyer.
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