US Visa Immigration Consular Processing
Most foreign nationals wishing to come to the US for business, study or pleasure on a temporary basis can obtain a nonimmigrant visa at a US consulate. Exceptions exist to nonimmigrant visa requirements for entry into the US , such as the no visa requirement for 90-day visits for aliens with electronic passports from specific countries in the Visa Waiver Program, parolees, and Canadians seeking entry in categories other than the E visa. Residents of Mexico or Canada can enter for limited time and distance with a border-crossing card, or "laser visa", which is considered a B1/B2 visa. Otherwise, the vast majority of the remaining people who enter the US each year require a visa.
The process for obtaining a visa can vary from consulate to consulate, but there are some basic, common elements to the process. Applicants for nonimmigrants visas are generally required to submit a form DS-156 with a photograph meeting current Department of State specifications (currently a passport photo), males (and females from certain countries) are required to complete a Form DS-157, and DS-158 is required of certain F, J and M visa applicants. Nonimmigrant visa applicants must also show proof of eligibility for the type of visa sought (including an approval notice from USCIS in certain categories) and proof of payment of the machine readable visa application ("MRV"). The individual consulate may also require special forms. Other documents required depend on the type of visa sought. Also, the applicant must have a valid, unexpired passport.