To initiate your application for a US visit visa from Pakistan, you’ll begin by filling out the online form known as D-160 and making the necessary payments. Following this, you’ll schedule an appointment at the embassy for an interview. Drawing from my personal experience with a Pakistani passport, I’ll guide you through each step of the process.
For those seeking a tourist visa, you’ll be required to furnish evidence of your travel arrangements. This includes a comprehensive itinerary outlining your intended journey to the United States, which will be requested when you start the DS-160 form.
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Applying for a US visit Visa from Pakistan: A Step-by-Step Guide
Let walk you through the step-by-step process of obtaining a US visa in Pakistan. To kickstart the procedure, head over to a designated website and complete the D-160 form online. Following this, navigate to another website to register yourself.
Click here to schedule an appointment
Once you’ve filled out the D-160 form on the first website, proceed to register for an appointment on the second site. This platform will generate a fee slip for you, which you’ll then take to a nearby Allied Bank branch to settle the necessary visa fee. Following payment, you’ll be able to secure an appointment after a day’s time. On the day of your appointment, you’ll undergo an interview with a visa officer at the embassy or consulate.
USA Visit Visa Requirements for Pakistani Passport Holders
The US embassy in Islamabad and the consulate general in Karachi are the designated centers for receiving non-immigrant visa applications from Pakistani applicants. Residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and FATA should submit their applications to the embassy in Islamabad, while those from Sindh and Balochistan should reach out to the consulate general in Karachi.
Essential Criteria for a US Visa in Pakistan
- A passport, valid for at least 6 months
- Appointment letter (Printed)
- Visa application confirmation (Printed)
The mentioned essential documents should be brought to the embassy or consulate when applying for a US visa in Pakistan. Below, I will provide additional supporting documents for your application.
Supplemental Documents for US Visit Visa Applications from Pakistan
To support your visa application, you may choose to bring along the following additional documents. However, it is not mandatory to do so. The most critical aspect of obtaining a US visa is the interview. If you satisfy the interviewing officer with honest and clear answers, your chances of success are higher. Here is a list of optional additional documents:
- Bank statement for the last 6 months
- Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
- B-form for your children (if they are accompanying you)
- FRC – Family registration certificate (if the family is accompanying you)
- Employment Letter (if employed)
- Leave Certificate (if employed)
- Company Registration & Relevant Documents (if self-employed)
- Property papers (if you own property in Pakistan)
Please note, these documents are not mandatory. Only present them if the officer specifically requests them. If the officer has difficulty understanding your statements, providing a document can help clarify your situation. In my case, the officer only asked to see my bank statement. She examined it briefly and returned it to me immediately.
While explaining my purpose for visiting the US, the interviewing officer had some difficulty understanding me, likely due to the glass window separating us. To ensure clarity, I presented the invitation letter I received from the US company I was visiting. This helped her comprehend my reason for traveling to the USA.
Interview Queries for Pakistani Applicants of US Visit Visa
The US visa process consists of two parts. The initial phase involves submitting your application online, while the second phase requires attending an interview at the embassy. In the first part, you provide all the necessary information, including details from your passport and the purpose of your visit visa to the USA. When you face the officer, they already have this information from your form, along with data from various databases. It’s crucial to be truthful in your application; providing false information can lead to visa refusal.
The visa interview typically begins with fundamental questions, many of which you’ve already addressed in the application form. These may include inquiries like why you’re going to the USA and how long you plan to stay.
During the 5 to 6-minute interview, expect follow-up questions and cross-questions. The officials aim to understand your genuine purpose for visiting the USA. They are skilled at discerning honesty from falsehood.
Simply be yourself and respond truthfully. It’s vital to maintain consistency in your statements. Many of the questions will be drawn from the visa application you filled out online in the D-160 form.
Understanding Administrative Processing for US Visit Visa
Currently, it’s quite common for US visa applications to undergo an administrative process. This process involves a security background check, typically conducted within the USA by agencies like the FBI.
If the visa officer takes your passport and provides you with a document indicating administrative processing, it means that, in principle, your US visa is approved. However, the visa officer requires a security check to be carried out by the US government.
The duration of this process can vary significantly, ranging from one week to one year. It’s important to note that this is a case-specific procedure. In my case, the administrative process for my visa application took only one week. However, some individuals have reported it taking more than six months for them.
Importance of Travel History for US Visit Visa Applications
It’s important to note that a robust travel history is not always a prerequisite. If you have strong factors like solid ties to your home and a reputable professional background, an extensive travel history may not be as crucial.
I find it perplexing why some individuals travel solely to accumulate a travel history. Personally, when I applied for a US visa, I had only visited Thailand, Malaysia, UAE, and Sri Lanka. None of these trips were undertaken with the intention of enhancing my US visa application. It’s worth mentioning that my UK visa had been rejected just 15 days before I applied for the US visa.
However, if you’re a single individual under 30, having some travel experience can bolster your case. Generally, those who are married and possess a strong professional background tend to have higher chances of US visa approval.
Visa officers are keen on understanding what ties you to your home country and what you’re leaving behind when you travel. Family (spouse and children) holds paramount importance in this regard. Additionally, a thriving business or a stable, long-term job are considered significant ties for visa purposes.
Consider this scenario: A close associate faced two rejections for a US visa. Despite having compelling merits, being unmarried and lacking international travel experience proved a hurdle. At 24 years of age, the odds were against him. In contrast, another individual, aged 42 with a family, modest income, and limited travel history (Malaysia & Dubai), secured visa approval in a mere five minutes.
The US visa application process, relatively speaking, is notably streamlined. It’s akin to a calculated risk for many Pakistanis. On interview day, it’s either a swift visa acquisition or a loss of the $160 application fee. This underlines the importance of meticulous preparation. Your purpose for visiting the USA must be genuine and presented with utmost clarity when probed by the visa officer.
Financial Requirements: How Much Bank Statement is Needed?
In terms of finances, more is definitely better. While having a substantial amount in your bank account is advantageous, it’s important to be realistic, especially for working-class individuals. Considering the considerable expenses and distance between Pakistan and the USA, it’s crucial to have sufficient funds available when applying for a visit visa.
For instance, if you earn Rs. 100,000 per month in Pakistan, having around 1 million PKR in your account demonstrates sound financial management. This signifies savings from your earnings. It’s also wise to assess your income and expenses. If your spending approaches or exceeds your earnings, it may weaken your application. To be on the safe side, I recommend submitting a bank statement with more than 1 million rupees, considering the high costs associated with the USA.
Concluding Thoughts on the US Visa Process
For unmarried individuals, focusing on establishing strong business or job connections, property ties, and accumulating travel experiences can be particularly beneficial. If you’re an avid traveler, exploring tourism opportunities in the USA is a sensible choice, given the generous 5-year visa duration. Applying for a US visa is a worthwhile endeavor, as it can lead to numerous opportunities. With a valid US visa, you’ll enjoy visa-free access to countries like Turkey, Georgia, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Additionally, holding a US visa significantly boosts your chances of obtaining a Canadian visa on a Pakistani passport.