US Visas - Frequently asked questions on how to work and study in America

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Martí Micolau

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  • Questions about the ESTA
  • General visa questions
  • Student visa questions
  • Work and live in the USA

Questions about the ESTA

What is the Esta? Is it a visa? Is it possible to apply for an extension once in the United States?

No, it is not a Visa and therefore the duration cannot be extended. It is an authorization to embark for the USA. It is part of a visa-free travel program in which several countries, including Spain, are members. To find out more go to the documents page.

I have been refused a visa application, can I travel with the ESTA?

No. Unfortunately, after the refusal of a visa it will no longer be possible to use the ESTA.

I traveled with the Esta but stayed in the US for more than 90 days. What will happen to me?

You may be denied authorization for a new Esta, or you may be stopped at immigration and sent back to Spain. In order to visit the United States again you must apply for a B2 tourist visa.

I have to make a stopover in the United States to go to another country. Do I have to fill in the Esta?

If you are a citizen of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program, you must fill in the Esta and in the address field write “In Transit” and the final destination.

If I am driving to Canada and driving from here to the United States, do I have to complete the Est?

No, it's not necessary. Customs will have you fill out Form I-94W.

I still have a valid ESA from a previous trip, but my passport has changed. Can I use the Esta itself?

No. You have to fill in another Esta with your new passport details.

I got Esta authorization for a trip to the USA. Can I look for a job and then apply for a Visa without returning to Spain?

No, it is illegal to seek work while on a tourist trip.

I wrote the passport issue date wrong, but the authorization of the Esta is positive. Can I feel comfortable?

Unfortunately you have to submit another question. Passport details must be correct.

How long is the ESTA valid for?

It is generally valid for two years. In these 2 years you can go to the United States without asking for other authorizations (unless your passport has expired, then you have to make a new Esta), updating only the travel data.

My Esta expires on 12 October 2012, I have to leave from 7 to 17 October, do I have to fill in another Esta?

No. The deadline of the Esta refers to the date of departure only for the United States, so if the departure is scheduled before the Esta deadline there is no problem.

I recently returned from a 3 month trip to the USA with the ESTA, how much time must pass before I can return?

There is no such rule that establishes how long to wait. In theory it is possible to return to Spain and leave the next day. However, it must be borne in mind that the purpose of the Esta is to make life easier for those who go for tourism or business. A tourist does not normally travel 6 months or more a year to the United States, so some doubts about American immigration may arise regarding the true purpose of the trip. Surely it would be more appropriate and prudent to apply for a visa.

General visa questions

I have a B2 visa for tourism. If it expires while I'm in the US, do I have to ask for a new one?

No, it's not necessary. The deadline refers to the last effective date to use the visa. If it lasts 6 months, you can stay the time allowed, unless immigration decides otherwise.

My Visa expired 8 months ago, do I have to apply for a new one and repeat the interview at the consulate?

No, if the visa has expired for less than 12 months you can renew it without repeating a new interview, provided that: you are applying for a visa of the same category; you are physically present in Spain at the time of the request; you have Spanish citizenship or reside legally in Spain; 10 fingerprints have been taken in a previous interview with the consulate and there is no "Clearance received" notation on the visa.

Do I need to apply for a B2 Visa for me and my 81 year old grandfather, will we do two separate interviews?

The interviews are always single, but usually those over 79 and children under 14 are exempt from the interview.

How long do I have to wait to get the Visa? I have already bought the plane ticket and I don't want to lose money.

It is highly recommended that you buy your air ticket only after obtaining a visa. The practice, on average, should be completed in about 90 days. The waiting time to get the appointment varies according to the consulate (Rome, Milan, Naples etc.), consult this page and choose the consulate of your district. To this waiting time must be added the time necessary for the administrative procedure (not always foreseen), which can be 60 days from the day of the interview. Then the time for the delivery of the passport by courier must be added up, if this option is chosen.

Can I be accompanied to the interview by someone who speaks English?

No, it is not allowed. Only the applicant is required to attend the interview.

I still have a valid visa but my passport has expired. What should I do?

You must renew your passport, BUT you must also keep the old one on which the Visa was applied. During the trip you must present both passports (issued by the same country). You do NOT have to remove the Visa from the expired passport.

Student visa questions

I have to enroll in an English course in Los Angeles, do I need a Visa?

If the course is less than 18 hours per week (max 90 days), no Visa is required, but ESTA is enough. If it lasts more than 90 days and the hours are always less than 18, you must apply for a type B tourist visa. for students, which can be F-18, M, J, Q according to the type: academic, professional, internship / cultural exchange. Each school will provide you with information for documents useful for obtaining a visa.

To attend a university / language course / etc., how soon do I have to apply for a Visa?

Minimum 120 days before the start date of the lessons. Better to do it as soon as possible.

Work and live in the USA

I want to work as an Au Pair in the USA, what visa does it take and what requirements do I have to meet?

The required age is between 18 and 26 years, good knowledge of spoken English and secondary education diploma or equivalent. You need the J-1 Visa.

I want to go to live in the United States, what documents do I need?

It is not easy to become an American citizen. You need to get the famous Green Card, the residence permit. You can ask for it by marrying an American or win it through the lottery held every year.

I want to go to work in the United States, what Visa do I need?

In order to work in the United States it is necessary to obtain a work visa through a company or employer willing to sponsor you and hire you.

They offered me a job in New York and I will have a work visa. Can I get it to my partner as well?

No, unfortunately it is only possible for the spouse and unmarried children.

I am married to an American citizen, how can I get the Green Card?

First, the American spouse will have to fill out the I-130 form for you to apply for the Green Card. apply for authorization by completing Form I-3

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