Frequently Asked Questions

Section 214(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act States:
“Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until s/he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of the application for a visa, s/he is entitled to non-immigrant status.” By law, the burden of proof is on the applicant to show that he or she qualifies for a non-immigrant visa and is not an intending immigrant. The consular officer uses the interview to determine the intentions of the applicant.

“Ties” are aspects of life that bind people to their place of residence, including, but not limited to, possessions, family relationships, employment, education, and prospects in Zambia. As each person’s situation is different, there are no set answers or documents as to what constitutes adequate ties.

Consular Officers refer to documents only if they can provide additional insight into the case. The application form, if completed thoroughly, contains the information needed to adjudicate the visa. If there are additional documents required, the consular officer indicates that during the interview. It is the interview that is the most important part of the consular officer’s decision.

You can reapply at any time by following the same procedures as you did for your previous visa interview. In most cases it is better to wait until your personal circumstances have changed significantly before reapplying. Please make sure that you refill and submit a new application form, DS-160 and re-schedule a new appointment and bring any supporting documents that you did not bring to your previous interview.

There is no appeal process for nonimmigrant visa application. You may reapply at any time and have another interview for your case to be reconsidered.  If you decide to reapply, please submit the new application form together with all supporting documents and follow the same process you did for your previous interview.

An I-20 Form is one of several documents that are required to apply for a student visa. It does not guarantee a visa. A student applicant must show that they intend to pursue an education in the U.S. and also that they intend to return to their home country upon completion of their studies. Student visa applicants are also required to show that they have sufficient funds for at least the first year of school and a source of funding for the remainder of their education. In addition, students should have a sufficient knowledge of English to pursue the intended course of study.

A letter, even from a U.S. citizen, rarely establishes the applicant’s ties to their home country. U.S. law requires each applicant to qualify for a visa on his or her own merits.

Such letters are considered, but the applicant’s intentions are still the key to the adjudicating officer’s decision.

Full disclosure is best. Close relatives and pending immigrant petitions do not necessarily disqualify an applicant. Family ties are just one of many factors used in determining ties to one’s home country.

If a consular officer uncovers any attempt to conceal or misrepresent, the applicant will usually be denied a visa. The applicant may, in certain cases, be ruled permanently ineligible to enter the United States.

No, we are unable to publicly comment on any individual’s visa application. Each visa applicant was given the reason(s) why they were denied during the visa interview. In general, any applicants who have been previously refused are welcome to reapply at any time by following the same process they did before they came for the interview.  Another consular officer will interview them but please be informed that the decision to grant or deny a visa is based on the consular officer’s evaluation of an applicant’s circumstances in their native country and cannot be based on the assurances of friends or relatives of the applicants or third parties, no matter how well intended.

A majority of nonimmigrant visa applicants (Tourist, Temporary Business/Conference, Crew/ Transit, and Student/Exchange – B-1/B-2, C-1, D, F, M and J visa applicants) must pay a non-refundable visa application fee of US$160.00. Applicants for H, L, O, P, Q and R visas (the petition-based visas) must pay US$190.00.  This fee must be paid at the cashier window in the consular waiting room, prior to the visa interview on the day of the scheduled appointment. Some types of visas require additional fees.  For more information on the types of visas that have these requirements, please consult the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Visa Reciprocity Table.

No, this is a non-refundable fee for the visa application process.

In a typical day, a consular officer may need to interview many applicants in a very short amount of time. However, your application form, if completed thoroughly, contains most of the information needed to adjudicate a visa. Additional documents are examined only if a consular officer needs to obtain further clarification of your situation.

Consular officers evaluate applications on a case-by-case basis. There is no set list of documents that guarantees issuance (or refusal) of a visa as each case is different. What may demonstrate strong ties in one case may not do so in another

You can enter the United States no earlier than one month before the start date listed on your I-20/DS-2019 Form.

You can attend your scheduled appointment and present your new passport. If you are not able to obtain a new passport before your appointment date, you must reschedule your appointment. You will not be able to apply for a visa without a valid passport.

If it is not possible for you to attend the interview on the date of your appointment, you can change/cancel your appointment here. Another person cannot attend your appointment. The appointment is non-transferable. Only the person(s) scheduled will be admitted to the Consular Section.

Fingerprints will be collected after you submit the application. Fingerprints are collected using an inkless, electronic process. This requirement will not significantly increase the length of your interview.

Only individuals applying for a visa are allowed to enter the Consular Section and to participate in the visa interview.  No exceptions are made for American citizens who are family members, fiancés, colleagues, or friends of the applicant. The only exceptions, on a case by case basis, are for children under the age of 14, elderly applicants, or applicants with disabilities who may be accompanied under certain circumstances.

Yes, if you will be entering the United States for a reason consistent with the type of valid visa you have. You should carry the old expired passport that contains the valid U.S. visa and your current valid passport. You will use both passports for entry to the United States.

A nonimmigrant visa cannot be renewed/extended regardless of its type. You have to apply for a new visa.

As of January 4, 2010, if you are HIV positive, you are eligible to apply for a visa to travel to the United States.

Yes, an applicant has the right to apply for a nonimmigrant visa at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. Therefore, you can apply at the Consular Section, the United States Embassy in Lusaka.

However, it may be harder to qualify for a visa when applying outside your own country of permanent residence. At your interview you will be required to demonstrate that you have strong ties abroad, and that you will return overseas after your visit to the United States. If you choose to apply in Zambia, keep in mind that your application may be refused, and the application fee is non-refundable.

The most frequent basis for refusal concerns the requirement that the prospective visitor or student possesses a residence abroad that he/she has no intention of abandoning. Applicants need to prove the existence of such residence by demonstrating that they have ties abroad which would compel them to leave the United States at the end of the temporary stay.

No, you must have the original documents to apply, and you must bring the complete pages of the form to the Consular Section on the interview day.