Certain foreign maritime workers are eligible to apply for a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) once in the U.S. If you, as a maritime industry worker, will perform services in secure port areas, your visa must be annotated “TWIC Letter Received.” Workers whose visas are not annotated will not be permitted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to apply for a TWIC.
Visa rules can be different for nationals of different countries, reflecting the countries’ relationship to the U.S. and their history. Many visa rules are based on the principle of reciprocity. If, for example, the United States requires visitors from a country to apply for a visa a month in advance at a cost of $50, that country is likely to apply the same rules to U.S. citizens traveling to their country. This means that a Canadian and American traveling together to Laos, for example, might receive visas for two different lengths of stay and each pay a different visa fee, even though they arrived in Laos on the same day.
Review the ETA visa criteria to make sure it meets your needs. An ETA allows you to travel to Australia as a tourist, to visit family or friends, or to conduct certain business activities. As a business visitor, you can do things like negotiate contracts, make business inquiries, or take part in a conference or seminar (although you can't get paid for your contribution to any conference or seminar).[2]
On Aug. 9, 2018 USCIS issued a policy memorandum (Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants (PDF, 129 KB) changing how the agency calculates unlawful presence for students and exchange visitors in F, J, and M nonimmigrant status, including F-2, J-2, and M-2 dependents, who fail to maintain status in the United States. Additional information is available on the Unlawful Presence and Bars to Admissibility page. 
Pick any two countries. Say Hungary and Netherlands. Show a flight itinerary to fly into Budapest and out from Amsterdam, but also another itinerary for Budapest to Amsterdam. You will basically provide two flight itineraries. Plus provide hotel reservations in 2 or 3 cities in Hungary and Netherlands. After your visa approval, you can purchase your actual tickets to fly into Budapest and fly out from Amsterdam.
Another website (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.html) can also tell you the expected wait time for a visa in your country. International student visa applicants should receive priority by the embassy or consulate. So, if your academic program begins soon, be sure to explain this when applying for your visa.
Complete your health examination if necessary. Not all visitor's visa applicants need a health examination. However, you may need one depending on the country you're applying from, how long you plan to stay in Australia, and what you plan to do there. If a health examination is required, you'll get a HAP ID that you must use when you arrange your examination.[25]
If you are going to the USA to learn English and then earn a degree, be able to explain your complete program of study. Remember, it is not enough to just say, “It is better to study in the United States.” Give valid reasons why it is better for you. Visa officers like to hear honest, direct responses to questions. They generally react poorly to applicants who give vague answers, memorize a speech, or make overly solicitous comments about how great and wonderful the United States is.
1. It doesn’t matter much. I have known readers who have applied for the UK visa first and Schengen later. They had similar itineraries comprising a trip to UK and Europe. In my opinion, going for the UK visa first is better since your passport will be away at the UK consulate for almost 30 days. You can neither track your visa status nor talk to someone at the consulate. It can be annoying if you already had your Schengen visa and the travel dates are approaching.
Visa officers are giving increased scrutiny to all visa applicants. This simply means that you need to make sure you are well prepared for your visa interview. Be sure to follow the suggestions in the accompanying article. You should be able to explain in the very brief visa interview why you want to study in the United States, what you will study and how this will prepare you for work in your country when you finish your studies. You need to be able to explain why you applied to the school that has accepted you and how you will pay for your studies and living expenses. You may also be asked additional questions, including your identity on social networks like Facebook.
If you want to travel to Australia, whether on vacation or to visit friends or family, you need a tourist visa. The Australian Department of Home Affairs calls these "visitor" visas. To be eligible for any visitor visa, you must be a genuine visitor (not intending to stay there indefinitely) and have enough money to support yourself throughout your entire stay and to return home. There are a few common types of visitor visas (called "streams") that have additional eligibility requirements. You can get a visitor visa online or at an Australian embassy or consulate.[1]
As you begin to think about funding sources for your educational and living expenses in the United States, remember that you cannot count on working in the United States unless you have been granted a teaching or research assistantship. Immigration regulations are very strict with respect to working while carrying a student visa, and when you submit evidence of your financial resources, you cannot rely on potential income. The income on which you base your application must be assured, and it must be equal to or exceed the costs of the first year of your studies.
5. My actual plan is to use flight only for ENTRY and EXITING time from starting to end of the total trip as I am travelling on budget. Therefore, HOW THE CHEAP AND BEST WAY I should show confirmed RETURN TICKET to each country without really booking a confirmed ticket? Can REFUNDABLE TICKET with VOA be the only good option OR there may be other better ways to do that(I am not a frequent flier though)?
Provide your flight itinerary as is (into Budapest and out from Amsterdam) and provide hotel reservations in all the cities you are planning to visit (Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Paris, Amsterdam). When submitting your application, just let the visa officer know that you will purchase rail/road tickets later since you are still researching cheaper options.
Grades do make a difference. If your marks are below average, be ready to provide explanation on how you are going to succeed in the United States. A letter from a school director or teacher, or from your U.S. admitting school stating that the proposed program of study in the United States makes sense and explaining your good prospects for success can be helpful. If there were special circumstances (such as a death or illness in the immediate family) that contributed to the poor grades, have the school explain those special circumstances.

I am from India and for the past 5 years, I am working/living in the San Francisco area. I am planning to visit Spain in Sep’19 for tourism. The trip will be for 12 days. I have the Schengen Visa appt coming up in 10 days at the Spanish embassy in San Francisco. I landed on your blog while searching for tips to get required documents for visa appt such as Flight reservations, Hotel bookings, etc. I looked at many of the responses you provided and they looked very precise and very helpful. I want to thank you for the service you are providing to travelers from all over the world especially the ones with “powerless” Indian passport. Kudos to you.
Hi GQ! Thanks for the kind words! I understand that your cruise will start and end in Italy. But, are you flying into Italy to catch your cruise? If so, you would need to show the round trip tickets to and from Italy for Schengen visa application. For example, say you reside in India. In that case, you would need show roundtrip ticket from India-Italy and Italy-India.

Visa officers are giving increased scrutiny to all visa applicants. This simply means that you need to make sure you are well prepared for your visa interview. Be sure to follow the suggestions in the accompanying article. You should be able to explain in the very brief visa interview why you want to study in the United States, what you will study and how this will prepare you for work in your country when you finish your studies. You need to be able to explain why you applied to the school that has accepted you and how you will pay for your studies and living expenses. You may also be asked additional questions, including your identity on social networks like Facebook.
The ETA is a multiple-entry visa, which means you can enter and leave Australia as often as you want during the 12 months your ETA is valid. However, you can't stay for more than 3 months at a time. You also can't extend an ETA if it expires while you're in Australia. If you plan to stay in Australia for more than 3 months, you'll have to apply for a different type of visa. 

My GCC visa renewal time is 3 & half months away from now, and usually my company will renew only in the last week before expiry. In fact, I had included a NOC letter from my Company which amongst other things like leave consent, etc, also confirms that they will renew my Contract and my Resident Visa for another 2 years upon my return to country after US/German leisure trip. I had given a similar letter from company to US embassy and there were no questions asked.

Students who are authorized Optional Practical Training (OPT) must have a Form I-20 endorsed for OPT, and apply to USCIS for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). When authorized, OPT is temporary employment that is directly related to the eligible F-1 student's area of study. To learn more about OPT, please visit the USCIS Website and the ICE International Students webpage.
As an international student coming to the United States, there are three different student visas that you could be issued: F1 Visa, J1 Visa or M1 Visa. The F1 and J1 visas allow for the possibility of employment in the US during your stay, while the M1 Visa does not. You need to be familiar with the types of visas, how they impact your financing while in the USA and how to go through the application and arrival processes.
2. Go ahead with this option if you can wait. This is a much better option. Your GCC visa renewal is three and a half months away. I am not sure how long the GCC renewal will take, but I assume 2 weeks. Overall, you have to wait for about 4 months. You will then have GCC visa valid for 2 years. The German embassy may even issue a 30 or 90 visa this time.
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. You must have a student visa to study in the United States. Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine whether you need an F visa or an M visa.
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Some airlines will let you hold your reservation for up to 5 days if you are purchasing an award ticket or using your airline miles. The held reservation is a printable itinerary that you can use for your visa application. The reservation might say that it needs to be purchased within a given time. But, it is still an acceptable option for visa applications. Few examples –

Last year, Feb 18 I was refused by Netherlands embassy reason 2. justification for the purpose and condition of intended stay was not provided and reason no 9. your intention to leave territory could not be ascertained. Because during the telephonic interview I could not answer the hotel name and address. at that time also not submitted my business license. Applied as freelancer, also no travel history, so refused. Then in a week reapply in Czech republic again refused with the same reason 2 and 9.


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Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for a temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), for tourism (visa category B-2), or for a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).
The first step is to apply to a SEVP-approved school in the United States.  After the SEVP-approved school accepts your enrollment, you will be registered for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.  The SEVP-approved school will issue you a Form I-20.  After you receive the Form I-20 and register in SEVIS, you may apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a student (F or M) visa.  You must present the Form I-20 to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview.

ALERT: On May 3, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued an injunction (PDF) regarding PM-602-1060 and PM-602-1060.1, policy memoranda titled, “Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants,” issued on May 10, 2018, and Aug. 9, 2018, respectively. Due to the nationwide preliminary injunction, USCIS is preliminarily enjoined from applying the policies in these policy memoranda to F, J, and M nonimmigrants. Until further notice, USCIS will apply the prior policy guidance in AFM Chapter 40.9.2, issued on May 6, 2009: Consolidation of Guidance Concerning Unlawful Presence for Purposes of Sections 212(a)(9)(b)(i) and 212(a)(9)(c)(i)(I) of the Act (PDF, 2.90 MB).


At the time of enrollment, the U.S. school will enroll the applicant in SEVIS and provide the applicant with a Form I-20 to present to the consular officer at the visa interview. The SEVIS I-901 application fee is $200. If the applicant's spouse or children intend to reside in the U.S. with the applicant, they must obtain individual Form I-20s, but they do not pay the SEVIS fee.

Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students, Form I-20 or Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students, Form I-20 – Your school will send you a Form I-20 once they have entered your information in the SEVIS database. You and your school official must sign the Form I-20.  All students must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS). Your spouse and/or minor children, if they intend live in the United States with you, will each receive an individual Form I-20.


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Very good article. I am in a complicated situation at this point in time. I have booked tickets From Chicago – Frankfurt – Chennai through Lufthansa. My H1 stamped visa is expired on December 2016 but I have a valid visa extension approved until Jan 2020. After going through a lot of forums I see that the airline would need a Transit Visa for the itinerary even though I am traveling to my home country. For apply Transit Visa to Germany, I do not have the appointments online before my travel date. So I thought I could apply for a tourist visa to Japan so that I won’t need a transit visa. But Japan visa condition say I would need an itinerary for visa application and a valid ticket to pick the visa for approval. What should I do? Please help!
Meet the criteria for eligibility. The eVisitor visa is only available for citizens of European countries. You must have a valid passport – non-citizen passports or other travel documents are not eligible. While British citizens are eligible, those with British National Overseas, British Overseas Territories Citizen, British Overseas Citizen, British Protected Person, or British Subject passports are not.[10]
Collecting passport stamps is favorite pasttime of many travelers. Some passport stamps indicate that a visa has been granted. Sometimes visas are added to the passport in the form of a full-page sticker. Passport stamps and visas not only indicate someone who is well traveled, but someone who has been to countries further afield, since travel to Canada, Mexico and Europe generally doesn't require a visa.
Failure to depart the United States on time will result in being out of status. Under U.S. law, visas of individuals who are out of status are automatically voided (Section 222(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act).  Any multiple entry visa that was voided due to being out of status will not be valid for future entries into the United States. 
While in US and since I’m travelling solo, I have a special interest to visit these places for 3-4 days each – Anchorage in Alaska, El Salvador & Trinadad (as you know, for the last two, Indians don’t need visa). But, I’m thinking how to plan my trips wisely and from which part of US to fly out and back in in order to save on air fares. Any pointers?
Pick any two countries. Say Hungary and Netherlands. Show a flight itinerary to fly into Budapest and out from Amsterdam, but also another itinerary for Budapest to Amsterdam. You will basically provide two flight itineraries. Plus provide hotel reservations in 2 or 3 cities in Hungary and Netherlands. After your visa approval, you can purchase your actual tickets to fly into Budapest and fly out from Amsterdam. 

Pick any two countries. Say Hungary and Netherlands. Show a flight itinerary to fly into Budapest and out from Amsterdam, but also another itinerary for Budapest to Amsterdam. You will basically provide two flight itineraries. Plus provide hotel reservations in 2 or 3 cities in Hungary and Netherlands. After your visa approval, you can purchase your actual tickets to fly into Budapest and fly out from Amsterdam.
Another website (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.html) can also tell you the expected wait time for a visa in your country. International student visa applicants should receive priority by the embassy or consulate. So, if your academic program begins soon, be sure to explain this when applying for your visa.

4. Finally, I know it takes approx. 15-20 days to get Schengen visa and another 15-20 days for UK visa. If I start with Schengen in last week of April, with travel dates July 1 to 15, and then apply for the UK, do you think I’ll have enough margin between getting the passport back and travel as planned? I can move my travel dates to July 15 to 30 if I don’t get the UK visa in time. But then my Schengen visa will show the validity of July 1 to 15!! Again confused with validity.


A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (generally an airport) and request permission to enter the United States. A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the port-of-entry have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States. If you are allowed to enter the United States, the CBP official will provide an admission stamp or a paper Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record. Learn more about admissions and entry requirements, restrictions about bringing food, agricultural products, and other restricted/prohibited goods, and more by reviewing the CBP website.
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Tips for Schengen: Add buffer days to your itinerary for visa purposes. I had made flight booking just a day before the appointment and cancelled it a few hours after the appointment, cancelled hotel bookings only after getting the visa. All my real hotel bookings were done in anticipation of getting visa on exactly the dates I had mentioned on the application, so it is going to work out okay!! Europe here I come 🙂 GOOD LUCK to everyone! And THANKS AGAIN for your timely response and valuable advice!
1. It doesn’t matter much. I have known readers who have applied for the UK visa first and Schengen later. They had similar itineraries comprising a trip to UK and Europe. In my opinion, going for the UK visa first is better since your passport will be away at the UK consulate for almost 30 days. You can neither track your visa status nor talk to someone at the consulate. It can be annoying if you already had your Schengen visa and the travel dates are approaching.
TraVisa is a company that specializes in issuing passports and visas to travelers quickly and easily. A service they offer that many other similar companies don’t is the ability to save an electronic version of one’s passport or visa on your smartphone. They have a mobile application that for Androids, iPhones and iPads let people get all the necessary information about their passport or visa. The company also allows its customers to register their travel with the U.S. Embassy. They even have an instructional video on their website that tells people everything they need to know about how to use their services.
If you will return home to complete university studies after studying English in the United States, bring proof of your student status in your country. A letter from a university professor supporting your study plan can be helpful. Young people around the world are often unsure of their plans. However, in the visa interview it is best to give definite answers. If you seem to be unsure about what you will be doing, the visa officer may believe that you are really going to the United States for reasons other than education.

5. My actual plan is to use flight only for ENTRY and EXITING time from starting to end of the total trip as I am travelling on budget. Therefore, HOW THE CHEAP AND BEST WAY I should show confirmed RETURN TICKET to each country without really booking a confirmed ticket? Can REFUNDABLE TICKET with VOA be the only good option OR there may be other better ways to do that(I am not a frequent flier though)?

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