Nonimmigrant Visas – Frequently Asked Questions

The type of non-immigrant visa you need depends on the purpose of your travel. Please click here to read about the different categories of non-immigrant visas.

Please visit to find out when the next available appointment is.

You should arrive at your scheduled appointment time, you will not be permitted to enter the embassy grounds until your appointment time.

If you are scheduling an interview for more than five people who are not members of the same family please click here. Members of the same family who live in the same household should follow the normal appointment processes.

If you are instructed to pay an additional fee, please bear in mind that the Embassy accepts US dollars, Colombian pesos and international credit cards displaying the Visa, MasterCard or American Express logo. Please note that the U.S. banking system does not use the ‘cuota’ system, which means that credit cards will be charged the entire amount in one installment.  The Embassy DOES NOT accept Colombian debit cards, checks, U.S. $100 bills or imperfect or damaged bills.

If you would like to request an expedited appointment due to an emergency such as illness, death, or urgent business, and can demonstrate the urgent need to travel, create an account at:, pay the visa fee and choose the first available appointment. Once you’ve scheduled an appointment, you may then reenter your personal account and on the current status bar, click on request expedite and follow the instructions.

If you need to travel within ten business days of your visa interview, you may ask the interview consular officer for an expedited passport return. Passports approved for expedited return will be available for in-person pickup, usually within three business days, at the applicant service center (asc) in Bogota. There is no other location available for in-person expedited pickup. The expedited return process will override the passport delivery information the visa applicant selected in the online application.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ask the interviewing consular officer for expedited return. Only emergency cases will be considered for expedited return, and only the interviewing consular officer may approve or deny requests. There is no way to expedite a passport delivery after the visa interview.

If you are renewing a B1/B2 (business/tourist) visa that was issued after January 1, 2008, you may be eligible to simply submit the required documents to the embassy via courier. Please read all questions carefully and follow the instructions when making your appointment to see if you qualify for courier-only service. Click here for more information about the renewal process.

A strict background check has long been required for all visa applicants. As part of this check, we take electronic fingerprints of most of our applicants on the day of their ASC appointment. There is no additional charge for fingerprints.

To fill out the DS-160 form, please see the information on our website regarding required documents for each visa category.

If you made an error on your DS-160 form, please follow the below instructions that apply to your case:

  • If you are an applicant 16 years of age or older and made an error  in the “gender” or “purpose of trip” field, you must fill out a new form and print the new confirmation sheet.
  • For all applicants: if the error is the biographical data such as passport, names and surnames, date of birth, addresses, phone numbers, and you still have access to the form, you can correct the form.  If you no longer have access to the form, please report the error to the embassy official that receives your documents on the day of your appointment.
  • For all applicants: if you make a mistake in the questions regarding your family history, education, travel, or in the security questions and background, you must fill out a new form and print the new confirmation sheet.

If you have ever been arrested for any reason, at any time and in any country, you must tell the consular officer during your non-immigrant visa interview. A question in form DS-160 asks you whether you have ever been arrested.  You must answer this and all other questions truthfully, and you must explain the details of your arrest.

Applicants must bring to your visa interview all documentation concerning any and all arrests, even if the charges were dropped or you were acquitted, pardoned, or given amnesty.  In addition, you must provide a copy of the statute under which you were arrested and a translation of the statute into english. The consular officer will review the evidence and make a decision as to whether or not you are eligible for a visa.

After completing and printing the DS-160 online non-immigrant visa application form, paying the fee, and scheduling an interview appointment for the first visa, in order to apply for a second visa in a different visa category, an applicant should fill out and print a second DS-160 for the second visa. Applicants do not need to pay or schedule an appointment for the second visa.

Instead, payment for that second visa application will be made directly at the U.S. Embassy with cash or credit card on the day of the interview.

Important – At the time of the visa interview, all applicants should have a completed DS-160 confirmation sheet for each visa category for which he/she is applying.

Transit (C) visas are non-immigrant visas for persons traveling in immediate and continuous transit through the united states en route to another country, with few exceptions.

If you already have a valid visitor (B) visa, you can use it to transit the United States.

Domestic employees of nonimmigrants may qualify for a b-1 visa, which allows them to work temporarily in the united states for a specific employer. While in the united states, employers and employees must follow u.s. labor laws, which includes that the domestic employees is paid according to u.s. wage standards. Please see our domestic employee (B-1) visa information.

There is currently no type of visa that is granted based solely on humanitarian reasons under U.S. immigration law. There is a special program, however, for humanitarian parole, a program managed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Please take note that the Department of Homeland Security grants humanitarian parole only in very limited and emergency circumstances.  The U.S. embassy is not involved in this process and we cannot guarantee that applying will result in the granting of parole.  You can find out more about this program and how to apply through this link:

No. There is no requirement that you have a certain amount of money in your bank account.

While applicants under the age of 14 do not need to appear at the embassy for an interview, the application must be submitted by the father or the mother of the minor at the time of the interview.  The child’s passport, a copy of the birth certificate, and a photograph of the minor should also be presented at that time.  For minors 14 years old and over, we strongly encourage that they be accompanied by a parent or their legal guardian.

Adults over the age of 80 generally do not need to appear at the embassy for an interview, unless their previous visa application was denied.

Please click here for more information.

Yes. If you are seeking medical treatment in the united states, the consular officer may ask for further documents at your visa interview, which may include:

  • Medical diagnosis from a local physician, explaining the nature of the ailment and the reason you need treatment in the u.s.
  • Letter from a physician or medical facility in the u.s., stating they are willing to treat your specific ailment and detailing the projected length and cost of treatment (including doctors’ fees, hospitalization fees, and all medical-related expenses).
  • Proof that your transportation, medical, and living expenses in the u.s. will be paid. This may be in the form of bank or other statements of income/savings or certified copies of income tax returns (either yours or the person or organization paying for your treatment).

The decision as to whether or not to hire a lawyer or other representative is yours.  We cannot tell you whether or not to obtain representation, nor can we recommend any specific lawyers. A lawyer is not permitted to accompany you to your visa interview.

Questions regarding visa status after the visa interview

You will receive an email with additional information in within 14 days (please verify your spam inbox). Your passport will be delivered to the dhl location you selected when you made your appointment through the CSC visa information service. Please bring your official identification and DHL waybill number to pick up your passport and visa.

Note: passports (with visa) must be claimed from dhl within 30 days of delivery. If you don’t receive an email with your waybill number within the next 15 days, please go to your account created in or send an email to:

If your visa is not already in transit, it may be possible to change the delivery address.  To obtain the delivery status of your visa, please click here.

For inquiries related to the delivery of your visa or passport, please email

U.S. consular officers may only issue non-immigrant visas to applicants qualified under u.s. immigration law.  A visa can be refused for a variety of reasons.  For a list of the most common visa ineligibilities (under the section 214(b), 221(g),212(a)(6)(c)(i) or 212(a)(9)(b)), please click here. A consular officer will always inform the applicant in writing of the basis of the refusal.

There is no formal appeal or reconsideration process for visa refusals. Generally, the only option for a refused visa applicant is to re-apply for a visa by following the procedures on our how to apply for a visa page.

Applicants refused under section 214B of the INA may reapply for a visa at any time. We recommend, however, that an applicant wait to reapply until his or her situation has notably and demonstrably changed and new evidence exists that may make him or her eligible for a U.S. visa.

You must, however, restart the application process each time you apply (i.e., schedule a new appointment, re-pay the non-refundable application fee and re-interview with a consular officer). Please read our “how to apply for a visa” page for more information.

While it is often good practice for visa applicants to bring supporting documentation to the visa interview, consular officers are not required to and often do not look at supporting documentation when adjudicating visas. For more information, please click here.

A waiver is a special authorization granted by U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the Department of Homeland Security to put aside certain ineligibilities temporarily and allow a visa to be issued.

To apply for a waiver, you must first apply for a visa through the regular process. At the conclusion of the visa interview, the consular officer will inform you if you are eligible to apply for a waiver. Waiver applications are then submitted to CBP, which retains sole authority to approve or deny waivers, for a decision concerning your case. If CBP grants the waiver, the consular officer will inform you promptly. Once submitted to CBP, the Embassy has no control over whether the waiver is granted or how long it takes to process.  There is no entitlement to a waiver; waivers are always discretionary.

Administrative processing is a term that U.S. consular officers worldwide use when further study is required in a particular visa case. While we are not able to provide further details in such cases, a visa application that requires further administrative processing is not necessarily a sign that the visa will be denied.  Most administrative processing is resolved within 90 days of the visa interview.

Questions regarding the correct use of a U.S. visa

An immigration officer from Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security makes the decision as to whether or not to admit you into the united states and how long you may stay.  For a tourist or business visa (B1/B2) normally you will be admitted for a specific period of time (typically, up to six months).  You must leave the United States before your period expires.  If you do not leave on time or if you work in the united states without permission from the department of homeland security during your stay, you may be arrested and removed from the United States, and you may be ineligible to receive a visa in the future.

Immediately upon receipt of your visa, be sure to check the information on the visa to ensure your name, date of birth, gender, and other biographic information is correct.

If you find any errors, please send an email to: with the subject: error in visa.

Only if personal information on your passport, such as: Name, last name, date of birth o gender, have changed, you will have to apply for a new visa noting the updated information. All printed information on your visa must match that on your passport.
If you turned 18 and have changed your ID, from “tarjeta de identidad” to “Cedula”, it is not necessary to apply for a new visa. You will only need to renew your passport to be able to travel with your new passport along with your old passport with a current valid visa.

You must report the stolen visa to us. Please click here for more information.

It is the responsibility of each applicant to maintain their visa in good condition.  If a person is presented at a united states port of entry with a damaged visa, immigration officials may deny entry.

If your visa or passport is damaged, please reapply for a visa following the instructions on the “how to apply for a visa” webpage.

The expiration date of your visa specifies when your visa is no longer valid and you must reapply for a new visa in that category. The number of entries filed specifies how many times you may use the visa to enter the United States (“m” signifies multiple).

The visa expiration date does not indicate how long you may remain physically present in the United States.  For example, if your visa is valid for ten years, this does not mean you may live in the United States for ten years, but rather that you may use the visa to enter and exit the United States over a ten year period. Upon each entry into the United States, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol determine how long you may legally remain in the United States on each individual trip.

No. At the port of entry, the immigration inspector from U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security admits you into the United States until a certain date or for “duration of status” (specified in your electronic I-94).  You are permitted to remain in the United States until that date even if your visa expires in the interim.

Yes. You may apply for a new visa at any time, whether or not you have a current visa, or your visa has expired. It is recommended that you apply at least three months prior to the expiration date of your current visa or the date of your anticipated travel in the event your case requires extra administrative processing. If your previous visa has not yet expired when you are granted a new visa in the same non-immigrant category, it will be automatically cancelled.

No. Your U.S. visa is still valid. You must, however, travel with both your old and new passports.  When you apply for admission at a U.S. port of entry, an immigration inspector from u.s. customs and border protection of the department of homeland security will inspect the visa in your old passport and, if he or she decides to admit you to the United States, generally will place an admission stamp in your new passport with the annotation “viopp” (visa in other passport). Do not attempt to remove your visa from your old passport and glue it into your new passport. If you do that, your visa will be automatically invalid.

In order to help us conserve our human resources, we ask that you not apply for a new visa until your old one is about to expire.  At that time the non-immigrant visa unit will place a new visa in your valid passport (assuming, of course, that you qualify for the new visa).