These are the requirements to obtain a visa

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Citizens of El Salvador need a visa to travel to the United States. A visa is a permit to enter the United States, once approved it is placed in the passport, and serves as a document to travel to that country, being issued by the authorities of the applicant’s country. The requirements to obtain a visa are detailed below.

Requirements to obtain a visa

The requirements to process an American visa depend on the type of citizen applicant, which are the following:

For minors

For children under 14 years of age, the legal guardians of the applicant must appear at the offices of Cargo Expreso and provide the following documents:

  • A copy of the applicant’s birth certificate
  • Photocopies of your valid B1 / B2 visas.

In the event that only one of the parents has parental authority or legal representation of the minor (deceased father or mother, single mothers, divorced parents, etc.) it is necessary to present evidence that they have sole custody of the child.

For adults

To make the request, the citizen of legal age must have the following documentation:

  • Valid passport in good condition, valid for at least six months after the stay in the country
  • Recent 2 ″ x 2 ″ photograph
  • Application payment receipt
  • Form DS-160 confirmation sheet

If necessary, the consular officer can request some supporting documents that will help him / her to approve the visa, these documents can be:

  • Proof of income or property
  • Copy of the trip itinerary
  • Letter from the employer indicating your information and status within the company
  • Court records (if you have a record)

For seniors

The requirements for applicants over 80 years of age are as follows:

  • The applicant has never applied for a visa.
  • The applicant has been approved for a visa at his last interview at the United States Embassy in San Salvador.

Necessary documents

To enter the Embassy on the day of the interview, you must present:

  • Valid passport
  • Appointment Confirmation Sheet from our Visa Information Center
  • Confirmation Sheet of form DS-160
  • A photograph size 5X5 cm
  • Applicants for student and exchange visitor visas must submit their I-20 or DS2019 forms issued by the educational institution.

Supporting documents are not required to be interviewed but are commonly requested during the interview to support your form; such as letters from employer, birth and marriage certificates, passports with valid visas of other members of your family nucleus, bank documents, income and VAT declarations and property titles such as vehicles, house, land, etc.

How to process a visa in El Salvador

The steps to apply for an American visa are the following:

  • Step 1: the visa category must be determined, which will depend on the purpose of the trip, whether for tourism, business, training, participating in a conference or seminar, studying, working temporarily, exchange programs between or seminars, programs exchange among others.
  • Step 2: Then the application fee must be paid. All applicants, including children, must pay the application fee (MRV) to initiate their application for a United States visa. This fee imposed by the United States government is for the processing of a visa, regardless of whether the visa is approved or not.

This fee depends on the type of visa that is requested, in addition, the MRV fee is not refundable or transferable. Banco Cuscatlán is the bank authorized to receive visa fee payments in El Salvador. Applicants must make a successful payment before they are allowed to make their interview appointment

  • Step 3: Next, form DS-160 must be completed, which is an electronic visa application form available online, free of additional charges at CEAC, the Concular Electronic Application Center. You can complete your DS-160 from CEAC on the following website:

All information must be true and accurate. Applicants must bring the confirmation sheet containing the barcode to the interview, it is not necessary to bring the entire printed application.

It is recommended that you read the Directions for Completing Form DS-160 before completing your form. To complete the application, you will need a passport, travel itinerary, dates of your last visits to the United States, travel history to other countries, work and study history, among others.

  • Step 4: After paying the fee, visa applicants can register and schedule their appointment on their own or with the help of a friend online, you can also call the Visa Information Center, to guide you through the process which is a service without additional charges.

The interview can be scheduled after the next business day after payment is made. If a payment is made on Saturday, you can schedule your interview any time after 7:00 am the following Tuesday.

  • Step 5: then proceed to attend the interview. It is recommended to attend the Embassy no more than 15 minutes before the scheduled interview, otherwise you will have to wait outside the facilities until the time of the interview arrives. Remember to bring the necessary documents.
  • Step 6: in this last step the results of the visa application will be observed. If the visa application is approved, the Consular Officer will keep the passport for processing. Once the visa is approved, it will be delivered to the Express Cargo Office that you have selected.

If the visa requires additional administrative processing, which means that the case was denied under section 221 (g) of the immigration law, additional information will be required to continue with the visa application process. The instructions on the rejection sheet delivered by the Consular Officer at the end of the interview must be followed.

Visa types

The types of Visa provided by the United States are included in Immigrant Visa and Non-immigrant Visa, in which the following types of Visa are detailed:

Common Non-Immigrant Visas

  • Business / Tourism Visa
  • Work visa
  • Student visa
  • Exchange Visitor Visa
  • Transit / Crew Visa
  • Religious Worker Visa
  • Domestic Employee Visa
  • Journalist and Media Visa
  • List of the Most Common Nonimmigrant Visas
  • Merchant and Investor Visa

Tips to pass the interview

Completing the interview at the Embassy is a three-step process.

  • Once the security area is approved, it must go through Data Review. This is a great opportunity to correct any information that has been entered incorrectly on your DS-160 nonimmigrant visa application form.
  • Then you will be instructed to go to the Fingerprint Capture station, where they will take fingerprints digitally, all applicants from 14 to 79 years old.
  • Finally, you will be instructed to go to the Consular Officer window to be interviewed. The short interview will clear up any doubts and support the information in your visa application, so the form must be completed properly.

Regarding the recommendations for the interview, it is always important to remember that the dress must be according to the moment, with casual clothes, cloth pants, and a simple blouse or shirt.

How long does the American visa last?

The American visa for citizens of El Salvador is valid for 10 years for adults, and in the case of children it will be valid for 5 years. If your visa to be renewed is B1 / B2 (Business / Tourism), of full validity with a validity of 10 years (for adults) and 5 years (for children), with multiple entries and issued in El Salvador.

What to do if the visa is denied?

An American visa allows travel to the United States, but does not guarantee entry or determine the amount of time allowed for the stay. Immigration officers at the port of entry make these decisions.

According to the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), the visa must be denied if the applicant cannot establish his eligibility, either because the applicant does not meet the Requirements for American Visa, or because there are causes of ineligibility based on other aspects such as (contagious diseases, drug-related crimes, participating in terrorist activities, etc.).

American visa denial is the formal denial of a non-immigrant visa application by a US consular officer acting in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Generally, you will receive a refusal letter, which explains the reason why a visa cannot be issued to you and this letter provides you with information on the procedures you need to follow.

The process that must be carried out to reapply for a visa is as follows:

  • It is not necessary to wait a certain time to reapply for a visa, previously the American embassy required a minimum of 6 months, but this law no longer applies. However, it is advisable to wait a month and a half to resubmit the visa petition.
  • If it is believed that the visa was denied due to lack of money, or due to not having a stable job, it is recommended to wait to stabilize both work and financially in a period of at least 6 months.
  • It is important to remember that if you have already been denied a visa in the past, it is likely that you are wondering why the visa was previously denied, or failing that, what was the statement of the previous consular officer, this may be due to two reasons:
  1. The officer read the reasons that the previous official wrote about the visa denial, and wants to verify their honesty. An answer that usually works is to declare that the previous time you did not have enough documents, and now you do have all the forms.
  2. Reason for visa denial not specified or typified.
  • There is no law or authority that can be turned to in the event that the visa is denied, as the Immigration and Nationality law establishes that the decision is discretionary.
  • It is important to remember that consular officers will always think that the citizen wants to stay in the United States, and for this reason it must be demonstrated through all the necessary documents and answers that they wish to return to their country of origin.
  • You also have the right to request that a visa supervisor review the visa denial at that time; However, this is a rule that is not usually applied, since it is difficult for a supervisor to agree to the request.

However, it never hurts to try, as the supervisor may come to talk to the consular officer and discuss the case.

  • It is always important to remember that the dress must be according to the moment, with casual clothes, cloth pants, and a simple blouse or shirt.

Why is a visa required to enter the US?

Due to growing immigration, the United States is one of the countries that requests an American visa to the vast majority of people who wish to travel to the country. In this case, it would be the embassies and consulates of the United States of America (USA) that grant these visas.

Today, there is a program created by the American government that allows citizens of certain countries to enter the country who are enrolled in the VWP (Visa Waiver Program) program, which in Spanish is known as the “Visa Waiver Program”.

People who have passports from the countries that are on the list of the Visa Waiver Program, may enter the United States, for a period of no more than 90 days, without the need for an American visa, if the reason of your trip is for tourism, business or if you will only be passing through the airport.

If you want to stay longer because the reason for your trip will be for studies, work, immigration or any other reason that makes you have the need to stay longer than stipulated, you must apply for the corresponding visa. The Visa Waiver program will only allow you to stay for a maximum of 90 days and if the reason for your trip is for tourism or business.

The countries that have joined this program are those with stable high-income economies, a high human development index (HDI), and a low rate of illegal immigration.

Currently, there are 38 countries that are participants of the Visa Waiver Program, check if yours is in the following list:

Germany, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, South Korea, Denmark, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Netherlands, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein , Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Norway, New Zealand, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Taiwan, San Marino, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland.

There are also nominated countries that are currently being investigated by the VWP to be entered into the program, such as: Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Israel, Poland, Romania, Turkey and Uruguay. All these countries have great possibilities of being part of it, however, they still need to meet certain requirements to gain entry.

If your country is part of the list of countries belonging to the Visa Waiver Program, you can use it if it has the following characteristics:

  • You have a valid biometric passport issued by the government of your country, which is part of the Visa Waiver Program.
  • Your intention is to travel for pleasure, business, or just a stopover in the United States and you do not plan to exceed a 90-day period.
  • You have the permission to make your trip approved by the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
  • You have purchased a return ticket or to continue your trip to another country. • You are a citizen of a country that is a member of the Visa Waiver Program.

The ESTA permit has a duration of two years, during this period you can enter as many times as you want, respecting the time allowed to stay in the American country (maximum 90 days).

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