Non-Immigrant Visa FAQs

Failure to turn in your I-94 (or I-94W) when you leave the U.S. could create serious problems for you when travelling to the U.S. in the future.  You can find information on how to rectify this on the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol website.

You cannot extend your stay on the Visa Waiver Program. The 90 day limit also includes time spent in Canada, Mexico and adjacent islands after first entering the U.S. Therefore, you should not expect to be able to cross the border into these areas for a short time and then expect to return for another 90 days. You can however ask for re-entry on the Visa Waiver Program if you have visited a country outside of the U.S., Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands.

Yes, an applicant has the right to apply at any U.S. Consulate abroad.  However, it may be harder to qualify for a visa when applying outside your country of primary residence.  If you choose to apply in New Zealand, please understand that you may be refused, and the application fee is non-refundable if the visa is not approved.  You will need to demonstrate that you have strong ties to your place of residence and that you will depart the U.S. after your temporary visit.

A letter of employment on the company letterhead submitted with all other requirements for the non-immigrant visa. The Consular Officer will determine if you will be issued with a C1/D crew visa or a B1/B2 business/tourist visa.

Anyone convicted of or punished for a crime involving moral turpitude (regardless of how long ago or if the conviction was not recorded) is ineligible for the Visa Waiver Program and  must apply for a visa.  If there is any doubt regarding the nature of the offense, you should apply for a visa.

You will need to submit court and/or police records which show the details the arrest or conviction, such as the court date, the type of offense, and the outcome. If the police certificate says “no recordable convictions” but you know you have been convicted of a crime, you must seek out the original court documents.

According to USCBP applicants with a single DIC/DUI conviction is not grounds to deny entry into the U.S; however, multiple DIC/DUI convictions or a DIC/DUI conviction in combination with other misdemeanor offenses can make a person inadmissible and require a waiver prior to entering the United States.

No, we need original DS-2019 or I-20s.  We cannot issue an F, M or J visa based on photocopies.

Yes. Please bring any documentation you have with you to the interview. The approval notice still must show up in our electronic database before we can issue the visa, which may take an additional working day or two, so please apply early. However, a copy of an I-797 may help us to locate the electronic record.

The Visa Waiver Program allows you to attend short, in-house training courses of less than 90 days. You should carry a letter with you on the company letterhead stating the purpose of the trip, the approximate length of stay, and that your salary will continue to be paid by the New Zealand company. If your company has affiliated offices in the United States, you must be able to show that you will not be providing services during your training period. If your trip is planned for more than 90 days, you must obtain a visa before travelling.

On a study (F, M) or exchange (J) visa you may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days before the official start of the program. On a J or M visa, you may stay 30 days after the official end of your program. On an F visa, you may stay for 60 days after the conclusion of your studies.

On the E, H, L, O, P, Q, and R you may enter the U.S. 10 days before the official start of your work and you may stay 10 days after the official end of your work.

No, there is no visa that covers casual work.

Only an employer can petition for a work visa for you.

The P visa covers athletes. Alternatively, the B2 tourist or Visa Waiver Program allows participation in contests as amateurs or for prize money only. If you are sponsored by a company in the U.S., and they are paying you sponsorship fees, you must have a P visa.

Indefinite validity visas are no longer issued. They are valid for only 10 years from the issue date. If the visa was issued longer than 10 years ago you need to apply for a new visa unless you are eligible to use the Visa Waiver Program.

Generally, your passport must be valid for at least six months after your intended departure from the U.S. in order to be admitted.  Certain countries, including New Zealand, have specific agreements with the U.S. that waive this requirement.

A full list of these countries can be found on the State Department’s website.  Nationals of countries not on this list are subject to the six month requirement.

Attempting to obtain a visa by fraud, which is defined as the wilful misrepresentation of a material fact, will result in the permanent refusal of a visa or denial of entry into the United States.

You may apply again, and pay a new application fee, as soon as you feel you have additional evidence to present that shows you may qualify for the visa which you did not have at your first interview. However, if you do not have any new evidence to present, you should not expect a different answer than you received the first time.

Yes, even if your old passport has expired, if your visa has not yet expired, it can still be used for travel to the U.S. However, you will still need to travel with both your current passport and the old passport containing the visa and present both to the Immigration Officer at the border for inspection.

If you are traveling on the Visa Waiver Program, your stay is limited to no more than 90 days. If you are traveling on a visa, your period of stay in the U.S. is determined at the port of entry by the Immigration Officer. The validity of the visa does not indicate the length of time you may stay in the U.S. It represents the date by which you must use the visa to apply for entry. The Immigration Officer will stamp your passport and I-94 card to indicate the date until which you may remain in the U.S. on that particular trip.

You should keep in mind that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. An Immigration Officer at the border has sole authority to grant or deny admission. The Immigration Officer determines the period for which you are authorized to remain in the United States. For more information, please check this site.

Generally, VWP applicants admitted under the VWP may be readmitted to the United States after a departure to Canada or Mexico or adjacent islands for the balance of their original admission period. This is provided they are otherwise admissible and meet all the conditions of the VWP, with the exception of arrival on a signatory carrier, in which case the inspecting officers have the discretion to grant the applicants entirely new periods of admission.

Those islands shown below, as well as other British, French, and Netherlands territories or possessions bordering on the Caribbean Sea.

  • Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba
  • Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curacao
  • Dominica, Dominican Republic
  • Grenada, Guadeloupe
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Marie-Galante, Martinique, Miquelon, Montserrat
  • Saba, Saint-Barthelemy, Saint Christopher, Saint Eustatius, Saint Kitts-Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Maarten, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre, Saint Vincent Grenadines,
  • Trinidad, Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands

If you’ve been unable to find the answer to your visa question on the pages of this website, you can contact the Visa Information Service or email us at aucklandniv@state.gov. Should you choose to contact us by email we will strive to reply in a timely manner, but for any time sensitive query, we recommend you use the Visa Information Service.