Labor Certification – Some temporary worker visa categories require your prospective employer to obtain a labor certification or other approval from the Department of Labor on your behalf before filing the Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129, with USCIS. Your prospective employer should review the Instructions for Form I-129 on the USCIS website to determine whether labor certification is required for you.
Petition Approval – Some temporary worker categories are limited in total number of petitions which can be approved on a yearly basis. Before you can apply for a temporary worker visa at the U.S. Embassy in Belarus, a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129, must be filed on your behalf by a prospective employer and be approved by USCIS. For more information about the petition process, eligibility requirements by visa category, and numerical limits, if applicable, see Working in the U.S. and Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Workers on the USCIS website. Once the petition is approved, USCIS will send your prospective employer a Notice of Action, Form I-797.
Step 1. Check the Validity of Your Passport
Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States, unless exempt by country-specific agreements (PDF, 57 KB). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person who needs a visa must submit a separate application.
Step 2. Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
- Completed Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
Please note that you must answer EVERY question on the application forms. If the answer to a question is “none,” please write “none”(Do not leave it blank). Incomplete/incorrect forms will be returned and will require you to schedule a new interview appointment.
Important! Many of our visa applicants are completing the DS-160 incorrectly, causing us to postpone their planned visa interview dates.
Step 3. Collect any Supporting Documentation
Only a passport, DS-160 confirmation page, a 2 x 2 inch color photo not older than 6 months – with a light or white background, the forms listed in Step 2, and the Receipt Number for your approved petition as it appears on your Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) or Notice of Action (Form I-797), from USCIS.
L Visa Applicants – If you are included in an L blanket petition, you must bring Form I-129S, Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition, to your interview.
All visa applicants, except H-1B and L, will generally need to show proof of compelling ties to your home country to demonstrate your intent to return after your temporary stay in the United States. Examples of compelling ties include:
- A residence abroad which you do not intend to abandon
- Your family relationships
- Your economic situation
- Your long term plans
Step 4. Schedule an Interview Appointment
To schedule an appointment for a non-immigrant visa (NIV) interview, please consult the Embassy’s online NIV Appointment System. Please have your DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form Confirmation Number handy. It is located on your DS-160 confirmation page, in bold print.
Step 5. Submit Your Passport and Visa Application Forms
On the day of your interview, bring with you the completed DS-160 confirmation sheet, forms listed in Step 2, a 2 x 2 inch color photo not older than 6 months, and a valid passport.
Step 6. Pay the MRV Fee
On the day of your interview, please pay the following nonrefundable visa application fees: $ 160 for B-1 (Business) and B-2 (Tourism & Visit) nonimmigrant visas; $ 190 for H, L, O, P, Q, and R visas; and $ 270 for E visas.
- L visa fraud prevention and detection fee – for visa applicant included in L blanket petition (principal applicant only): $500.00
- The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 (Public Law 114-113) increases fees for certain H-1B and L-1 petitioners. Consular sections collect this fee for blanket L-1 visa applications (principal applicant only) filed by petitioners who employ 50 or more individuals in the United States if more than 50 percent of those individuals are in H-1B or L-1 nonimmigrant status: $4,500.00.
Step 7. Interview for your visa with the Consular Officer
During your visa interview, a consular officer will determine whether you are qualified to receive a visa, and if so, which visa category is appropriate based on your purpose of travel. You will need to establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.
Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken as part of your application process. They are usually taken during your interview, but this varies based on location.
Step 8. Pay the Visa Issuance Fee
Previously, the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe was able to issue Malawian citizens 10-year, multiple entry visas—this is our standard around the world. However, the Government of Malawi instituted new visa regulations in October 2015 for U.S. citizens traveling to Malawi, including limited visa validity and new fees. For example, a U.S. citizen must now pay US$300 for a 12-month, multiple entry visa to Malawi. U.S. visa policy is based on the principle of reciprocity. So, in response, the United States Embassy had no choice but to match the same validity and fees charged by the Malawian government to U.S. citizens.
If you are approved for a visitor’s visa to the United States, often called a B1/B2, the visa will be valid for a single entry within three months of the date of issuance. For example, if your B1/B2 visa was issued on February 16, 2016, it would expire May 15, 2016.
Because it is a single-entry visa, you would have to reapply for a new visa if you wanted to return to the United States, even on the same trip. For example, if you entered the United States on March 1, 2016, and decided to take a short side trip to Canada or Mexico, you would need a new visa before reentering the United States.
If your visa is approved, you have the option of paying an additional reciprocity fee at the time of issuance to extend its validity. Those fees are listed below:
Multiple entry visa valid for 6 months: US$60
Multiple entry visa valid for 12 months: US$140
If your visa is approved, and you would like to pay the additional fees for a longer validity visa, please inform the Consular Officer during your visa interview. Otherwise, if your visa is approved, you will be issued a single entry visa valid for three months.
Step 9. Return to Collect Your Passport and Visa
If you are issued the visa, return the following workday at 4:00 pm to collect your passport and visa.