VIU International students

Visa for the United States of America

Living in Vancouver Island it is quite easy to visit the USA, in this page you will find the information required to apply for a B1/B2 visitor visa, as delivered by the staff from the US Consulate General (Vancouver)

Do I need a US visa?

Find out if your country requires visa to visit the US: Visa Wizard

If your country is in the Visa Waiver Program list, then you must apply for ESTA:

ESTA - Electronic System for Travel Authorization

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is administered by DHS and enables eligible citizens or nationals of designated countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa. In order to be admitted into the US, citizens of these countries must first apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

DHS/CBP’s automated web-based system

  • Determines eligibility of visitors under the Visa Waiver Program
  • Does not determine admissibility of travelers
  • Submitted prior to travel

Do nationals or citizens of countries that participate in the VWP require an ESTA if they are only transiting the United States en route to another country?

A: Yes. Eligible nationals or citizens of countries that participate in the VWP require either an ESTA or a visa to transit the United States. If a traveler is only planning to transit through the United States en route to another country, when he or she completes the ESTA application, the traveler should enter the words "In Transit" and his or her final destination in the address lines under the heading "Address While In The United States."

Canada will count as a departure country for ESTA purposes if the student was attending school here in Canada. This decision is generally up to the discretion of the CBP officer, but with the evidence of school attendance, the students should be fine to enter the United States under ESTA. 

Students must show the CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) officer proof of your enrollment at VIU when entering or re-entering the US. This proof can a letter of enrollment that you can request from Building 255 ($10), or unofficial transcripts (the front desk can stamp it for you for free), or your original acceptance letter. 

For all the other countries, you must apply for a B1/B2 visitor visa, here is how:

How to Apply

  1. DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form

  2. Register online

  3. Pay and schedule for the interview online

  4. Appear in person for the interview

US visa

What to Bring to the Interview

  1. DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form
  2. Passport valid for at least six months beyond period of stay in the U.S.
  3. Photo taken within the last six months
  4. Proof of legal status in Canada: Your valid Study Permit
  5. Related forms and documents based on visa type: Letter of enrollment, you can request at the front desk Building 255


What to Expect at the Consulate

  • Plan to spend two hours at the Consulate(security check, check-in, interview)
  • Demonstrate that you have strong ties outside of the U.S. and will use the visa correctly
  • If the visa is approved, you will get it in 5 days by mail
  • Some visa cases require administrative processing

See the complete Power Point presentation from Sep 26 2016