If you are a citizen of a foreign country and not a US citizen, you need a visa to enter America. Depending on the purpose of your travel, it can be of any type like Immigrant or Non-immigrant. A Non-immigrant visa is for temporary travel to the US like visiting for tourism, temporary work, Study, etc. Unlike, the immigrant visa is for someone going to get a green card and become a permanent resident in the US
Many of you planning to go to the US may be wondering how does a USA visa looks like. Some of you may be going for Tourism as a visitor, some of you may be going to study as an F1 student, Some of you may be going to the US for Working on an H1B visa, etc. Irrespective of the purpose of your travel, the US visa stamp remains pretty standard, but the info in it varies by the type of visa. You need to apply for US Visa at a consulate for getting the visa stamped on your Passport.
Sample US Visa – Meaning of fields
Below are two samples of US Visas: B1/B2 visa issued in past and most recent H1B Visa issued in 2021. We review each of the fields on the visa means below.
|US Visa – Filed Name
|Meaning of the Field, Information
|Issuing Post Name
|It has the location where the US visa was issued. It is the US Consulate / Embassy office location
|US Visa control number is an internal tracking number for DHS to track visas.
|Family Name or Last name of the applicant that appears in the passport.
|First Name or Given name on your passport.
|Visa issued applicant’s passport number
|Sex of the visa holder. For Male = M, For Female = F
|Date of birth of the visa holder as in passport
|Country of Citizenship or Nationality of the Visa holder
|Visa Type / Class
|You would see two things:
“R” – The letter R stands for “Regular” Passport
and the category or type of Non-Immigrant Visa. It can be B2 for Visitor, H1B for Temporary work, F1 for Student, H4/F2 for dependent Visa, B1/B2 for Business & Visitor, etc.
|Entries correspond to how many times you can use the visa.
‘M’ means you can use your visa to seek entry for multiple times to enter the USA.
If it is ‘S’ or ‘1’ it means a single entry and you can use it for only one. Also, if it has a number, you will be allowed to use that visa to enter that many numbers of times printed on Visa. Look at the sample of the same after this section.
|The Date when your US visa was issued. It will be Day – Month – Year format.
|It is the date when your USA visa would expire, it is also in the same format Day – Month – Year. But, the actual amount of time you can stay in US when you enter the US is decided by the CBP officer, and that date is written on your passport along with the stamp at the Port of Entry. The duration you can stay is also in the I-94 document that you get at port of entry. You can check it online, read US Travel History -I94
US Visa Number
(Red Color Number)
|The Red color number in the bottom of the visa, indicates the Visa Number. If you have to enter US visa number at any other place, you would use this number
|Photograph ( Black and White )
|Visa holders photograph in Black and white. It will be front facing. If anything changes significantly in your appearance, you need to be prepared for answering the same.
|This section is for annotations by the Visa officer. Depending on the situation, it maybe blank or has some information in this section. For Students, you would have school name, for Work visa holders, you would have Employer Name and Case number. Also, if there are any checks, they would be noted here. This notes is used by the CBP officer at port of entry as needed for verification.
If you look at the first visa sample above for B1/B2, there is no annotation. But, for the second US Visa sample screenshot above for H1B Visa, you would see annotation related to the Presidential proclamation that says “NIE UNDER ALL P. P. S ON NOVEL CORONAVIRUS”.
In some cases, you may also get an annotation called “CLEARANCE RECEIVED”, which is important for you to keep in mind when you fill your next DS-160 form.
|Stars below Photo
|The stars below the photo in the US visa are of no significance. Sometimes, you see one start, sometimes, there are two or more. There are crazy assumptions and theories saying it signifies there a risk of the individual. It is just a security feature of the visa and has no significance. It was shared in past in one of the sessions with US Dept of State, no need to worry, if you see them. See the below screenshot from US Dept of State FAQs. You can read the Official Chat Transcript that talks about this
|Two Lines in Bottom with <<<
|These are two lines that are computer-generated for machine-reading. When you at any visa counters or anywhere, they will swipe your passport to read info in it. This is used for swiping and reading by machine. It will have your first name, last name, passport numbers, etc to be read by a machine reader.
|Background Images in USA Visa
|The background images on the US visa are Lincoln Memorial and US Capitol Building in Washington D.C
Sample US Visa with Single Entry
Below is a sample of K1 Visa for someone entering the US to marry a US Sponsor as a fiancé(e). If you notice closely, the number of entries show under entries as ‘1’ that indicates a Single entry. A person with this US Visa stamp having entry as ‘1’, can enter the US for once only. Unlike, if you see above examples, they show as ‘M’, which indicates multiple entries. If it is ‘M’, it indicates that the person with such visa can enter the US multiple times using the same visa, as long as it is valid.