What is a Nonimmigrant Visa?
Nonimmigrant visas are for international travelers who want to visit the United States temporarily. A nonimmigrant visa allows you to travel to a United States port-of-entry (airport, for example) and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security immigration inspector to enter the United States. A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States.
I do not live in Montenegro. Am I allowed to apply for a nonimmigrant visa at the Consular Section in Podgorica anyway?
Applicants for a visa can apply at any embassy or consulate in the country in which they are located at the time of the application. The procedure for applying for a visa and the associated fees at the U.S. Embassy in Podgorica can be found on the embassy website at: https://me.usembassy.gov/visas/. There is no expedite service available.
Although we accept nonimmigrant visa applications from all eligible applicants, it may be more difficult for you to qualify for the visa if you are not resident in Montenegro. As such, we typically encourage nonimmigrant visa applicants to apply for the visa at the Embassy or Consulate that covers their country of residence.
Please note that Visa fees are not transferrable outside the country in which the fee was paid. Applicants who had already filled out an application and paid the fee online will need to begin a new application and pay the fee according to instructions at the link above.
How long is my tourist visa valid?
The consular officer decides how long your visa will be valid for (up to three years for a B-1/B-2 visa for a Montenegrin citizen) and how many entries will be printed on the visa. Normally the visa will be a “multiple-entry” visa, but in some cases the consular officer will limit the number of entries. If you receive, for example, a multiple-entry, three-year visa, it means that you may apply for admission to the United States as many times as you wish over the next three years. Likewise, if you receive a one-entry, three-month visa, it means that you may apply for admission to the United States one time over the next three months.
How long can I stay in the United States on my nonimmigrant visa (B1/B2)?
The validity of your visa and the number of entries are completely separate from how long you are allowed to stay in the United States. An immigration inspector from United States Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security makes the decision whether or not to admit you to the United States and decides how long you may stay. In most cases the immigration inspector will admit you for a specific period of time (for example, six months). You must depart before your period of stay expires, and you cannot work. If you do not depart on time or if you work illegally, you may be subject to arrest and removal from the United States, and you may be ineligible to receive a visa in the future.
Is my previously issued United States visa still valid?
Unless your visa has been cancelled by a United States consular or immigration officer or it has been physically damaged, the visa is valid until the expiration date listed on it, regardless of whether the passport has expired.
If the passport containing your valid visa has expired, simply travel to the United States with both, your new valid passport and your expired passport containing your valid visa in hand to present to the United States immigration officer upon arrival. Under no circumstances should you attempt to remove the visa from your expired passport and paste it into your new one.
Am I required to apply for the visa in person at the Consular Section?
Recent changes to United States immigration law require the vast majority of visa applicants to apply in person. Although some categories of applicants may be eligible for a waiver of personal appearance with a consular officer, nearly all applicants must submit biometric fingerprints and therefore must appear in person. This includes applicants with diplomatic or official passports who are traveling to the United States for non-official purposes.
Do children or the elderly need to apply for the visa in person at the Consular Section?
All visa applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 need to apply in person at the Consular Section.
I am traveling to a country other than the United States, but I am required to transit through a United States airport. Do I need a visa?
Yes. All individuals who plan to transit through the United States, regardless of how long they intend to stay in the airport, must obtain a transit or other valid visa.
How do consular officials determine whether I am eligible to receive a United States visa?
There are numerous grounds of ineligibility that can prevent or significantly delay issuance of an individual’s visa. For a list of each of these, please refer to the Department of State’s list of ineligibilities.
The most common ground of ineligibility, however, is that an applicant failed to demonstrate that his/her visit to the United States would be only temporary in nature. Section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act states: “[e]very alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status….” To overcome Section 214(b), applicants must demonstrate that they have a residence and other ties abroad that would compel them to leave the United States at the end of a temporary stay. The law places this burden of proof on the applicant.
For more information on visa denials under 214(b), please refer to the Department of State’s fact sheet on visa denials.
My friend/family member in the United States will be paying all of the expenses associated with my upcoming trip. Is this enough to qualify for the visa?
No. United States law requires all nonimmigrant visa applicants to qualify for the visa on their own, through their own individual circumstances, as outlined above. Under United States law, it is not enough to show that your expenses will be covered by your host in the United States. Regardless of the financial situation of your friend or sponsor, you are subject to the same requirements as every other visa applicant.
I am interested in applying for a J-1 (exchange visitor) visa. How can I learn more about this program?
The “J” visa category encompasses a wide range of programs designed to enhance mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through international educational and training programs.
Some of the most popular of these in Montenegro are the Summer Work and Travel and Au Pair programs. However, it is important to note that the Department of State administers many other programs allowing foreign nationals the opportunity to visit the United States as exchange visitors. For more information on these, please refer to the Department of State’s website for exchange visitors.
Am I eligible to travel to the United States without a visa using the Visa Waiver Program?
Only travelers from a select group of countries and who possess the proper documentation are eligible to travel to the United States without a visa. Please visit the Department of State website for a list of countries that are currently participating in the Visa Waiver Program.
I did not turn in my I-94 when I left the United States, what should I do?
Form I-94 falls under the responsibility of Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In order to find out more about I-94, see Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document at the DHS, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website and see Arrival-Departure Record at the DHS, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website.
If the answer to your question does not appear above, please send us an e-mail with your question at PodgoricaVisas@state.gov
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