U.S. Visas in Ghana
U.S. Visas in Ghana
U.S. B-1 B-2 Visitor Visa in Ghana
U.S. B-1 B-2 Visitor Visa in Ghana

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There are many kinds of non-immigrant temporary visas. A non-immigrant visa gives the holder the right to enter the U.S. for a short-term temporary stay. Each is issued for a different purpose and each is known by a letter combination as well as a name.

This visitor category has two sub-categories these headings:

B-1 visa (Visitor for Business)

The B-1 visa classification is appropriate for persons seeking entry to the U.S. to engage in temporary business-related activities. Permissible business activities include conventions, conferences, consultations, and other legitimate commercial and professional activities. Typically acceptable activities under this category include negotiating contracts, meeting with business associates, participating in scientific, educational, professional, or business conferences or conventions, or litigation.

Foreign medical students may also be granted the B-1 visa and status for unpaid observerships. It is appropriate on a limited basis for missionaries as well as certain ministers exchanging pulpits. This category is also available, subject to very specific requirements, to personal and/or domestic attendants of certain non-migrant and U.S. citizens who hold international jobs. These attendants however must obtain separate work authorization documents.

Activities not permitted under B-1 visa

Certain activities can only be allowed under different categories of visas and are hence not permitted under B-1 visas. These include:

  • Study;
  • Employment;
  • Paid performances or any professional performance before a paying audience; Work as foreign press, radio, film, journalism, and other information media;
  • Permanent residence in the U.S.
Eligibility for a B-1 visa

To be eligible, an applicant for a B-1 visa must meet the requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The presumption in the law is that every visa applicant is an intending immigrant. To overcome this presumption an applicant must demonstrate that:

  • the purpose of their trip is to enter the US for business pleasure or medical treatment;
  • they plan to remain for a specific limited period; and
  • they have a residence outside U.S. they have sufficient binding ties to their home country that will compel their return from the U.S. at the end of their visit.
Required documentation in support of B-1 Visa

Applicant must submit the following documents:

  • Passport with a validity period of at least 6 months;
  • One passport photo;
  • Form DS-160. Applicant must complete form DS-160 online and submit the confirmation page of their application form;
  • Visa fee receipt showing that applicant has paid the relevant fee or to be paid in advance at the bank before taking an appointment;
  • USCIS Form I-134 Affidavit of support form. This must be submitted if applicant will rely on a U.S. resident relative;
  • Original interview appointment letter.
Additional Documentation in support of B-1 Visa

In addition to the above documents the applicant may provide the following documents as proof that they meet the eligibility requirements:

  • any evidence of applicant’s arrangements for lodging and appointments already made in the U.S. in preparation for their trip;
  • if applicant has travelled outside their home country in the past, details of the same. This may include photographs, invitation for prior business meetings or seminars, plane tickets, and any other relevant documents;
  • a complete itinerary of their trip that includes all the places to be visited with dates, names, and addresses;
  • letter from employer including the purpose and length of the trip as well as their intent to pay for the costs of the trip;
  • bank statements showing transactions for the last 24 months;
  • exchange of correspondence with U.S. purchases suppliers or contacts;
  • recent contracts, bills of lading or other documentary evidence of recent imports and exports of purchases;
  • incorporation documents and business license(s). If business have been in existence for less than a year, chances of getting a business visa may be reduced;
  • tax statements for the past 3years;
  • documents describing the business, its duration, financial statements, details of the employees (such as their names, address, what kind of work they do, for how long they are employed, and their salaries), and proof including photographs of the office, shop, warehouse, and group photo of employees;
  • any copy of recent advertising brochure, publications or any other media coverage. If available provide the company’s markets and financial position with financial records, sources of funds, income tax papers, etc;
  • details of why the company is sending the applicant only and not someone else;
  • evidence of applicant’s position in the company and remuneration;
  • invitation letter from US counterpart/company/institution with which applicant is going to conduct business. The letter must state the following:

    • importance of the applicant’s visit;
    • the benefits to the U.S. company by the applicants visit;
    • details of their meetings and why it cannot be done remotely; and
    • the duration of the relationship with the company and for how long they have been transacting business.

B-2 visa (Visitor for Medical Treatment/Pleasure)

Eligibility for B-2 visa (Visitor for medical treatment)

Persons who wish to visit the U.S. for medical treatment may satisfy the general requirement of a visitor’s visa and in addition submit further evidence of the following:

  • evidence that the treatment sought or the particular ailment is not available in their home country, and it is for a condition for which medical facilities in the U.S. hold some hope for a cure. This may be satisfied by a medical diagnosis from a physician in the applicant’s home country, explaining the nature of the ailment and the reasons the applicant needs the treatment in the U.S.
  • a letter from a physician or medical facility in the U.S. stating they are willing to treat the specific ailment and detailing the projected length and cost of the treatment. The letter should also show:

    • the amount chargeable as doctor’s fees;
    • hospitalization fees; and
    • all medical related expenses.

  • proof that applicant’s transportation, medical and living expenses in the U.S. will be paid. This proof may be established by evidence which may include:

    • an original bank statement detailing all deposits, withdrawals, transfer of funds, etc for the past 12months. This may be a statement from the application or one from a close relative;
    • if the funds will be provided by a close relative in the U.S., a Form I-134 (Affidavit of Support Form) must be completed and submitted by the sponsor in support of the application. This must be provided with evidence of the income or assets claimed. Such evidence must also include income tax records and bank statements showing transactions for the past one year. Affidavit from a person other than a close relative cannot be accepted.

Eligibility for B-2 visa (visitor for pleasure)

The presumption in the law is that every visitor visa applicant is an intending immigrant. Applicant may thus produce evidence of family ties to show the purpose of their trip and their intention to return to their home country, although it is impossible to specify the exact form of documentation as each applicant’s circumstances vary greatly. For young persons, presenting evidence of strong ties is always a challenge. However, a young applicant may lead evidence of their education status/grades, long range plans, parents’ status, prospects in home country, previous travel to other countries, etc in proof of their strong ties.

Required documentation in support of B-2 Visa

Applicant must submit the following documents:

  • passport with a validity period of at least 6 months;
  • one passport photo;
  • Form DS-160. Applicant must complete form DS-160 online and submit the confirmation page of their application form;
  • Visa fee receipt showing that applicant has paid the relevant fee or to be paid in advance at the bank before taking an appointment;
  • USCIS Form I-134 Affidavit of support form. This must be submitted if applicant will rely on a U.S. resident relative;
  • Original interview appointment letter;
Additional Documentation in support of B-2 Visa

In addition to the above documents an applicant may provide the following documents as proof that they meet the eligibility requirements:

  • documents showing the purpose of their trip. This could be a travel itinerary and hotel arrangements, letters of invitation from relatives or friends in the U.S. stating that the applicant is welcome to stay with them. It may only include confirmation of participation in a group tour, an invitation to an event such as printed wedding invitation or invitation to attend a graduation, etc;
  • documents proving that the applicant will return to their home country;
  • ownership of real estate such as house, shop, etc. Attach photos of such house, office, factory, shop or such other properties.
  • proof of current source of income. This must be a letter from the employer detailing the applicants position, status, length of employment, the period of authorised vacation and the purpose of the trip;
  • pay slips for the most recent 3 months. Attach additional months if possible;
  • bank statement showing transactions or payment of salaries;
  • if self-employed or a business owner proof of business registration documents and proof of legal relationship to the business;
  • statement of income details;
  • if running business as a partnership, proof of the partnership agreement showing applicants interest in the partnership;
  • latest income tax returns for the most recent years;
  • proof of other financial paper statements like shares, bonds, fixed deposits, life insurance policies, etc;
  • if applicant holds any past membership or status in a credible professional, religious or fraternal organization, proof of same, e.g. Lions Club President or Secretary, Trustee of the Temple, etc.
Evidence of family circumstances as a means of proving strong ties
  • draw up a family free chart showing the applicant’s relatives’ names, ages, professions, and their addresses
  • original passport of applicant’s spouse if spouse has prior US travel and applicant is applying alone;
  • photographs of previous visits to other countries if applicable. Evidence may include proof of visa(s), air tickets, boarding passes;
  • indication that applicant has old parents they need to take care of, and other special circumstances that may compel their return;
  • applicant may describe the nature of the trip and details of the itinerary.
U.S. Sponsor Documents
  • Form I-134, Affidavit of Support Form. This document may be completed and submitted by the U.S. friend or relative declaring that they shall be responsible for the applicants travel and stay in the US. Notarisation of this document is not required.
  • employment letter on business stationary showing the following:

    • date and nature of employment;
    • status or post of any;
    • salary paid; and
    • whether position is temporary or permanent;

  • pay stubs in the last 3months (preferable if additional months can be shown);
  • bank statement for the last 6 months;
  • a letter from the sponsor addressed to the US embassy or consulate inviting the applicant to visit and stating that they will take care of their expenses;
  • a personal letter (may be in informal form) from the sponsor inviting the applicant. The letter must indicate the details and plans for their stay, and arrangements made to take them around for tourist purposes;
  • income tax returns for the last 3 years. If self-employed, include self-employment schedules filled with income tax returns or financial records such as bank statements for the business account;
  • proof of sponsor relationship to applicant, this may be in the form of marriage or birth certificates;
  • proof of legal status in the US;
  • photocopy of all pages of passport or residence permit, or front and back copy of green card;
  • legal status of kids, if applicable.
How to Apply

An applicant for a visitor visa must generally apply at the America Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence although, technically, the law allows an applicant to apply for a B-visa at any U.S. consulate they may choose. However, from a practical standpoint, their case will be given greater consideration at the consulate in their home country. Applying in some other country may create suspicion about their motives for choosing their consulate.

Complete an online visa application

Applicant must complete the online visa application from (Form DS-160) and print with them their application confirmation page to bring to their interview. Applicant must not carry the completed application with them to the interview. They must only submit the confirmation page of the completed form. Note that as part of completing the online Form DS-160, the applicant will be required to upload their photo meeting certain specific requirements.

Schedule an interview appointment

Applicant must schedule an appointment for their visa interview, generally at the US Embassy or Consulate in their home country. Wait time for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so it is advised that applicant should apply for their visa early. It is important to have the following information on hand when scheduling a visa appointment:

  • DS-160 confirmation (barcode) number;
  • application fee payment receipt number;
  • application passport number, dates of issue and expiry;
Category specific information
  • F, M Student SEVIS number from the Form I-20
  • J Exchange visitor SEVIS number from the form DS-2019
  • Temporary Work visas (H, L) Petition number from form J-797
Attending the Interview

Applicant must attend an interview with a U.S. consular officer who will determine whether the applicant is qualified to receive a visa. Digital fingerprint scans will be taken as part of the application process, typically during the interview. The consular officer will examine the Form DS-160 for accuracy. The typical interview last only a few minutes within which the officer has to deny or approve the application.

Useful tips for attending the consular interview
  • The applicant may be asked about their ties to their home country and the state of their financial resources.
  • Applicant may also be asked how long they intend to remain in the US, and they must be prepared to give clear answers to any questions on duration and plans for their visit. Any answer suggesting uncertainty about duration or travel plans may be interpreted by the officer as an indication of immigrant intent and the application will be refused.
  • The applicant must be confident in their answers. They must give short, clear, to-the-point responses in a loud and clear voice. They must not be afraid to ask the officer to repeat the question if they did not hear him/her clearly.
  • Applicant must not answer questions with “I think this” or “I think that”. If they do not know an answer to a question they must clearly say so. A response to a question which is preceded by “I think this or that” may be interpreted by the officer to mean uncertainty in plans or object which may be construed as an indication of immigrant intent.
  • Applicant must listen carefully to the questions from the officer and answer them; no more, no less. They must not volunteer or give information they have not be asked. If the officer wishes to know more, they may ask further questions. Volunteering unsolicited information may create unnecessary problems. The most important thing to note is that the answers supplied must be responsive to the questions asked.
  • Applicant must also be prepared to simultaneously put forth a document supporting their answers and to refer to the document in their answer. For example in an answer to a question about why the applicant will return to their home country after their visit to the US, the applicant must refer to any relevant document in their answer and must be prepared to simultaneously put forth such document as proof.
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