Where can Ukrainians currently obtain U.S. visas in 2023? How can you schedule visa interviews for tourist, guest, business, and student visas more quickly? Are U.S. visas being issued now?
Can you travel to the U.S., and what types of visas are relatively easy to obtain now? What is happening with the issuance of U.S. visas in connection with the war in Ukraine?
Current information on what is happening with U.S. visa issuance worldwide right now.
This article is continuously updated as changes occur.
The purpose of this article is to help everyone understand what is happening with the issuance of U.S. tourist and student visas in 2023.
ATTENTION! Starting August 31, 2023, I have begun accepting your applications for assistance in preparing the Green Card Lottery 2023 entry. The number of applications I can process is limited.
Latest News on U.S. Visas
The consular fee has increased and as of June 17, 2023, it stands at $185 for tourist, guest, business, and student visas. The news is published on the website https://www.ustraveldocs.com/.
From July 1, 2023, there will be no Ukrainian language translator at the U.S. Consulate General in Krakow. The Embassy has already sent “happy” letters about this to its clients. I can recommend a Polish translator with whom I work to my clients.
In Ukraine, the issuance of all types of visas has been suspended.
As of May 12, 2023, the requirement for COVID-19 vaccination confirmation for entry into the U.S. has been CANCELLED. The pandemic has officially ended.
The date of the DV-2025 lottery, also known as the Green Card Lottery, has been announced. The lottery will start on October 4, 2023, and applications will be accepted until November 7, 2023. You will be able to check the lottery results starting from May 5, 2024.
I have aт article on the Green Card Lottery.
Last year, I helped a record number of participants apply for the Green Card Lottery.
News about U.S. visas comes in every week. In addition, new questions about U.S. visas are constantly arising, which is why I have updated this post significantly to reflect the realities of 2023, and I regularly update this article.
What Is Happening with Visa Issuance in 2023
All countries have lifted the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic. U.S. embassies worldwide are opening more visa interview slots. In the article, I will briefly cover what happened with U.S. visas over the past two years. I will focus on current information about U.S. tourist, guest, business, and student visas.
I will explain how visas are issued, including to Ukrainian citizens. I will highlight key points and provide approval statistics. Sources of information for the article include official data from the ustraveldocs.com website and the U.S. Embassy’s Facebook page.
Another source of the information is my personal experience with visa consultations and document preparation for U.S. visas.
Over the past 10 years, since 2013, I have accumulated my own statistics on visa issuance. Additionally, I monitor the situation with the issuance of all major types of non-immigrant visas to the U.S. on a daily basis.
Regarding the question that arises frequently: If you have paid a visa fee in a certain country, it is only valid for applying for a tourist visa in that country.
On March 28, 2023, it was announced that the consular fee would increase in the summer. Instead of $160 for tourist, guest, business, and student visas, you will need to pay $185. This news is published on the U.S. Department of State’s website.
Where to Schedule a Visa Interview in 2023
Ukrainians can schedule a visa interview at any U.S. embassy or consulate worldwide where booking is available. The location for visa application and issuance is NOT dependent on the country where you currently reside.
For instance, if you moved to Croatia, Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada, or any other country due to the war in Ukraine, you can schedule an interview in the country that is most convenient for you. In other words, if you live in Croatia but find the next available interview slot in Poland, feel free to schedule your U.S. visa interview in Warsaw or Krakow.
If you are residing in Ukraine and have not moved elsewhere, you can also apply in any country worldwide where the nearest visa interview slot is available and it is more convenient for you.
To check the availability of interview slots, you can do so through your personal account (which you need to create first) or on the U.S. Department of State website. Keep in mind that the information on this website is accurate for residents of those countries; for non-residents, interview dates may differ.
What Are the Requirements for U.S. Visa Applicants?
Depending on the purpose of your trip to the United States, factors such as your employment, income, the presence of relatives and friends in the U.S., travel history, marital status, and other details in the visa application form are important. The requirements for applicants are the same in all countries.
For applicants with a weak background, the likelihood of visa refusal remains high.
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Where to Schedule a Visa Interview Quickly?
I would like to remind you that we are talking about the most popular tourist visa (B1/B2) and student visa (F1).
As of the fall of 2023, you can schedule a visa interview more quickly in countries such as Poland, Romania, the Baltic states, Switzerland, and Norway. Quick scheduling is also possible in Indonesia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and some other countries. It’s a bit more challenging but still possible in Italy or Portugal.
Traditionally, it’s challenging to secure an appointment in Southern European countries like Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Belgium, and Turkey. In some countries, only residents can schedule appointments, for example, Slovakia. There is no appointment scheduling for non-residents there.
In 2023, it is still challenging to secure appointments for tourist visas in Mexico, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Where Do I Recommend Applying for a Visa?
I recommend Ukraine nationals to consider Poland, regardless of whether you live in Poland, Ukraine, or elsewhere. In Poland, you can attend interviews in English, Polish, or Russian.
In Krakow, there used to be a Ukrainian language translator, but now you need to bring your own translator. You can also schedule interviews promptly in Switzerland, Germany, and Romania, as they have a good track record of visa issuance.
Which Dates Are Available?
Let’s focus on Poland, where there is the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw and the Consulate General in Krakow. There are plenty of available locations and dates. Currently, I am scheduling appointments for October, November, and December 2023, and there are many slots available for 2024.
Apart from Poland, you can also schedule a visa interview relatively quickly in Bucharest, Oslo, Riga, Vilnius, Sofia, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, and other cities. Many countries have become more accessible due to the U.S. Department of State’s announcement of reduced interview wait times worldwide.
I have written a detailed article on the visa application process and nuances for applying for a U.S. visa in Poland on my website VisaHome.info. The website is entirely dedicated to U.S. visas, and I provide a lot of information and practical examples there.
Based on my statistics, I can say that U.S. visas have been and continue to be issued to all categories of citizens for all possible travel purposes that correspond to the visa type. In 2023, this situation is even better than during the pandemic.
Despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, U.S. embassies continue to issue tourist visas for visits, business visas, and student visas.
The most common purposes for which visas are being issued to the United States now include visiting relatives (not necessarily close ones), visiting friends in the U.S., medical treatment, tourism, and leisure, business trips such as meetings with partners, conferences, seminars, exhibitions, and more. Girls also get visas for visiting friends.
The approval statistics for visas are slightly higher than before the war. Of course, this depends on the proper preparation of all documents and the successful completion of the interview.
Refusal Statistics in Poland
Many questions are asked about the refusal statistics for U.S. visas in Warsaw and Poland in general (Warsaw and Krakow).
I work with all European and Asian countries except Kazakhstan or Armenia.
There are refusals both in Poland and in Slovakia, Austria, and Germany. The percentage of refusals for Ukrainians is approximately the same. The approach is also identical. Poland generally receives more applicants. If 10-30 people apply to the embassy in Bratislava or Austria or Switzerland per month, then hundreds apply through Poland. Therefore, the absolute number of refusals will be higher in Poland than in Vienna. Many applicants who are refused immediately turn to the internet, claiming they are being “biased” against and that “getting a visa is a lottery.” Of course, this is not true.
Statistically, you have almost equal chances of obtaining a visa in Austria and in Poland. However, if you work in Austria or Switzerland, for example, it makes sense to apply for a visa in those countries.
In general, to obtain a U.S. visa, you need to meet certain criteria, have a purpose for your trip, and have a job or a stable source of income. The range of such criteria is quite broad, and practically everyone who works and travels the world periodically has a chance to obtain a U.S. visa!
On average, the time from your decision to get a U.S. visa to receiving your passport with the visa takes between 14 to 30 days.