Applying for U.S. nonimmigrant visas in Moscow

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow has prepared the following new information concerning applying for U.S. nonimmigrant visas in Moscow, taking into account new visa validities, fees and phone numbers:


This handout is designed to answer your questions about how to apply for a nonimmigrant visa to the United States. We ask you to read it carefully. The U.S. visa process is relatively simple. However, as with most things, it helps to be prepared in advance. Most applicants who visit the Embassy are successful. We issue nonimmigrant visas to over 80 percent of those who apply for visas at Embassy Moscow are found qualified. This information is to help you understand the process and to speed the processing of your application.

Please note that the consular section shares an entrance(just beneath the flag at 19/23 Novinskiy Blvd.) with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). INS officers interview approximately 30,000 applicants for the U.S. refugee program annually. The Embassy receives approximately 130,000 visa applications annually (in Europe second only to the U.S. Embassy in London). Therefore we appreciate your patience as we try to attend to the some 500 or more people who apply in person daily.


Applications are free. We ask you to obtain and complete your application before coming to the Consular Section. Applications are available Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the information window beneath the American flag on Novinskiy Blvd. The form should be typed or completed neatly in block letters in Russian or English.


Everyone in line by 10 a.m. will be interviewed the same day. Those applicants arriving after 10 a.m. will be asked to pick up an application at the information window and apply the following day. Document intake and fee payment begins in the consular section's north annex.


The documents you will need to bring to the interview depend on the category of visa for which you will be applying but in all cases each traveler will need:

  1. a passport valid for at least six months following the proposed date of entry into the U.S.
  2. two photographs size 37 x 37mm. (All applicants, even infants included in their parents' passports, are required to have photographs. The visa has the applicant's picture imprinted on it.)
  3. a completed application form; and,
  4. credible evidence that you will depart the U.S. at the end of your stay.

U.S. immigration law places the burden of proof on nonimmigrant visa applicants to show that they have a permanent residence outside the U.S. which they do not intend to abandon. There is no set documentation to prove an applicant will leave the U.S. at the end of his/her stay but the following are some suggestions:

Under U.S. visa law, "sponsorship" plays a very limited role. There are a few exceptions (see H and L below) which require approved petitions from the INS. According to U.S. law, applicants are considered an intending immigrants until they demonstrate that they are non-immigrants (e.g. tourists, students, etc.)

NOTE: YOU DO NOT NEED A NOTARIZED INVITATION LETTER OR FORM. Please ask your American contacts/friends NOT to buy these. If you bring such a form to the interview, the consul will not necessarily ask to see it. We prefer to see normal business or family correspondence.

Please ask your friends and contacts in the U.S NOT to send faxes in support of your application directly to the Embassy unless you have been instructed to do so by the interviewing consular officer. We cannot match faxes to specific cases. Your contacts should send those faxes to you so you can bring them to the interview if your feel the Embassy will need the information.

Each applicant should come to the interview prepared to explain his or her purpose in traveling to the U.S. General answers like "negotiations" are not as helpful as "I am buying medical equipment for my firm. We have done business with such and such firm in the U.S. for 2 years and here are copies of my previous orders." Applicants should also be prepared to explain how they will finance their visit to the U.S.


In addition to those documents listed in a-f above, the following pages include more detailed information on what documents applicants might bring for specific visa categories:

B-1/B-2 tourist/business visa

For those persons going to the U.S. on tourism, please indicate where you will be staying. If you are visiting friends, please feel free to bring correspondence or letters of invitation from them. PLEASE do NOT bring a notarized form or letter to this effect. The consular officer may ask how you met the person you are visiting. If you are visiting family, please indicate the inviting person's relationship to you and indicate whether that person is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (i.e. bearer of a U.S. green card), or non- immigrant in the U.S. on a work or student visa.

Individuals applying for business visas, should be prepared to explain what kind of business trip they are making. For those persons visiting business contacts or clients, please bring correspondence that explains the nature of the trip. PLEASE do NOT bring in notarized invitation letters. The more specific the correspondence you have the better. Invitations to conduct negotiations in the U.S. do not help us understand the nature of the visit. If you can present evidence of ongoing correspondence with the prospective business partners or clients, this will greatly assist the consular officer to make the correct determination of visa category. The consul will ask you to describe what you do and what you will be doing in the U.S. Details are important. General statements of business intent are not as helpful as specific information.

F-1 student visa

You will need Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status-For Academic and Language Students) and evidence of funding for the first year's studies. Most successful applicants for student visas are attending college or post graduate programs; however, we do issue F-1 visas to high school students depending on the program and arrangements made. The evidence that you have the funding for the first year should be in the form of a bank financial statement (not just a letter from the bank). If you have a U.S. sponsor, you may bring the sponsor's yearly income tax return to show that he can fulfill his financial obligation for your education. If your parents are paying and they don't have an overseas account, you may bring documents from their place of employment to demonstrate that they can cover the cost of your first year in the U.S.

J-1 Exchange Visitor

You will need Form IAP-66(Certificate of Eligibility for NIV Exchange Visitor) which is provided by the U.S. organization or sponsor.

H Temporary Workers and Trainees

You will need Form I-797 approved by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Please feel free to ask at the information window for a separate handout which gives more detailed information.

L Intra-Company Transferee

You will need Form I-797 approved by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.


Applicants in the following categories are able to take advantage of the Consular Section's Express Window, which is open every morning in the north annex in the are immediately adjacent to the cashiers windows:


U.S. law requires reciprocity of visa fees between countries. Therefore the issuance fees charged for U.S. visas were adjusted on May 1,1996, to reflect the cost of Russian visas for U.S. citizens. For almost all visa categories, visa fees are as follows, and are denominated in dollars for the convenience of our other posts abroad which issue visas to Russians to travel to the U.S. Applicants in Russia may pay in rubles at the day's exchange rate on the date they pick up the visa. (We cannot accept payment partly in dollars and partly in rubles.)

multiple entry 1-year validity $ 150
multiple entry 3-year validity $ 450

As of December 1, 1994, the Embassy began charging a $20 application fee for the Machine Readable Visa. Since the visa can be "read" at the port-of-entry, waiting time to clear airport formalities is reduced. This fee is non-refundable and must be paid prior to the visa interview.


Persons with general questions about the visa process may phone 255- 9555 between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Questions related to specific applications, requiring detailed responses, should be made in writing, by mail or facsimile (956-4261).


As we are trying to keep the waiting rooms clean for everyone, may we ask that you do not bring gum or beverages into the Embassy. Thank you.

29 April 1996

From Thu May  2 17:02:43 EDT 1996