In May, 2010, the United States announced new visa requirements that will make the application process much less painful than before. On June 1, 2010, the US government integrated online services for their application process. The online form called the DS-160 for Nonimmigrant Visa (NIV) will be strictly for temporary visits including for business, pleasure, study and official diplomatic work. This includes:
Scheduling Interviews Online
One application per family (instead of applications for each family member)
The application is anticipated to take between 20 to 40 minutes. Once completed, individuals will be required to print this confirmation and present it during the interview. This confirmation letter will include a bar code which will pull up the submitted application immediately. In the case where there is no immediate printer access, applicants can choose an optional feature to have the application emailed. For those traveling frequently to the US, applicants can use the same online application and simply change the dates listed on the original application form.
According to the US consulate, visa applications should be submitted 2 – 3 months in advance; expedited visa processing will only be available to students and medical emergencies. After a successful interview, visas can be picked up 24 hours after the formal interview.