If you wish to travel from Ghana to the USA, you need a visa. However, before you can get one, you need to go through the US visa application Ghana process and then pay a set fee. The applicable fees for a visa to the USA have always been unclear to many people in Ghana. In fact, several Ghanaians have fallen victim to online scammers who claim that all they need is to send money, and their visas will be processed instantly. This is a lie. So, what’s the real cost of visa from Ghana to the USA, and how do you get one?
Before you apply for a visa, it is essential to distinguish between a visa and a passport. A passport is granted by your country of citizenship, in this case, Ghana, and it allows you to enter Ghana as well as other countries that don’t require Ghanaians to have a visa. A visa, on the other hand, is a form of endorsement that is placed in your passport and grants you permission to countries that require Ghanaian citizens to possess a visa in order to enter or stay for a specific period.
Major types of US visa
There are mainly two types of visas; the immigrant and the non-immigrant visa. The non-immigrant visa is for people who are only visiting the country for a temporary stay like a vacation. Immigrant visas, on the other hand, are for those seeking permanent residence in the USA.
Fortunately, the American embassy offices in Accra can process both types of permits. With the right documentation and money, you will get your visa processed. Another thing to note is that these two types of visa are further broken down in various classes. You need to have a specific reason to visit the US to be given the right permit.
What is a non-immigrant visa?
A non-immigrant visa is given to foreigners who seek to enter the USA on a temporary basis for various purposes including medical treatment, temporary work, and tourism, among others.
How to apply for a non-immigrant visa
The application process for a non-immigrant visa is not usually as hectic as commonly assumed. The only challenge is getting it approved, though. This is considering the conditions that you are required to adhere to before finally getting the stamp.
All applicants are required to fill out the DS-160 form. This US visa application form is an online application document that can be accessed at the official U. S Travel Docs website. The language used in filling the form is primarily English with comprehensible characters based on the English language.
Once you’ve completed and submitted it, you need to book an appointment with the embassy for an Interview. You should carry your passport with you. Note that the passport should be valid for more than six months beyond the end of your proposed stay in the United States. Additionally, you also need to have a 2 by 2 passport photo of yourself and a receipt for US visa application fee.
Generally, the cost of visa from Ghana to USA is one hundred and sixty dollars, which can simply be paid through the local currency then converted into dollars. The fee is non- refundable. Besides, paying doesn't guarantee that your application process would be a success.
Types of non-immigrant visas
The non-immigrant visas, just like passports, are also in different categories which include;
1. Tourist/business visa
The tourist or business visa is officially known as visa type B. The permit is issued for Ghanaians who are visiting America for either medical treatment, leisure, or business intentions. The only way for this kind of visa to be approved is by stating that you are visiting the state temporarily and only intending to stay for a specified period before flying back.
You should also be financially stable to sustain yourself during that short stay. Additionally, you should indicate that you have strong ties to Ghana both economically and socially with a permanent residence to affirm that.
2. Exchange visitor visa
This visa is meant for those who intend to visit America for either cultural or educational exchange programs. The exchange visitor visa is the one ideal for them.
However, for the application to be approved, you first need authorisation from the program sponsor confirming that you are indeed part of the program before getting your application forms and other necessary certification. Its officially classified under visa type J class.
3. The transit/ship crew visa
This type of visa is mainly intended for people who are in transit to another destination and only need layover privileges from America. However, for the permit to be approved, they still need to affirm that they are in the state temporarily, have enough funds to sustain themselves while in the country and evidence of transportation arrangements.
Also, they need to provide their permit certifications for their next destination. The ship crew visa, which is mainly for aircraft and sea vessels passing through the regional waters, also functions similarly as the transit visa. It falls under class D of the visa type while the transit in type C-1.
4. Student visa
When privileged to further your studies in the united states of America, you will be required to have a student visa for your stay in that country. The application process should be formal and through a recognised Ghana-based school or program.
The most common type of student visa is mainly for people who will be studying for more than eighteen hours a week. Due to this, it is officially classified as class F-1 type of visa.
5. The work visa
Just like the student visa, those privileged to work in the US would be required to apply for a work visa as non-immigrants and only working within a specified time frame. For the process to be efficient, your prospective employer needs to file a petition allowing you to apply for the visa.
You will then be required to wait for approval from the U. S citizenship and immigration offices. Nevertheless, the period for your temporary stay in the country will highly be based on the nature of work and how you will be needed.
Other work-based visa types require people to visit for only that intended purpose then fly back as soon as possible. The reason for their visits limits the length of the stay. They include; athletes, artists, and entertainers, religious workers, intracompany transferees, journalists, and media crew, among others.
What is an Immigrant visa?
An immigrant visa is issued to foreign nationals who intend to live permanently in the United States.
Applying for an immigrant visa
Applying for an immigrant visa tends to be more involving than a non-immigrant visa. You need to seek sponsorship from a legal permanent resident or a U.S citizen that is currently residing in the country before the application process commences.
The sponsor, who may be your relative or prospective employer, must also file a petition for you to apply for immigration. The U.S Citizenship and Immigration office is in charge of the petition. You will have to wait for its approval before filling US visa application in Ghana documents.
Types of US immigrant visa
There are five main types of immigrant visas cutting across all the possible reasons why any Ghanaian may wish to be an American immigrant. They include;
1. Family-based immigration
The family-based immigration visa is found in two main categories; the immediate relatives and family preference categories as stipulated in the Immigration and Nationality Act. The close relative immigrant visas allow an unlimited number of immigrants intending to seek permanent residence in America.
They are usually founded on a close relationship with a U. S citizen termed as immediate such as a parent, spouse, child under the age of twenty-one and adopted an orphan, either adopted within America or abroad.
The family preference category, on the other hand, tends to be limited to a particular type of members for immigration purposes. They are for specific family relationships such as unmarried sons and daughters. However, the law also clearly stipulates that cousins, aunts, uncles, in-laws are not eligible to sponsor any relative for immigration.
2. Fiancé visa
This is also another type of visa that is pretty straightforward. It is issued for a non-US citizen who is a fiancé or fiancée to a U. S citizen. The law states that a non-citizen ought to have been married within ninety days after landing in the country.
3. Employment-based immigration visa
Every fiscal year that runs from 1st October to 30th September, about one hundred and forty thousand visas for prospective employees are made available as directed by the U.S immigration law. Spouses and children below the age of twenty-one may also be part of the immigration process.
The duration taken for this type of visa to be fully processed and approved may take quite some time. This is because in most cases, applicants do not follow the instructions as required. But still, the time frame for the approval varies from one individual to another and cannot be fully be predicted.
4. The diversity visa
This type of visa came as a result of the need to diversify the American immigrant population. Therefore, each year united states of America, generate about sixty thousand visas that are to be distributed through the lottery. The US Visas website posts the instructions for participating in the lottery.
5. Returning resident visa
Returning resident visa is simply a confirmation that even though you stayed abroad for more than one year, you are still an American and you need to go back. Even so, it’s not as simple as imagined since you still need to prove to the consular regarding some issues before you qualify for the visa, they include;
- You have a permanent resident in America that is acknowledged as lawful by the government authority
- You left the country with intentions of going back and have not changed your mind ever since
- You left the country only for a temporary departure but if you ended up overstaying, was because of some factors that you had no control over and for which you were also not responsible for.
When applying for the visa, you need to notify the U.S embassy of your intended travel at least three months in advance to give room for processing. There are also some vital documents that you need to submit to the consulate, comprising of a re-entry permit, permanent resident card, and a completed the US visa application form Ghana.
How to apply for a US visa online
Even though the majority gives up on US visa application Ghana somewhere down the line, a few resilient souls are still adamant on going to America, living and working there. Though it can be hard to get a US visa, your chances are better if you meet all the requirements and follow instructions correctly.
One important thing that you need to do before you apply for a visa is to know precisely what you want. Once you have that figured out, find the most appropriate permit from the table above. To help you through, here is a detailed breakdown of the steps you need to follow.
The pre-application phase
The US visa application can be stressful if you are misinformed. Therefore, you need to inform yourself about these basic things before you begin your application.
- Find out if you need a visa: If your country is involved in the US visa waiver programme, you don’t have to sweat over a permit.
- Determine which visa you might need: The immigrant visa will have different requirements compared to the non-immigrant visa.
- Get to know what is required for your application: This includes the visa fees and documents.
- Finally, with a clear vision, apply for the visa: The process varies depending on your application centre.
Documents you must have
Your documents must be legal as any alteration can disqualify you from any future applications. Before you head to the US embassy, carry the following:
- Your current passport and any other older passports you may have
- One very recent coloured photograph
- A printed out confirmation page of the online submitted form DS-160 with the CEAC barcode
- A visa fee receipt. This is paid to the bank before booking an interview appointment
- The original appointment letter you received.
If you are targeting a non-immigrant visa, attach documents showing evidence of what takes you to the US. This includes things like sponsorship letters and medical insurance. Links to jobs, schools, and strong family ties are concrete evidence that you will not overstay your welcome.
Applying for the visa
Application for US visa online is a simple procedure, provided you had done your research keenly. Apply in these few steps;
- Start by paying the visa application fee. Download the fee receipt that is processed
- Schedule your appointment online on the US embassy website
- Keep checking your email to know when your US visa application status
- Visit the US embassy in your country on the date and time indicated in your appointment letter.
It is true that getting a permit could be a bit of a hassle, but the good news is; unless you are a criminal, then there’s a chance of getting a visa if you stick to the instructions given and be resilient. Sometimes you have to do it over and over again.
What is the cost of a visa from Ghana to the USA?
The cost of a visa varies depending on the class type in which it falls. For instance, permits in class B, D, C-1, and F belonging to business, crew, transit, student category respectively cost one hundred and sixty dollars in application fees.
Class H, R, and L are given to seasonal workers, religious workers, and intracompany transferees, respectively. For these visas, you need one hundred and ninety dollars for the application process to go through. Here is a detailed breakdown of the fees you will pay for your respective visa application to the USA, both in USD and the Ghanaian currency (GHS).
Whether you are wondering about the US visa application Ghana process or the cost, it is essential to follow the set guidelines closely. The last thing you want is to miss a rare opportunity because of a simple mistake. Once you are through all the steps and have paid the necessary fees, you will be free to realise your American dream.