The visa application process
Here is my quick list of the top visa services in the U.S based on my experience of having traveled to 50+ countries (and received countless visas along the way). I’ll go into more detail later in this post.
Although I’m normally a do-it-yourself kind of guy, I sometimes get a travel visa service to take care of all the visa formalities for me. The best travel visa services in the United States (I’ll discuss 4 in total) often have knowledge and connections that the average person simply won’t have.
Getting experts to do the tedious work of getting the visa for you on your behalf can make a lot of sense and relieve you of future headache if you’re trying to secure a visa for a particular country.
Even for seasoned travelers like yours truly, visas can be incredibly frustrating. You have to get this document and that document; and often, despite having all of the necessary documents and fees in place, the consulate or government agency never fails to find a reason why they cannot process your visa.
If you have any questions on visas, good luck getting anyone to answer the phone….consulates and embassies are notorious for not picking up the phone. Many consulates would rather provide you with an e-mail address that gets you a short, uninformative response in three business days or more (and sometimes they don’t even respond).
The visa application process can be very stressful
So when the going gets tough, go ahead and get a good visa service to get your visa for you. Sure, the commission they get for doing this service is often quite high, but these guys do this stuff for a living and have the relationships and knowledge to help you save time and avoid future hassle.
Most visa services works as follows:
- You fill out a form.
- You gather the required documents.
- You send the visa service your required documents.
- Visa service takes care of everything and mails you your visa!
So, without further ado, check out the reviews below of the best travel visa services in the United States based on feedback from my readers and my personal experience. In order to evaluate the services, I took into account criteria such as responsiveness, website design, cost, professionalism, phone demeanor, and attention to detail.
As a side note, if you’re a U.S. citizen and don’t have a passport, all of the agencies below can also assist you with getting a passport. Service fees for both visas and passports vary between the companies, so be sure to check each website for their latest fees so that you can get the best rate.
With U.S.-based offices in Washington, DC and New York City, a U.K.-based office in London and a Canadian office in Ontario, VisaHQ is a heavyweight in the world of visa agencies. Even though they’ve been around in the online travel visa business since just 2003, they have grown rapidly and have the cleanest, most user-friendly website that you will find. If you go to the bottom of their home page to where it says “VisaHQ widgets”, you will find a cool tool that quickly shows you if you need a visa for pretty much any country in the world.
Using Visa HQ is as easy as:
- Completing the secure online application.
- Mailing the documents necessary to prove one’s identity
- Sit back, relax and wait for your passport or visa to arrive in the mail.
It is that simple.
When applying for a visa, customers can choose from a long line of countries. Also, anyone who orders a new U.S. passport from Visa HQ receives a free passport cover. In addition to issuing new passports, Visa HQ also lets people add pages to their passport, change their name on their passport and report a lost or stolen passport.
Prices for passports start at $59.00, and the company promises that there are no hidden or cancellation fees. When it comes to visas, VisaHQ is definitely the more expensive of the visa agencies listed here. With that said though, they are often worth every penny; but, nevertheless, be sure to shop around all these sites before settling on a travel visa service.
With offices in San Francisco, Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and Seattle, Travel Visa Pro is superb. I’m a big fan of these guys. I did business with them in the past when I had to get a document legalized at a consulate in Washington D.C. They were super responsive and got back to me on any query I had in well under 24 hours (normally within the hour). If you are trying to get a document (such as a transcript or proof of employment) legalized, these guys are the ones to go with.
For passports only, customers can choose urgent shipping to have their passport delivered to them within two days of their application. For both passports and visas, customers can also get rush delivery, which is anywhere from one to three days for a visa and four days for a passport. The budget delivery option can allow customers to obtain their visa within three or more days and their passport within two to three weeks.
Travel Visa Pro also offers a concierge service where customers can have an employee fill out their application. There are many benefits to using the company’s concierge service, including but not limited to being entered into their VIP Program, free insurance coverage on one’s passport and free printing of electronic photos at Travel Visa Pro’s office. Many of my readers who have used the services of this company report that their service was fast, friendly and efficient.
I would say that the one downside to Travel Visa Pro is their overly busy, text-filled website. It is not as user-friendly as the VisaHQ website, meaning you have to hunt around a bit to find out what you are looking for. In order to get a visa, when you go to their homepage, choose the country where you want to go in the small drop-down list under the “Visa Services” heading. You will then need to follow the steps listed on the website in order to apply.
With more than 15 years’ experience issuing passports and visas, PassportVisasExpress has been around longer than some of the other travel visa services out there. I’ve heard from a lot of satisfied readers who have used their services to obtain a passport and/or visa without any hassle.
Passport Visas Express specializes in expediting passport applications in as little as 24 hours, but they have a pretty decent visa service as well. I do find their claim to issue “expedited” visas to more than 150 countries a bit misleading though (not that many countries offer expedited visas). In most situations, visa processing speeds will be at the whim of the consulate (which is beyond their control).
With that said, the user interface is superb, and the site is chock full of visa information. I love it how you just click on the visa button, enter your zip code, and you go right to the appropriate visa information for the consulate of your jurisdiction. I know this must have taken a TON of work to implement, so I give a strong Bravo to these guys for putting this functionality on their website.
PassportVisasExpress also offers a live online chat. They issue new and replacement passports, as well as passports for children and updated passports for a person who has changed their name, lost their passport or needs to obtain a second one.
TraVisa is a company that specializes in issuing passports and visas to travelers quickly and easily. A service they offer that many other similar companies don’t is the ability to save an electronic version of one’s passport or visa on your smartphone. They have a mobile application that for Androids, iPhones and iPads let people get all the necessary information about their passport or visa. The company also allows its customers to register their travel with the U.S. Embassy. They even have an instructional video on their website that tells people everything they need to know about how to use their services.
TraVisa has offices in Atlanta, Washington DC, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Miami, Houston, Ottawa and London. The countries they offer visas to include China, Brazil, Russia, India, Australia, Vietnam, Kenya, Tanzania and many more. This company also specializes in the legalization of documents.
The company’s website also includes a travel store where customers can purchase items such as phone cards, passport covers, maps and medicine to prevent jet lag.
The majority of customers that use TraVisa are applying for a visa to travel to Brazil, China, India, Russia and Vietnam (i.e. the countries that require U.S. citizens to get a visa).
Also, a cool feature of TraVisa is their visa “pre-check.” A visa pre-check is when a TraVisa Visa employee reviews a customer’s visa application to be sure that it was filled out properly, and the customer has all the necessary documents in place to get the visa approved. Once customers have ordered their visa they can keep track of their application by logging onto the TraVisa website and getting updates on their application status.
My readers report that TraVisa provides decent service (but not above and beyond like some of the others in this list…but still do give them a try if you are price shopping) when it comes to applying for or renewing a passport or visa.
So there you have it folks, the best travel visa services in the United States. Be sure to visit each website and check prices before deciding on a visa service. Service fees can vary quite considerably. Anyways, good luck on your visa hunt and safe travels!
Want Professional Visa Help? If you are a U.S. citizen and want professional help with getting a visa, check out my post on the 4 Best Travel Visa Services in the United States.
Worldwide Moving Guide: Everything you need to know in order to plan your move to 65+ countries around the world.
Find an Embassy or Consulate: Check my Worldwide Embassy and Consulate Finder to find the diplomatic representation nearest you.
Worldwide Jobs Guide: Be sure to check out my posts on how to find jobs in any country in the world.
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About Addison Sears-Collins
Hey! I'm Addison Sears-Collins, the founder of Visa Hunter. You can learn more about me here. Connect with me by liking my fan page on Facebook, connecting with me on Twitter, or check out my website Automatic Addison where I build robots and embedded systems.
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What are the 4 most common types of visas? ›
Requirements, fees and processing times vary, depending on the country and type of visa you need. The most common categories are business, work, student and tourist visas.What is a visa What are the 4 main steps to getting a visa? ›
Four Steps to Help You Apply for a Visa
- Pay your visa fee,
- Obtain acceptable photographs,
- Complete your online DS-160 visa application,
- Get a list of all required documents you must bring, and.
- Schedule your visa interview appointment.
What are the top 5 US Visas?
- H-1B Visa.
- Student Visa.
- Tourist Visa.
In order to apply for this visa, you'll need to prepare or collect the following:
- Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application.
- Visa application fee.
- Visa issuance fee.
US Visitor Visa (Business Visa USA and US Tourist Visa)
|Visa||Purpose of stay|
|B-1 Visa (Business Visitor)||For business travelers who stay in the U.S. for up to 180 days|
|B-2 Visa (Tourist)||For tourists who want to stay in the U.S. for up to 180 days|
To begin with, let's look at the four types of immigration status that exist: citizens, residents, non-immigrants and undocumented. The characteristics of each status are explained below.How do you increase your chances of getting a US visa? ›
- Employment. Having a job in your home country will not guarantee to have your visa issued. ...
- Family Obligation. ...
- Property and Personal Asset. ...
- Community Involvement. ...
- Travel History.
- What is the reason for your travel to the United States? ...
- What is the duration of your stay in the United States? ...
- Where will you be staying? ...
- Where do you stay in India? ...
- Who is going to cover your expenses during the travel?
A US visa interview will typically be conducted by a single consular official, who will ask you a wide range of questions about all aspects of your application and your proposed stay in the US. Certain general questions are asked of all applicants, regardless of the type of visa that you are applying for.How much bank balance is required for US visa? ›
The amount of bank balance you should have for applying to the US tourist visa depends on the duration. If it is a 15-day trip, you must have $ 5,000-10,000 in your bank. Is travel insurance compulsory for the US travel visa? No, travel insurance is not compulsory for the US travel visa.
How much money do I need to show for US tourist visa? ›
How much money do I need to show for US Tourist Visa? Officially, there is no limit for the money to be shown for the US Tourist Visa. Any amount that can validate the overall expenses for your US trip must be adequate. This includes to and fro air tickets, medical insurance, boarding, lodging, shopping, etc.How long does a US visa take? ›
If a visa application is approved during a visa interview, the average processing time is 5 working days. At least a further 2-3 workdays should be allowed for delivery.How many types of visas are there for USA? ›
There are two general types of US visas: non-immigrant visas and immigrant visas.What are the different visas for USA? ›
|Purpose of Travel||Visa Category|
|Student: academic, vocational||F, M|
|Temporary agricultural worker||H-2A|
|Temporary worker performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature.||H-2B|
|Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitor||B-2|
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP), administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in consultation with the State Department, permits citizens of 40 countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa.How do I apply for a US tourist visa? ›
- Find out if you need a visa. Check to see if your country participates in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). ...
- Determine which visa you might need for your visit. Most business and tourism travelers use B-1 and B-2 visitor visas. ...
- Apply for a visa.
- Visitor visas. If you plan to visit the United States for tourism or temporary business, you need a B-1 or B-2 visa unless the Visa Waiver program covers your home country. ...
- Study visas. If you plan to be a student in the United States, you will also need a visa. ...
- Employment visas.
For this, the F-1 visa is usually the better option, as it allows you to work off-campus in your field and even allows you to work for one to two years after your studies are over. In contrast, the J-1 only allows you to work on campus.What is the difference between green card and immigrant visa? ›
Immigrant visas can start the process for permanent resident status, but they do not provide resident status themselves. A green card is a physical card that represents the holder's right to permanently live and work within the United States. Green cards are only obtained after arrival within the United States.What are the 4 types of citizenship in the USA? ›
The four routes available include; citizenship by Naturalization, Citizenship by Marriage, citizenship through your parents and citizenship through the military.
What visa type is a green card? ›
The green card itself usually arrives by mail after the person either entered the U.S. using an immigrant visa received from a U.S. consulate; or after the person applied for permanent residence from within the United States (adjustment of status) and received a notice of approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration ...What is common visa? ›
A Common Visa is a visa which is recognized by more than one nation.How many types of visa have? ›
|S. No.||Type of Visa||Max. Duration|
|2||Business Visa||5 years (Extendable in India)|
|3||Project Visa||1 year or for actual duration of the project/contract|
|4||“X”/ Entry visa||5 years (Extendable in India)|
|5||Tourist Visa||30 days (Not extendable in India)|
While there are about 185 different types of U.S. visas, there are two main categories: Nonimmigrant visa, for temporary stays such as for tourism, business, family visits, study, work or transit; Immigrant visa: for permanent residence in the United States.How many types of visa for UK? ›
|Business Visitor Visa||Travel to the UK for up to 6 months for business activities|
|Student Visitor Visa||Studying in the UK on a temporary basis|
|Tourist Visa||Travel to the UK for up to 6 months for leisure or other purposes|
|Adult Student Visa||Studying in the UK|
|Country||Visa Requirements||Travel Advisory Level|
|Botswana||Not Required||Level 4: Do Not Travel|
|Brazil||Not Required||Level 3: Reconsider Travel|
|British Virgin Islands||Not Required||Level 4: Do Not Travel|
|Brunei||Not Required||Level 4: Do Not Travel|
Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
Tourist or business travelers who are citizens of participating countries may be eligible to visit the United States without a visa. Visits must be 90 days or less, and travelers must meet all requirements. Citizens of Canada and Bermuda generally do not need visas for tourism and visits.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) permits citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa.How can I get USA visa? ›
How to Apply Online for a Business or Tourism Visitor Visa to the U.S.
- Find out if you need a visa. ...
- Determine which visa you might need for your visit. ...
- Apply for a visa.
Yes, you read it correctly. Travel 49 countries and territories VISA-FREE with US visa. I always encourage travelers from developing countries to get a US visa at some point. It opens up doors to many other countries.
What is F1 visa in USA? ›
The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program.How long can you stay in America without a visa? ›
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP), administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in consultation with the State Department, permits citizens of 40 countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa.WHO issues visas to enter the United States? ›
Visas are issued by American embassies and consulates.How long does it take to get a visa? ›
The entire visa application processing takes somewhere between two weeks and four months, depending on the type of visa. Please check what visa category you are going to need to have enough time left for the application process. Additional factors.How much is UK visa fee? ›
|Visa types||Visa application fee (USD)|
|Short-term (up to 6 months, single or multiple entry)||118|
|Longer-term (valid for up to 2 years)||442|
|Longer-term (valid for up to 5 years)||788|
|Longer-term (valid for up to 10 years)||985|
Immigration Health Surcharge.
|UK visa||Application fee|
|Visitor visa (6 months)||R1 922|
|Visitor visa (2 years)||R7 228|
You must submit 6 months of bank statements that clearly show your monthly salary and financial commitments. There must not be any large deposits of cash other than your salary. Total savings must be at least twice your proposed UK trip expenses.