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How to Apply for a B1/B2 Travel Visa From a Third Country

Learn more about the travel visa process when applying outside of your home country

In general, it is possible to apply for a nonimmigrant visa, including a B1/B2 travel visa, at any visa-issuing U.S. Embassy or consulate — technically, it’s not a rule that the applicant can only apply from their home country.

It can be more difficult to apply for a travel visa when you’re not in your home country, otherwise known as applying from a “third country”, but it’s still possible to receive a visa approval in certain situations. In this guide, we’ll cover important information you need to know when applying for a tourist visa from a third country and how to strengthen your chances of approval if you go this route.

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Important Information When Applying from a Third Country

Overall, it is important to have a valid reason for applying for your U.S. travel visa from a third country. On average, travel visa denial rates are higher for those applying from third countries. If you’re originally from a country with high travel visa denial rates, it may seem that applying from a third country could increase your chances of approval. It’s important to note that applications from “higher risk” nationals will likely still receive additional scrutiny, no matter where you’re applying from.

If you’re from a “higher risk” country, consular officers might infer that you are intentionally trying to avoid applying from your home country and instead choose an embassy or consulate more likely to approve your visa or have faster processing times. This tactic is often referred to as “consulate shopping,” and it can make the visitor visa process more difficult.

If you do choose to apply for your B-1/B-2 visa at a U.S. embassy or Consulate in a third country, there are some logistical challenges to be aware of as well. Embassy staff and interviewing officers in the third country you’re applying from may not speak your native language, increasing communication barriers during your visa appointment. The interviewing officer may also be less familiar with the conditions of your home country, making it more difficult for you to demonstrate your qualifications for a travel visa. Therefore, applying from a third country could increase processing times in some instances, as the consulate might put your application on hold to request follow-up information from the U.S. Embassy or consulate in your home country.

Lastly, every U.S. Embassy and consulate has different procedures, processing times, and waits for visa appointments depending on demand and availability. Before applying for your travel visa, it’s important to reach out to the U.S. Embassy or consulate directly to make sure they accept third country applications. You’ll want to learn more about the embassy or consulate’s specific procedures, what to expect when applying, and how long it may take to obtain a visa appointment.

Helpful Tips For Third Country Applicants

One of the main requirements of the travel visa process is proving to the U.S. government that you have strong ties to your country, and intend to return home after your temporary trip in the U.S.

To satisfy this requirement, it’s generally best to apply for your travel visa in the country where you have the strongest social and economic ties.

If you’re residing in a third country only temporarily (such as on another travel visa) and applying for a U.S. travel visa from there, the interviewing officer is going to evaluate your ties to your home country and could issue a denial, suggesting you apply from your home country instead.

On the other hand, if you’re a citizen of one country but have been residing in another country as a permanent resident, you may be able to demonstrate strong ties to your country of residence, including having a job or owning property.

Gathering Evidence

If applying from a third country, it’s important to gather as much supporting evidence as possible during the travel visa process to strengthen your application. You should be able to clearly explain why you’re currently in a third country (whether for work, school, or other reasons), so the consular officer can have a comprehensive picture of your application.

You’ll also want to gather strong evidence that you’ll be able to financially support yourself during your trip in the U.S. For examples of which financial documents to include on your application, Boundless put together a full list of required documents during the travel visa process.

During the last stage in the process, it’s also important to be able to demonstrate your relationship to the third country and corroborate any information on your application during your visa interview. For more information on how to prepare for your travel visa interview, check out Boundless’ interview guide.

You don’t have to go through the travel visa process alone! Our experienced team will assess your risk of B-1/B-2 visa denial and create a tailored plan to maximize your chance of success. We’ll even help you prepare for your visa interview. Learn more.