Visa Processing

On 05.10.12 | In USCIS Blog, By USCIS Info

One of the greatest challenges of applying for a travel visa from the U.S. government is figuring out the amount of time that will be needed to process your request. Unfortunately, the processing times vary depending on whether you seek to enter the United States as a visitor, a student, or a worker, and you can spend anywhere from a single day up to six months waiting to receive word on whether your application has been approved.

If you are trying to plan a trip to the United States, you can use the chart below to determine how much time you will need in order to complete your visa application. You can look up specific visas by type using the center column, or by their USCIS designations (H3, K-1, O-1, etc.) using the column on the left. The right side of the chart lists the processing times by immigration form type, telling you how long you will need to receive your visa from the U.S. government — although you may experience delays if USCIS determines that there are problems with your application.

  • Athletes, entertainers, and performing artists generally need the most time for visa processing.
  • NAFTA professionals seeking to acquire a TN visa only require one day of processing time. Processing B-1 and B-2 visas for temporary visitors on tourism or business travel can also be processed in a single day, but may need up to three months of processing time.
  • Of the five H-series visas (H-1B, H-1C, H2-A, H2-B, and H3) granted for temporary workers, the H-1C visa for registered nurses requires the most processing time — it normally takes around six months.
Visa Type Visa Purpose Average Visa Processing Time
Temporary Work Visas

H-1B Specialty Occupations and Fashion Models 3-6 Months
H-1C Registered Nurse 6 Months
H2-A Agricultural Workers 2 Months
H2-B Non-Agricultural Workers 3-6 Months
H3 Nonimmigrant Trainee 1-3 Months
E-1 Treaty Traders 2-4 Weeks
E-2 Treaty Investors 1 Week – 6 Months
E-3 Certain Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia 1-2 Months
L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager 2-4 Months
L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge 2-4 Months
O-1 Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievements 3-4 Months
P-1A Internationally Recognized Athlete 3-6 Months
P-1B Member of Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group 3-6 Months
P-2 Individual Performer or Part of a Group Entering to Perform Under a Reciprocal Exchange Program 3-6 Months
P-3 Artist or Entertainer Coming to Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program 3-6 Months
Q Cultural Exchange 3-6 Months
R-1 Temporary Religious Workers 1-2 Months
TN NAFTA Professionals 1 Day
Visitor Visas

B-1 Temporary Business Visitor 1 Day – 3 months
B-2 Temporary Tourist Visitor 1 Day – 3 months
Student & Exchange Visas

F-1 Academic Student Visa 3 Months
M-1 Vocational Student Visa 3 Months
J-1 Exchange Visitor 1-2 Months
Fiancé(e) Visa

K-1 Fiancé(e) of U.S. Citizen 3-6 Months

Visa Processing by Embassy or Consulate Office

For Visa Processing Times by U.S. Embassy or Consulate Office, please click here.