Majority of your questions relate to our Visa Services. Therefore, below are some of frequently asked questions regarding visas and answers to them:
What is a Nonimmigrant Visa?
Nonimmigrant visas are for international travelers who want to visit the United States temporarily. A nonimmigrant visa allows you to travel to a United States port-of-entry (airport, for example) and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security immigration inspector to enter the United States. A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States.
How long is my tourist visa valid?
The consular officer decides how long your visa will be valid for (up to three years for a B-1/B-2 visa for a Montenegrin citizen) and how many entries will be printed on the visa. Normally the visa will be a "multiple-entry" visa, but in some cases the consular officer will limit the number of entries. If you receive, for example, a multiple-entry, three-year visa, it means that you may apply for admission to the United States as many times as you wish over the next three years. Likewise, if you receive a one-entry, three-month visa, it means that you may apply for admission to the United States one time over the next three months.
How long can I stay in the United States on my nonimmigrant visa (B1/B2)?
The validity of your visa and the number of entries are completely separate from how long you are allowed to stay in the United States. An immigration inspector from United States Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security makes the decision whether or not to admit you to the United States and decides how long you may stay. In most cases the immigration inspector will admit you for a specific period of time (for example, six months). You must depart before your period of stay expires, and you cannot work. If you do not depart on time or if you work illegally, you may be subject to arrest and removal from the United States, and you may be ineligible to receive a visa in the future.
Is my previously issued United States visa still valid?
Unless your visa has been cancelled by a United States consular or immigration officer or it has been physically damaged, the visa is valid until the expiration date listed on it, regardless of whether the passport has expired.
If the passport containing your valid visa has expired, simply travel to the United States with both, your new valid passport and your expired passport containing your valid visa in hand to present to the United States immigration officer upon arrival. Under no circumstances should you attempt to remove the visa from your expired passport and paste it into your new one.
I am a Montenegrin citizen with a valid visa in an old Federal Republic of Yugoslavia passport. Can I still travel with this visa?
Montenegrin citizens with valid United States visas in an expired or cancelled Yugoslav passport may travel with their old Federal Republic of Yugoslavia passport and new Montenegrin passport together. Please note: the dates of validity of the United States visa in the old passport must be current and there should be no cancellation stamps or holes punched through the visa itself. The bio-data information (name, date and place of birth, etc.) in both passports must match exactly. When traveling to the United States, you must show both your new Montenegrin passport and your valid United States visa (in your old passport) to airline officials and United States border inspectors.
If you wish to apply for a new United States visa to be placed in your new Montenegrin passport, you must bring your valid United States visa in your old Federal Republic of Yugoslavia passport with you to the visa interview so that the old visa can be cancelled by the Consul. Issuance of a new United States visa is not automatic. You must apply and qualify for a brand new visa, and bring all required documents to the visa interview. For instructions on applying for a new United States visa, please check the instructions under Non-Immigratn Visas.
Am I required to apply for the visa in person at the Consular Section?
Recent changes to United States immigration law require the vast majority of visa applicants to apply in person. Although some categories of applicants may be eligible for a waiver of personal appearance with a consular officer, nearly all applicants must submit biometric fingerprints and therefore must appear in person. This includes applicants with diplomatic or official passports who are traveling to the United States for non-official purposes.
Do children or the elderly need to apply for the visa in person at the Consular Section?
All visa applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 need to apply in person at the Consular Section.
I am traveling to a country other than the United States, but I am required to transit through a United States airport. Do I need a visa?
Yes. All individuals who plan to transit through the United States, regardless of how long they intend to stay in the airport, must obtain a transit or other valid visa. For more information, please refer to the Department of State's fact sheet on Suspension of the TWOV Program.
How do consular officials determine whether I am eligible to receive a United States visa?
There are numerous grounds of ineligibility that can prevent or significantly delay issuance of an individual’s visa. For a list of each of these, please refer to the Department of State's list of ineligibilities.
The most common ground of ineligibility, however, is that an applicant failed to demonstrate that his/her visit to the United States would be only temporary in nature. Section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act states: "[e]very alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status...." To overcome Section 214(b), applicants must demonstrate that they have a residence and other ties abroad that would compel them to leave the United States at the end of a temporary stay. The law places this burden of proof on the applicant.
Permanent residence and strong ties differ from country to country, city to city and individual to individual. Some examples of ties can be a job, a house, a family, and a bank account. "Ties" are the various aspects of your life that bind you to your country of residence: your possessions, employment, social and family relationships.
During the visa interview, consular officers look at each applicant individually and consider professional, social, cultural and other factors. In cases of younger applicants who may not have had an opportunity to form many ties, consular officers may look at the applicant’s specific intentions, family situation, and long range plans and prospects within his or her country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.
For more information on visa denials under 214(b), please refer to the Department of State's fact sheet on visa denials.
My friend/family member in the United States will be paying all of the expenses associated with my upcoming trip. Is this enough to qualify for the visa?
No. United States law requires all nonimmigrant visa applicants to qualify for the visa on their own, through their own individual circumstances, as outlined above. Under United States law, it is not enough to show that your expenses will be covered by your host in the United States. Regardless of the financial situation of your friend or sponsor, you are subject to the same requirements as every other visa applicant.
I do not live in Montenegro. Am I allowed to apply for a nonimmigrant visa at the Consular Section in Podgorica anyway?
Although we accept nonimmigrant visa applications from all eligible applicants, it may be more difficult for you to qualify for the visa if you are not resident in Montenegro. As such, we typically encourage nonimmigrant visa applicants to apply for the visa at the Embassy or Consulate that covers their country of residence.
I am interested in applying for a J-1 (exchange visitor) visa. How can I learn more about this program?
The "J" visa category encompasses a wide range of programs designed to enhance mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through international educational and training programs.
Some of the most popular of these in Montenegro are the Summer Work and Travel and Au Pair programs. However, it is important to note that the Department of State administers many other programs allowing foreign nationals the opportunity to visit the United States as exchange visitors. For more information on these, please refer to the Department of State's website for exchange visitors.
Am I eligible to travel to the United States without a visa using the Visa Waiver Program?
Only travelers from a select group of countries and who possess the proper documentation are eligible to travel to the United States without a visa. Please visit the Department of State website for a list of countries that are currently participating in the Visa Waiver Program.
I did not turn in my I-94 when I left the United States, what should I do?
If you returned home with your Department of Homeland Security Form I-94 (white) or Form I-94W (green) Departure Record in your passport, it means that your departure was not recorded properly. It is your responsibility to correct this record. You must provide United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sufficient information so we can record your timely departure from the United States. This will close out your earlier record of arrival in the United States.
If you failed to turn in your I-94 Departure Record, please send it, along with any documentation that proves you left the United States to:
ACS - CBP SBU
1084 South Laurel Road
London, KY 40744
Do not mail your Form I-94 Departure Record or supporting information to any United States Consulate or Embassy, to any other CBP office in the United States, or to any address other than the one above. Only at this location are we able to make the necessary corrections to CBP records to prevent inconvenience to you in the future.
To validate departure, CBP will consider a variety of information, including but not limited to:
Original boarding passes you used to depart the United States;
Photocopies of entry or departure stamps in your passport indicating entry to another country after you departed the United States (you should copy all passport pages that are not completely blank, and include the biographical page containing your photograph); and
Photocopies of other supporting evidence, such as
Dated pay slips or vouchers from your employer to indicate you worked in another country after you departed the United States.
Dated bank records showing transactions to indicate you were in another country after you left the United States.
School records showing attendance at a school outside the United States to indicate you were in another country after you left the United States.
To assist us in understanding the situation and correct your records quickly, please include an explanation letter in English. Your statement will not be acceptable without supporting evidence such as noted above. You must mail legible copies or original materials where possible. If you send original materials, you should retain a copy. CBP cannot return original materials after processing.
We strongly urge you to keep a copy of what you send to ACS-CBP and carry it with you the next time you come to the United States in case the CBP officer has any questions about your eligibility to enter.
If taking short trips (30 days or less) to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean Islands during the course of your visit to the United States, hold on to your I-94 or I-94W. It should only be turned in when you leave the United States to return home.
Delays beyond the traveler's control, such as cancelled or delayed flights, medical emergencies requiring a doctor's care, etc. are not considered unauthorized overstays, however, you will need to bring proof of the cause of your overstay next time you travel to the United States in order for it to be forgiven. For airline delays, ask the airline for a letter affirming the delay or a copy of your cancelled boarding pass.
If the answer to your question does not appear above, please send us an e-mail with your question at PodgoricaVisas@state.gov