Tips on getting a US visa

Published: June 16, 2013
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The writer is the Consular Section Chief at the US Consulate General in Karachi

The writer is the Consular Section Chief at the US Consulate General in Karachi

Our highest priority is to provide a positive experience and good customer service to our visa applicants. In the visa section, my staff and I process nearly 150 applications every day. We are fortunate because this provides us with a wonderful opportunity to speak with a diverse group of Karachiites and other Pakistanis from Sindh and Balochistan: tourists planning vacations, business people seeking commercial opportunities, students pursuing an American education, workers starting jobs and family members of US residents visiting loved ones.

Here, in Karachi, we process applications for almost every type of nonimmigrant visa. Nonimmigrant visas are for temporary travel to the US. (Immigrant visas are handled only at the US Embassy in Islamabad.) In 2012, we processed more than 30,000 visas, and we foresee a similar number this year. In an effort to provide the same simple and standard process for everyone, the visa application form is now exclusively available online, and there is no charge for filling it out.  Applicants can typically book an interview appointment within a day or two of submitting the online form, and pay the visa application fee at the time of booking.

We strive to provide each applicant, no matter what his or her individual circumstances or reasons for travel, with a polite, professional and respectful experience. After a brief interview, the visa officer makes a decision about the applicant’s eligibility and explains it to the applicant. Unfortunately, not all applicants are eligible for visas, a fact driven by immigration law, not the officer’s personal opinion. In the overwhelming majority of cases, such applicants are welcome to reapply for a visa whenever they wish, if they feel there is additional information that should be considered, or there are significant changes in their circumstances. If applicants, who have been refused, choose to reapply, they are guaranteed a fresh and impartial appraisal of their application.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misunderstanding about the visa application process. I would like to share some facts about our process to help dispel some of the myths.

First, there are no quotas, daily or otherwise, for the number of visas that we issue. We evaluate each case on its own merits: if every applicant, on a given day, qualifies, then we can issue every single visa.

Second, visa issuances are blind to the applicant’s religion, sect, ethnicity, gender or political affiliation. We respect all people and this fact is even written into our laws, which prohibit discrimination of any kind. A visa will only be refused if the visa officer finds that the applicant is not eligible to receive a visa under US law. The most common reason why a visa is refused is because the applicant was unable to demonstrate that he has strong ties to Pakistan which would compel him to leave the US at the end of a temporary stay.

Third, applicant’s language has no effect on his or her eligibility for a visa. Currently, our visa officers speak Urdu, Farsi, Arabic, Italian, French, Russian, Hungarian and English and with the help of our Pakistani colleagues, can also conduct interviews in Sindhi, Punjabi, Balochi, Pashto, Gujrati and Seraiki. The applicant’s language has no effect on his or her eligibility for a visa (although we have yet to conduct an interview in Hungarian).

I mentioned earlier that customer service is our top priority and we work hard every day to ensure a pleasant experience for our guests, the applicants. We understand that a visa interview may be a new or intimidating experience for the applicant, and the applicant may be nervous. We are here to help you. We encourage everyone to work with us to make this a pleasant experience. You can help us by having any documents well organised, in case you are asked to show them. Listen to the questions carefully and answer them simply and directly. Whether or not the visa officer is able to issue your visa, know that you will always be treated with courtesy and respect.

Some visa applications require administrative processing, which in general means, an additional wait time of anywhere between a few days and a few months. In some cases, however, administrative processing can take significantly longer. We understand that waiting for a visa can be frustrating, especially for travellers who have a definite itinerary: a meeting with a business colleague, a niece’s weddings, or the start of a college semester. I assure such applicants that we have not forgotten them and are diligently working on their cases. Our job is to facilitate legitimate travel to the US and every single delay in visa issuance affects us as well. That is why we encourage all travellers with upcoming trips to apply for visas as early as possible.

Finally, I want to let readers in on the big secret about visa interviews: There is no secret! Visa applicants should just be themselves, answer all questions truthfully and enjoy talking to an American. I know from personal experience that the American on the other side of the interview window enjoys speaking with every applicant and relishes the opportunity to learn more about Pakistan and its wonderful people.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (102)

  • Nadir
    Jun 16, 2013 - 10:23PM

    I know that the State Departments is facing cuts, but an advert masquerading as an opinion piece is a bit desperate no?

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  • Tch tch
    Jun 16, 2013 - 10:48PM

    When do u plan to give out Visas from Peshawar consulate.
    Last one was issued in the 70’s, or is it now (as Vali Nasr mention in his book) just for spying/keeping an eye on the natives

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  • Javed Afridi
    Jun 16, 2013 - 11:01PM

    “Second, visa issuances are blind to the applicant’s religion, sect, ethnicity, gender or political affiliation”,
    Nope, they are not, at least to the extent of gender. In most of the cases (as of Islamabad Embassy), when a couple applies, the female partner is issued visa there and then, while her husband has to wait for months (may be an year) to get the administrative process done. It’s weird in the sense that in our society, it’s generally the men, who are more likely to fulfill the criterion for visa as far as finances and attachment to one’s country is concerned.
    Perhaps, they know that there was no harm in issuing a visa to Pakistani female as she won’t be traveling without her husband anyway :P

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  • Ali
    Jun 16, 2013 - 11:11PM

    Peggy, that all sounds great on paper reality is totally different, American visa system is absurd and geting a visa totally depends on the type of the day the counselor is having, nothing to do with the applicant, You guys are redicioules in your approval. I have seen people going for weddings put in AP for no reason. I have seen students miss their semesters just because the counselor was not happy and how do you actually prove someone is going to stay or come back? Unless you are mind reading. So please stop suger coating.

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  • Insaan
    Jun 16, 2013 - 11:23PM

    How can minorities who are being terrorized by Majority Sunnis, apply for Asylum visa to get into USA?

    Do you scan for potential Jihadis by asking them not so obvious psychological type questions?

    How difficult is for people to bring a spouse from Pakistan when they obtained their citizenship by marrying an American citizen?

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  • Parvez
    Jun 16, 2013 - 11:28PM

    I thought the clarification was good and possibly needed.
    In the old days I used to drop the passports along with a simple form while going to work and a day or two later pick it up all stamped and ready…….but those were good old days.
    At least the one good thing that has happened is that now the visa is issued here in Karachi instead of Islamabad …………… that was a pain.

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  • Khan Gul
    Jun 16, 2013 - 11:30PM

    Dear US embassy or consulate, Please don’t joke with us. It’s been 11 months since I am under your so called administrative processing. I applied 7 months before my intending date of travel and thanks to you guys I missed an important meeting related to my career. And since I can only talk to your helpline upon “payment”, I have lost around 4000 rupees on subsequent phone calls to you guys. I am not fooled by your good-will articles. And I doubt that you guys are blind to ethnicity. For the same meeting, my colleague from Punjab was granted the visa within 3 months whereas me from K. Pakhtunkhwa is commenting and lamenting at your service here. If you find time to read the comments here, please answer one more question. I need to travel in November 2013 whereas I am still under administrative processing from my last application. Do I need to send you my new “reasons” for travel or should I apply again and wait for another 11 months?

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  • Ammarxist
    Jun 16, 2013 - 11:34PM

    Blockquote applicants should just be themselves, answer all questions truthfully and enjoy talking to an American

    LOL. That sounds so funny. What’s so enjoyable in talking to an American? Stop having this ‘us’ vs ‘you’ mindset which reflects the white man’s burden. We’re all citizens of this world and there’s nothing special about being an American or being a Pakistani for that matter.

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Jun 16, 2013 - 11:35PM

    Dear Peggy Petrovich:
    Not true. My wife traveled to the US for the last 30 years on B1/B2, with her length of stay never exceeding her visa duration. On most occasions she was there for a week. We have over $25million worth of property in Pakistan. Five years ago at the time of renewal of her visa the Embassy in Islamabad denied her a visa giving no reason. The Interviewing Lady simply shut her window in an obnoxious manner and walked away in less than 30 seconds. She reapplied a year later and the same treatment. Both times she had to catch a flight to Islamabad and then stay overnight in a hotel and pay your non-refundable fees. Well. She has said Goodbye to you. She now goes to London to do her shopping and is fond of spending her money on people who are not offensive. Visa officers are not “blind” as you say. They are rude and obnoxious and don’t represent the Americans with whom we have interacted. Our American friends visited and stayed with us as well. Most of them are millionaires in America. Sad but true.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Jun 16, 2013 - 11:44PM

    Is this a news or opinion?????

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  • Afridi
    Jun 17, 2013 - 12:08AM

    Use to tell this a lot to other who want to apply for visa based on my personal experience “The most common reason why a visa is refused is because the applicant was unable to demonstrate that he has strong ties to Pakistan which would compel him to leave the US at the end of a temporary stay” … Good to hear it from Visa consular and exactly in same words.

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  • Rao Amjad Ali
    Jun 17, 2013 - 12:14AM

    Great to see you in print, Peggy! The US Department of State and its affiliated agencies have not reached out to Pakistanis, not with sufficient frequency and openness, to educate about the good work that they have done and continue to do in a number of different areas including education, health, agriculture and industry. One unintended side effect of the information deficit has been that most people in this country now believe that US assistance to Pakistan goes nowhere else except defense, which, of course, is not true.

    If the real battle is about winning the hearts and minds of Pakistanis then despite the daunting challenges presented by the hostile security environment the US must find ways of engaging with the ordinary men, women and children rather than remain guarded and aloof which gives rise to mutual mistrust and over time to hysteria. There is much that can be done in this realm to reverse this trend!

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  • True citizen
    Jun 17, 2013 - 12:22AM

    Yes, i got have two US Visas on my Pakistni passport and it is definitely easy to get a US Visa, provided you have a transparent record and an honest attitude. The first visa of mine was processed in 9 days and the second was issued to me in 45 minutes! Yes, its that convenient! I travel quite a lot and visit many embasies, and find the US embassy personnels the most friendly ones as they are really accommodating and cooperative. Thumbs up for the US Embassy!

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  • PakArmySoldier
    Jun 17, 2013 - 12:57AM

    You shouldn’t be blind to political affiliation, especially if it pertains to a party like MQM.

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  • PakArmySoldier
    Jun 17, 2013 - 1:01AM

    @Billoo Bhaya:
    You sound like an entitled whiner. I wouldn’t be comfortable issuing you a visa unless you correct your pompous behavior.

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  • Karachi
    Jun 17, 2013 - 1:26AM

    Thank you Miss. Peggy for writing such a detailed and informative article on Visas.

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  • Arain
    Jun 17, 2013 - 2:17AM

    Wow. Really? Guys, really? This article is totally unworthy and, excuse my bluntness, full of lies…

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  • Makes me LOL
    Jun 17, 2013 - 2:33AM

    Me, my wife, sisters and parents never had any trouble at US embassies.
    But I know of friends in similar positions being declined visas for no reason.
    Just stating the facts

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  • Saleem H Ali
    Jun 17, 2013 - 3:30AM

    Dear Peggy

    Bold of you to write this – thanks for trying but as a US citizen I am ashamed of our visa process – not just for Pakistanis.

    The AP review is ridiculously long and an epic could be written on tales of woe from across the planet – one reason why I have moved to Australia – where my relatives can visit with greater ease and maximum visa processing time is 1 month.

    Hope you can make a difference with your noble intentions and change the process for the better.

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  • Karachi
    Jun 17, 2013 - 3:49AM

    Btw..what Indians are doing on this page. It has been written just for Pakistanis, so no comments from Indians Please.

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  • Fawad
    Jun 17, 2013 - 4:06AM

    Peggy, I appreciate the effort to try to explain the consulate’s visa policies to the public. However, I find the upbeat tone of the article at odds with the reality for legitimate visa seekers or even those who have traveled to the US several times. You gloss over the administrative processing but it is the single most onerous part of the process. It is a black box for applicants who are helpless in understanding what takes the US government 9 months to establish whether they are eligible to travel to the US. It is humiliating to legitimate travelers and its opacity creates immense anxiety for those who have no idea what is happening to their applications.

    I can only illustrate with a personal example. I am a US citizen and my parents have visited me for a few weeks numerous times. They have received 5-year multiple visas several times but my father, a retried professor, who has traveled to the US at least 5 times for a month or less and has lived and taught in China and Japan for years, has had to wait 9 months twice for administrative processing. If the first time he is granted a 5-year visa, at a very minimum the next 5-year visa should not take the same process and the same length of time.

    By contrast, UK’s visa process is seen by virtually everyone I have spoken to in Pakistan as more streamlined and less capricious. There should be no reason why the US visa process (following all laws and guidelines) cannot be made more transparent and more timely. State Department is a large bureaucracy but the quality of this process is an important component of US public diplomacy.

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  • Roshan
    Jun 17, 2013 - 4:29AM

    We Balochs have no complain – we know its impossible for us to get US visa since our political representatives are discriminted. As rightly pointed about by senior Baloch journalist That ”
    Sana’s case clearly indicates that Washington is still unwilling to make friendship with the Baloch leadership at the cost of annoying Islamabad. On the other hand, the armed groups have not hinted at starting some kind of reconciliatory relationship with the Americans”

    link text

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  • SFL
    Jun 17, 2013 - 4:34AM

    The islamabad embassy is so absurd. My mother got her visit visa approved but my father’s case is stuck in admin processing for more than a year now, even though they applied together. And since my mom can’t travel alone, she has been waiting for my dad’s visa so they can visit me. But that day has not come yet because VO felt than my dad (who is 75 years old, still works as a civil engineer, and one of the most down to earth persons I know) may be a security risk. Shameful.

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  • sensible
    Jun 17, 2013 - 5:06AM

    from my own experience, I can tell you that Ms. Peggy is absolutely right, there are lots of myths about US visa process.

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  • Daud
    Jun 17, 2013 - 5:29AM

    Peggy,
    Unfortunately, your staff’s not walking your talk and I am not surprised because US consulates around the world are pretty much the same in terms of visa processing for third world residents. Though I live in Australia, the consulate in Sydney delayed my visa, hence I missed a few golden opportunities at a conference in the US. My visa was issued 1 day after the conference date. Good one. I appreciate your time for writing one for the Pakistanis and emphasizing on your customer services but it doesn’t work that way. You should take disciplinary actions against your own customer service representatives to ensure they deliver.
    Ta

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  • Mahboob
    Jun 17, 2013 - 6:32AM

    Do not fool us by calling agencies security clearance Administrative processing.I an old man of 70 years is waiting for completion of administrative process for the last 8 months

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  • Engr.S.T. Hussain
    Jun 17, 2013 - 7:03AM

    Student who are having admission for Graduate Study in MIT and Harvard should be given Visa soonest possible after they submite their Visa Application

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  • Sanam
    Jun 17, 2013 - 7:18AM

    Second, visa issuances are blind to the applicant’s religion, sect, ethnicity, gender or political affiliation. We respect all people and this fact is even written into our laws, which prohibit discrimination of any kind.

    YEAH RIGHT

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  • Imoo
    Jun 17, 2013 - 7:50AM

    I appreciate the US consular for such information. We Pakistanis should understand that visa issuing is a difficult decision. The interviewing officer does not know from ones face whether the applicant is genuinely going to US for studies, sightseeing or bomb blasting. They have their own security apprehensions as we have for our country here. So one should not be unduly offended if you if visa officer is not satisfied about ones real intentions. It is not the US alone but the whole world is sensitive about us, Pakistanis. Let us face the facts. Indians are more comfortable in getting visas for any country. We know the reasons very well.

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  • Polpot
    Jun 17, 2013 - 8:06AM

    @Billoo Bhaya: Bhaiya……..pls stay away from Pakistani Income Tax and also kidnappers, taliban…
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    And can i touch you for a small loan of a few million?

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  • Polpot
    Jun 17, 2013 - 8:14AM

    After due processing I secured a US Visa.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Then I had to travel to Canada, while holding a valid US Visa. Still the Canadians put me to AP and it took even longer than the US Visa ( all they had to do was to push me across the border in case of a problem). Is it too much to expect an EU kind of visa regime?

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  • Polpot
    Jun 17, 2013 - 8:16AM

    “Tips on getting a US visa”
    +++++++++++++++++++++
    Madam, does the consulate publish the following facts:
    Total number of applications, total accepted and the time taken for approvals and total rejected.
    Those numbers might tell a story quite different from the one you describe.

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  • Polpot
    Jun 17, 2013 - 8:17AM

    “the opportunity to learn more about Pakistan and its wonderful people.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    what about the American expereince at the Pakistani consulate in US Cities? and what about the opportunity to learn more about America and its wonderful people.

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  • Imran
    Jun 17, 2013 - 8:22AM

    @Biloo Bhayya
    Unlike Pakistanis, your $25 million dollar properties could not blind Americans. tsk tsk!

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  • Javed
    Jun 17, 2013 - 9:36AM

    The more easy way to get a US visa more particularly and specifically of UK is that you make acute trouble for your own government/country and you will be granted a long stay UK visa without any problem. It is the same as in our beloved country to become a big politician it needs you to stand on road, abuse government loudly, go to jail and you are a certified big leader.

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Jun 17, 2013 - 9:58AM

    @PakArmySoldier:
    Go …. yourself.

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  • englithen moderate
    Jun 17, 2013 - 10:11AM

    Nice and well written It has almost compelled e to apply for visa just for the sake of experience.Even though i know i will be rejected in y first 2 attempts.

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  • Sindhi Pakistani
    Jun 17, 2013 - 10:27AM

    I salute American govt who has continued to maintain good relationships with my countrymen. Even I am sick of their bias against the west.

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  • truthbetold
    Jun 17, 2013 - 10:29AM

    The US state department has special procedures screen male Muslim applicant especially in countries such as Pakistan where terrorism has take deep roots. That is why it is harder and take longer for male Muslims, especially from Pakistan, to get visas. One can’t blame the US for being careful considering the fact that many Pakistanis in the US have been caught for aiding terrorists or planning terror attacks.

    The consul can’t really say this truth for political correctness.

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  • anwar
    Jun 17, 2013 - 10:32AM

    YES!! You have to “TIP” everywhere these days..US embassy, consulate is no exception. But the situation will only change when US citizens face similar treatment at the hands of OUR embassy. No Refunds of fees and six applications for one visa is the answer

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  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Jun 17, 2013 - 10:42AM

    1-You don’t have any links with Taliban or any group(s) against US and US’ interests and policies either against the muslims,muslim countries most especially importantly even against Pakistan and Pakistan’s sovereignty,
    2-You have to be loyal,sincere and honest with US and
    3-You have good enough resources of income and money to stay in US without working…..

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  • Polpot
    Jun 17, 2013 - 11:33AM

    Ms Peggy makes a Visa Interview sound almost like a date with an American!.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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  • np
    Jun 17, 2013 - 11:54AM

    @anwar: “But the situation will only change when US citizens face similar treatment at the hands of OUR embassy. “

    The only US citizens who want to come to Pakistan are Pakistani descentdants wanting to visit their families back home. That and employees of NGOs without whose presence the dollars associated with their project will not come either
    Oh and I forgot – journalists like Declan Walsh and you know how he was treated by PAkistan – do not believe any Pakistanis with legitimate work visas i US have been thrown out without a reason by US.

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  • zeeshan sheikh
    Jun 17, 2013 - 12:13PM

    Thanks Master! I am pretty sure that if follow these steps you will give me the ‘PRECIOUS’

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  • SK
    Jun 17, 2013 - 12:32PM

    Peggy, I have lived in US for 10 years and I still have lots of American friends, I can surely say that embassy/consulate staff are no ordinary Americans in their attitude- every time I have been to embassy/consulate even for my green card renewal etc, I have felt that that warmth is simply missing from the staff members which is typical hallmark of an ordinary Americans when you interact with them- that is something you and your team need to work on- granting of visa or rejecting it is a secondary matter- ordinarily when applicants interact, their feeling is that they are being treated very rudely, that’s not very respectful or a good marketing strategy on part of your staff and all the comments (to your piece) are obvious reflections to this attitude

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  • Arain
    Jun 17, 2013 - 1:19PM

    @zeeshan sheikh :
    Lol at the reference.. Now why didnt I think of that?;)

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  • joy
    Jun 17, 2013 - 1:22PM

    Elementary dear Watson……first you need is a laminated passport:)

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  • Irfan
    Jun 17, 2013 - 1:29PM

    I am in USA, and to be honest, 90% of your tips don’t work in Pakistan.

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  • Usman Chaudhry
    Jun 17, 2013 - 1:46PM

    @PakArmySoldier – This is a simple reaction to what he has experienced. There is nothing wrong in his behavior.

    After 9/11 US has considerably denied a lot of non permanent applications due to security concerns. My mother too was refused a visit visa. The simple reply was “you do not have travel history as well as unable to prove strong link in US and in Pakistan for your return”. Mind you she had four children back home and this was 2005.

    On the contrary we a as stupid as can be, US has taken strict measure to ensure that those who are granted visas are specially detained for number of hours on airports and custom clearance counters. We on the other hand have issued diplomatic visas to number of their secret agents without any clearance. What an irony.

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  • Morbid Isolation
    Jun 17, 2013 - 2:42PM

    You all do know that all your statements are mere statistics of whether the US is ‘winning the hearts and minds of the Pakistani people’. No, they don’t care about your personal data, they just want to see how much of their USAID scheme has worked to satiate the Pakistanis. This doesn’t mean that your acrimony in these statements will make the US refrain from drone strikes and covert ops along with other intelligence agencies, not at all. They will merely up their ‘soft rhetoric’ through more money, aid, scholarships and definitely cultural activities. For instance, movies!

    I assure you, that in the coming years we will see a few films that have a subtly pro-US sentiment in order to ‘soften’ the masses. An immediate example is this new USAID ad, where a boy and his parents talk about how the US will help ‘bring light’ to Pakistan (because of our third-world energy crises). It has begun, this article is yet another attempt and these will just keep on coming. Keep a close eye on a ‘Pakistani’ film where a renowned actor plays a CIA double agent. Good guys or bad guys, a Pakistani CIA agent is symbolic enough of the ‘soft rhetoric’ that links a staple Pakistani hero to one of the most nefarious intelligence agencies in human history. It softens the image when the enemy has a face like your own.

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  • Asim
    Jun 17, 2013 - 2:42PM

    I want visa for Umreeka

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  • AkhtarIIUI
    Jun 17, 2013 - 2:55PM

    100% agreed with the author’s statement, its like that.

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  • M.Irshad Jan
    Jun 17, 2013 - 3:31PM

    Peggy says,…” …administrative processing can take…longer.” How long….. I was interviewed on 4th February, 2011…more than 28 months ago….administrative processing still going on…..!!!!!!

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  • Mir
    Jun 17, 2013 - 3:34PM

    My sister in law applied visa from Karachi to visit her nephew in In new york. She is a principle of of a prestigious school in Karachi. she has a property in Karachi. her children are Canadian citizens, she is also holding 10 years Canadian visa.. But her Visa was turned down as as no history of travel to USA. She is 60 Plus..

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  • Uza Syed
    Jun 17, 2013 - 3:38PM

    If “strong ties to Pakistan” is really something that needs to be proved then most of your applicants must be rejected, as most among us here have no, almost no ties to Pakistan, except those few who have vested interest and possibility to plunder this poor country. Only our politicians and feudal lords of the rural and industrial thieves of the urban Pakistan are compelled to return here to loot and plunder further, since they can’t do this anywhere else.

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  • Polpot
    Jun 17, 2013 - 4:05PM

    Peggy Petrovich Pasternak
    +++++++++++++++++++++
    Now you can be abbreviated as PPP :)

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  • Polpot
    Jun 17, 2013 - 4:09PM

    @PakArmySoldier: “You sound like an entitled whiner. I wouldn’t be comfortable issuing you a visa ”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    If you did read the article being a whiner is NOT enough ground for Visa Rejections. Besides Bhaiya has shown willingness to grant me a small loan.

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  • Baffled
    Jun 17, 2013 - 4:27PM

    @Billo Bhaya

    We have over $25million worth of property in Pakistan. She has said Goodbye to you. She now goes to London to do her shopping and is fond of spending her money on people who are not offensive

    If I were the US Visa officer I would have rejected your visa application much quicker .
    There are lots of ifs and buts and rather fishy fishes in your arrogant statements .

    Maybe the US visa officer interpreted your wife’s “shopping” into “shipping”? lolzzzzz

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  • unbelievable
    Jun 17, 2013 - 6:30PM

    Unfortunately, not all applicants are eligible for visas, a fact driven by immigration law, not the officer’s personal opinion.
    .
    Article might have been improved in author discussed some of those “immigration laws” that result in people being turned down. Knowing the top 3 reasons for visa denial would be an interesting disclosure. I would also be interested in knowing what percentage of applications are vetoed by Homeland Security.

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  • FYD
    Jun 17, 2013 - 6:50PM

    Visa or no visa, Peggy is cute!

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  • kite flying boy
    Jun 17, 2013 - 7:46PM

    Truth is we have to change ourselves, our educational standards and ethical classes. If i am an american for one day, and you put me in interviewers seat, i might end up issuing way too less number of visas than normal american interviewer would’ve, get the point smartypants :) simple!

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  • kite flying boy
    Jun 17, 2013 - 7:50PM

    peggy, try doing the same piece in urdu, and you are already local celebrity! people might make facebook fan page for you, and start worshipping you like i dunno what? oh dear!

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  • FS
    Jun 17, 2013 - 7:57PM

    Not much trouble that i know off. They are pretty friendly, once we take off the Pakistani Cape of Suspicion that we wrap us with.

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  • Ahmed
    Jun 17, 2013 - 8:09PM

    I was applying my k1 visa since 2009 n I’m not getting visa what is this my all family live in USA since 12 years they r citizen
    I don’t no what happening going on please tell me what I do I wana go to enjoi with with my family Chicago can I applying visit visa
    Thnx
    Regards

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  • aymen
    Jun 17, 2013 - 8:28PM

    I was very disappointed when my visa application got rejected this year.. all I wanted to do was shop till i drop in The USA. But i still have my hopes high I am going to reapply for next year..

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  • syed aslam saghir
    Jun 17, 2013 - 8:40PM

    Dear miss peggy,goodday. Me n my wife both r 63+ aged. We have a daughter married n living in states since 1997,the family have us citizenship. We intend to visit them. I m financially sound,having own property of high value.substantional bank account approx ovet 10million. No liabilities as one of my son is holding british passport n is a doctor there. Anothet son is a cheif engineer in PIL shipping n settled in islamabad. Another daughter is married n a canadian citizen. Please advice if i can apply forUS to visit my daughtet for two months. It wud b great if u have laws providing your telephone no if someone needs to talk to u,if so pl provde. Thanking u in anticipation. Syed aslam saghir

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  • Syeda
    Jun 17, 2013 - 8:42PM

    Such a long speech i have already experience thrice and they never give me visa just because of i have a strong family in usa and i am here livin with my in laws ….. I totally disagree with there tips

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  • Typical Desi
    Jun 17, 2013 - 9:01PM

    Visa applicants should just be themselves, answer all questions truthfully and enjoy talking to an American!
    Do you really think the American are superior and one really enjoys talking him ?

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  • nauman
    Jun 17, 2013 - 9:14PM

    Peggy my ex wife …who is a Caucasian ..from Alabama ..I have a 10 year old kid from her…I have not see him since 10 years ….as I had to voluntarily leave U.S … how can I meet him and be with him….
    Can u suggest anything?

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  • A Abid S
    Jun 17, 2013 - 9:26PM

    @nauman:
    They dont care…if u dont care…voluntarily left….tell them to come see u….simple…

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jun 17, 2013 - 9:46PM

    “Administrative Proceedure” for processing US Visa. These are very simple words to say or to read – but behind Administrative Proccedure there are lot of backgrounds checks which are made by the US Government.

    Following are the background checks made for US Visa Application, irrespective of visa category:

    Political background check.
    Religious believe and roots with religious parties.
    Anti-Narcotics Branch (DEA)
    Roots with Al-Qaeda or with other militant groups.
    Clearance from FBI
    Clearance from CIA
    Involvement in any sort of crime if the visitor has previously travelled to US.
    Involvement in any sort of crime in Pakistan.
    And there are many more checks, but all of them cannot be mentioned.

    The American interviewer sitting across the bullet proof glass window though treat the Pakistani Visa Applicant with smile, but he or she has one thing in mind that all the Green Pakistani Passport holders are terrorists and a terrorist is standind across the windiw and he or she may want to visit to US to damage the country for one reason or the other.

    The rate of issuing visas are very less, comparing to the rate of refusal of visas.

    Through 0900 telephone number calls, US government is making lot of money to cover their expenses in Pakistan, in addition to the visa fee which US Embassy or Consulate takes from Pakistani Nationals.

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  • A. Khan
    Jun 17, 2013 - 10:01PM

    My experience with US embassy for getting a visitor visa was anything but positive. Forget the long wait time and queueing up, the entire process took about 3 minutes. I had a good job here, family (wife and kid) plus parents. I was planning to visit my brother in US but the consular officer asked me how much I earned. I was getting a decent salary and on hearing that, she grimaced and said that she could not give a visa. Before I could say anything, she had stamped the back of my passport with “Application Received” which is actually a euphemism for “Visa Rejected”, handed back my passport and closed the window. I was too shell shocked at the abrupt and rude treatment to question why.

    And nice one about enjoy speaking with an American. As if that’s the only thing that we need to do.Recommend

  • david
    Jun 17, 2013 - 10:32PM

    I think getting USA visa is one of the diffiuclt jobs on earth.I am a medical graduate ,i did step 1 and step 2 CK .I belong to a middle class family but my family had a dream that i do my specialization from USA ,so they put everything on my career,I did everything for it.During my medical college life ,i spent my whole time studying for these exams .I completed my graduation and did a 1 year house job from a very reputed institute of Pakistan thinking that it would help me in achieving my goal.I continued my studies and passed both exams with good scores .I am now left with only 1 exam which is taken only in USA .i paid the fee(1.5 lakh) and applied for visa for the same reason .I was very optimist about getting visa at least for a month so that i would take the exam .I was very disappionted when my visa was rejected,i asked for the reason ,and the VO handed over a paper .i did everything to bring positive changes in my application and then reapplied for the same reason but again it was rejected stating that i dont have strong ties with the country.I dont know what sort of ties they want from me ,i have spent almost 4 lakhs on these exams but without taking this leftover exam everything i have done is equivalent to nothing.I dont know y dont these people realize that their single decisions can change whole careers of people and lives. Why cant they issue visas even for a week so that the students can take the exam and shape their future plannings accordingly ? i am not asking them to issue visa for years or months ,i m talking about a week or weeks.Recommend

  • Jun 17, 2013 - 11:09PM

    Errr! Thanks but no thanks.Don’t want to be treated like crap on arrival.Let my five year multiple expire without bothering to bother!

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  • Imran
    Jun 17, 2013 - 11:49PM

    @david:
    Being an MD in the US from Pakistan I totally understand you. Its unfortunate that our bright doctors visas are rejected and we see very ordinary doctors from other countries making to US system. Unfortunately its because you are from Pakistan. and If I may say Its discrimination. also the US officer issuing visa ( has likely a bachelor degree from mediocre college ) rejecting an MD needs a lot of explaining to do.

    I hope people in better positions such as Peggy takes notice of it. Recommend

  • Tom Alter
    Jun 18, 2013 - 2:54AM

    @anwar:
    Yeah, dream on my friend. How many Americans really do want to visit Pakistan! The way you see Pakistan, you might believe that it is a God’s paradise and every human on this planet wants to rush to it and your consulates abroad have long lines of tourists knocking at the door to be allowed admittance. By the way, it’s not just the USA that has rigid vetting of Pakistani applicants — have you tried Germany and some countries of Western and Eastern Europe? The word Pakistani evokes an instant feeling of hostility. Sorry to say, with due respects to all Pakistanis, but your history and your violent culture have made you pariahs not only in the West but also in your direct neighbourhood where cricketers, actors, artists and other well-meaning Pakistanis are not welcomed. Once you stop your violent culture, your hatred, your intolerance and your propensity for senseless violence (in the name of religion or, for that matter, for any other cause), you will become more acceptable to the world. And please don’t continue with your constant whining that the world (USA, in particular) has not done enough for you and has, instead, is a source of your problem. You also keep saying the same about India. But you live in a state of denial by ignoring what you have become and what you are doing to yourselves and others.

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  • javed
    Jun 18, 2013 - 3:48AM

    Please for god’s sake. We don’t need anymore pakistanis here in america. They are the worst type of immigrant who refuse to assimilate to the american culture. I say this being a pakistani american myself. These people get on welfare here and ruin our country. They vote for obama to get free cheap healthcare and are part of the problem ruining this country. Please severely limit immigration from pakistan to females and minorities only who are suffering under the oppression of the punjabi sunni extremist government. This is my idea as a true patriotic AMERICAN!

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  • wasim
    Jun 18, 2013 - 6:27AM

    Is this a blog or advertisement ?. I agree there are several misunderstandings about US visa issuing process. Having said that author is out-of-touch with reality. Although the process may be the same as far as forms are concerned, a Pakistani passport holding person goes through a higher level of scrutiny than other countries passports…

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  • Qalander
    Jun 18, 2013 - 7:34AM

    @david:
    I agree with you 100%. Since 2001, US embassy in Islamabad and Karachi have been very strict with student visas and visas to Pakistani doctors. The visas of many doctors have been deliberately denied or delayed. My own visa was rejected back in 2001-2003 for the same reason that they gave you. Another time, they asked me if I wanted to become good doctor why would not I try it at home or in UK? Another time, a silly visa officer asked me where pancreas was in the body and how to treat tonsil tummies of the babies. After that, I wrote a direct letter to the then American Ambassador in Pakistan and relayed to her my situation. I suggested to her to personally view the videos of my interview and decide what kind of things were being done under her nose. Fortunately, fourth time I applied, I was not asked a single question and was handed 1 year multiple visa. Not to mention, I had to reschedule my CSA examination three times and had to miss 2 residency matches. I am sure as Ms. Peggy has indicated, things have changed now and are more streamlined than they were back in 2001-2003.
    My sincere suggestion to you is not to loose your heat and keep trying. While you are doing this, also do following.

    1- Immediately take FACPS part 1 in your field of liking
    2- Take IELTS exam and start preparing for PLAB1 and MRCP/MRCS 1
    3- Apply for Canadian immigration and Australian immigration visa

    Coming to US for residency and sub specialization is great but its not end of the world. Its far better to do residency in UK or in Australia in a university teaching hospital than in a community hospital of New York or PA ( where 60% of the FMG’s do their residency).

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  • Polpot
    Jun 18, 2013 - 8:27AM

    UK in India offers same day UK Visa
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    to ‘deserving’candidates and makes good money on that. Never too late to emulate Ms Peggy.

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  • Polpot
    Jun 18, 2013 - 8:33AM

    Ms Peggy
    +++++++++
    Apologies for the deluge of mails…after all its monsoon time…..
    Is it true that the Visa Officer is personally responsible for the conduct of the people who s/he grants a visa. And the fear of making a mistake ensures that visa hopefuls are not given the benefit of doubt.

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  • Polpot
    Jun 18, 2013 - 8:57AM

    @javed: “Please for god’s sake. We don’t need anymore pakistanis here in america. ”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Ditto for Pakistan.

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  • Jun 18, 2013 - 10:10AM

    Dear Ms. Peggy Petrovich,

    I am Mr. Elisha Javed from Karachi Pakistan… I realize that what you said is true that every Visa officer has it decision according to the law of American Government and I also believe the person who take interviews for visa are pure american not any Pakistani local.
    But I would like to mention that last year in 2012 my mother Mrs. Shagufta Javed applied for a
    non-immigrant visa, she was about to visit US for a Graduation ceremony of my uncle (my mother’s sister husband) she was rejected by the visa officer, the person who took her interview was a American I am not sure about it may be a NRI because he just ask my mother the purpose of visiting and then he said ” sorry aunty hum ap ko visa nahi dey saktha plz next time apply ki jiaye ga” ( sorry aunty we can not give you visa please apply next time) without questioning her and seeing her documents how can the officer decide that she is eligible or not eligible for the visa secondly you mention that the officers ask brief questions from the applicant but in her case the officer just ask a single question and decided the decision although she visited US before also and got a multiple visa and every time when she visited US she stayed there according to her stay which is issued by US government at airport of NY.
    My question is this that she was not did any illegal stay in US during her multiple visa so how could the visa officer can just ask a one question and decide that weather she is eligible or not……..
    I would wait for your reply.

    Regards
    Elisha

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  • Jun 18, 2013 - 10:15AM

    Good morning Sir .

    I belong from a very poor christian family living in Karachi my question is this how i can apply for visa/migration ?

    Stay Blessed
    Munir Augustine

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  • Jun 18, 2013 - 10:23AM

    DEAR visa counsular thank u for sharing knowledge do u have any visa on humanitarian grounds for my son he has retinal detatchment in both eyes and can barely see this world with only one active eye zunair qureshi is my son name he has complted fourth semmester of BBA FROM KHADIM ALI SHAH BUKHARI INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY KARACHI AND UNFORTUNATELY DID NOT FINISH HIS STUDIES DUE TO HIS EYE SIGHT PLZ PROVIDE SOME SINCERE ADVISE SAJID QURESHI ENGINEER AT PAKISTAN AIRLINES KARACHI

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  • Blunt
    Jun 18, 2013 - 11:22AM

    @javed:
    Before you start closing doors for other Pakistanis, it would be great to provide level playing field for all by you coming back to Pakistan. After all, these are people like you, who get a chance to be there and hinder the chances for others by misconducting there, unlike people like me who never been there.

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  • Rumormonger
    Jun 18, 2013 - 2:01PM

    It is good to see the US reaching out to us Pakistani commoners. It is reflected in thier USAID adverts also. I clearly remeber the time when in the 90s the USAID packed off, having no one to reach out or provide help to, once Soviet Russia had fallen.

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  • fuad
    Jun 18, 2013 - 4:10PM

    @Afridi:

    i refused two times for visa, already have business and family in karachi.
    have business , factory , offices and properties.

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  • danish
    Jun 18, 2013 - 4:23PM

    HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA , Now dont ask me why i am smiling . Of course because this article is totally contrary to what i faced in my interviews . I have been refused 2 times in 2 weeks for student visa . Dont worry i am a genuine student and got three I 20 with scholarship and have sufficient funds to cover that . The bias policy of them forced my rejection which is if any relative of yours lives over there you cant go there no matter if you are eligible or not . HUH . If UK wouldnt have been expensive i would have moved over there . There education VISA is easy comparatively

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  • mustafa
    Jun 18, 2013 - 5:14PM

    Nice blog, it has successfully met the objective, which is somehow to clear the doubts over visa issuance usually held by Pakistanis.

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  • abdul ghani
    Jun 18, 2013 - 7:24PM

    us visa process one cannot understand .if they want issue they do so fast. but my expereince so much distrubing applied for fifth renewal in 2011(first visa issued 1985) still waiting to know abt result, third year started……what to do even consulate staff at karachi dont know.
    my point is; must specify wait time e.g one year/two years/three years.
    Previoues visa holders/people in late age 55 plus/or you can ask for gaurentee must return in required time like deposit of money/bank gaurentee etc

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  • Jun 18, 2013 - 9:49PM

    plz give me your contact no karachi my number 03332345548 ok’

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  • Malik
    Jun 20, 2013 - 9:02PM

    I applied twice in UAE & Saudi Arabia and got visas from both places, no discrimination at all.

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  • Sanober
    Jun 22, 2013 - 5:46PM

    I myself have been to visa interviews in Pakistan at least twice and do believe most of whats written is true. Although I do agree that the process if mostly fair my 67 year old dad has been waiting on so called Administrative clearance for more than a year now and which I hear is a common incidence. This is my parents second time getting visit visa and they travel all over the world. You are right on spot that this is a very very frustrating situation when a 67 year old has to wait that long for a visa. Website mentions 90 days and to contact embassy after that but after multiple emails the nutshell response is that embassy cant do anything.

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  • Jun 24, 2013 - 1:57AM

    well as for as the interview of US visa is concerned found very essay and friendly, because when i was appeared in i liked the system of us consulate Karachi. the interviewer was very polite and cooperated especially with person with disabilities. it was my first tour of international and thanks to Allah i got it and done my visit to Eugene Oregon USA. i found the American people very nice and loving and i liked us very much just because of the people and full accessible country, good system of education in different universities and public schools. over all i enjoyed us allot.thanks

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  • Faisal
    Jun 25, 2013 - 11:47AM

    Any one knows about Administrative Processing for B2 Visa…. How long it will take to complete AP…..Is anybody here who got the Visit visa after AP…..Please Reply

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  • jaycees
    Jun 25, 2013 - 6:47PM

    @javed:
    plz help native sindhi people ,entire sindhi nation sandwitched under INDIAN AND OTHER IMMIGRANTS….PLZ HELP THESE INDIAN IMMIGRANTS TO MIGRATE USA/CANDA/AUSTRAILIA….COZ THEIR NATIVE PEOPLE ALREADY VANISHED BY IMMIGRANTS now they can absorb more…

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  • jaycees
    Jun 25, 2013 - 6:52PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:

    you are right
    nut we simply ask

    their should be time limit for such things
    may be three years so one can understand
    it may go upto 3 years….if unlimited it will naturaly harass/etc

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  • Asif
    Jul 15, 2013 - 10:13AM

    Sab Jhooot hai, Mere Dad ne apply kia tha, he is 66 year Old, and Sponsored by My Sister’s Husband, who have big bussiness in USA, all documents related to Tax and Business Provided, but didn’t get VISA, even my dad also show his Own Business.

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  • Aug 2, 2013 - 1:48AM

    i am in administrative processing for last one years can you please tell who can help me in this regards.
    embassy reply is same your case is in administrative processing …………………
    can any one help in administrative processing

    regareds

    saleem

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  • Human
    Aug 10, 2013 - 11:45PM

    You can check the refusal rate by US Embassy in all countries here http://www.travel.state.gov/pdf/FY09.pdf

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  • Nauman Saeed
    Aug 15, 2013 - 3:41AM

    I had to go to US for urgent medical treatment as it was not available in Pakistan. I showed them quite a few appointment letters from various states and all my travel plans but unfortunately, the interviewing lady forwarded my application for administrative processing despite reminding her that I needed urgent treatment. I have also been issued a US visa previously and I have made several trips to US but still that lady would not listen to me. Whats your say on this Peggy Petrovich?

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