Visa Decision Process
ATTENTION: Pony Express no longer collects visa fees or makes visa appointments. Pony Express provides courier services only.
How the Consul Makes Visa Decisions?
In adjudicating visa applications, the Consul is guided by U.S. laws and regulations. The issuance of non-immigrant visas is governed by the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended. U.S. immigration law places the burden of proof on the visa applicant to show that he or she is qualified for an existing visa category and is not an intending immigrant. In other words, each non-immigrant visa applicant must prove to the Consul's satisfaction that he or she is not planning to travel to the U.S. in order to reside there permanently. Each applicant must demonstrate that he or she has social, familial and/or economic ties to Russia that will compel his or her return after a trip of clear purpose and finite duration. Please note that the Consul cannot take into account the assurances of third parties in Russia or the United States.
The visa process is not document driven and there is no ‘checklist' of required documents. For visitor visas, many applicants choose to include an invitation letter to help establish the purpose and duration of their trip. This does not need to be notarized nor is there any special format. To help establish economic and familial ties to Russia , many people submit letters from their employers (including salary, position and length of time at the company), property deeds and copies of birth and/or marriage certificates. Please note that each person's situation is different and having all of these documents does not guarantee visa issuance, nor does the lack of a document preclude visa issuance. Each applicant is unique; he or she should focus on presenting the supporting evidence that best establishes the purpose and duration of his or her trip and the strength of his or her ties to Russia.
Please do not submit original documents or photographs with your application. The Consulate cannot guarantee their return. Instead, please bring originals with you on the day of your visa interview. Also see Non-Immigrant Visa Types for more specific information on the type of visa you are applying for.
Family members, attorneys or other interested parties are not allowed into the interview area; the applicant alone must establish that they qualify for a U.S. visa.
More information on U.S. visa laws and policy is available here.