USA Visum

EducationUSA – Zoom Info Session, 18. Mai 2021

Eric Larson, U.S. Consulate Berlin

Visa application – When and Where

  • Place: Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich
  • 2021: Franfurt issues only immigrant visa, Berlin and Munich issue non-immigrant visa
  • J-1 Visa: Can be scheduled as soon as all documents are available
  • F-1 Visa: Can be issued no more than 120 days before the Start of the Studies (see program start date on the I-20)


DS 2019 / I 20 and SEVIS

  • Name, gender and date of birth must be 100% accurate
    • First name(s) and surname(s), as in the passport
  • Special characters = machine readable characters (e.e. ä =ae)
  • Pay SEVIS fee at



  • DS-160 form
  • DS-160 form has no fee (but the actual visa application has!)
  • Fill out a new one if needed
  • If you change your place of application: new DS-160 advisable, but not required
    • Updae the „Application I.D.“
    • Can take up to two hours!
  • Errors or missing information: Proactively request corretion at the time of your appointment
  • Issues and Challenges:
    • Full Name: First name(s) and surname(s), as in the passport
    • Type out special characters (ä =ae)
    • Entry of data: only up until the date the DS 160 is filled out (not future degrees!)
    • U.S. adress (if unknown): Address of the U.S. university (from DS 2019 /I 20)
    • Parents‘ Names and Dates of Birth: Please include even if a parent has died or if there is no contact
    • „Home country“ = The country you consider as home country


The Photo

  • The most common mistakes:
    • Glasses
    • Older than six months
    • Incorrect background / „selfie“
  • Problems? .jpg is NOT compliant?
  • Bring a compliant photo to the interview
  • On photo paper


Visa Information and Appointments

  • Visa Service Provider „CGI Federal“: Contractor of the U.S. State Department for
    • Visa information
    • Appointment scheduling
    • Fee collection
    • Delivery of passports / visas
  • / de (Information: Telephone, Skype, Email, Chat)
  • Appointments (including Emergency) ONLY through CGI Federal!


Emergency Appointments

  • Can be requested up to 5 time
  • Pay the fee IMMEDIATELY
  • Be precise in your email: e.g. “I am a J-1 student [or professor or …] going for an exchange semester [or course of study or ….] at University xyz [or High School in.. My program starts on [date]. (Use the program start date on the I-20/DS-2019.)
  • The option for an Emergency Appointment appears only after a regular appointment is scheduled
  • Applicants will receive email about approval or rejection. If approved: Confirm or decline as soon as possible!



  • Appointment waiting times can vary
  • Processing time after Interview including delivery: 7 workdays (excluding Saturday, Sunday and German as well as U.S. holidays)
  • Process is not faster if you have already been issued a previous visa
  • Delays are always possible!


Delivery Option (for your passwort and visa)

Choice of delivery when making an appointment:

  • Pickup (no additional cost):
    • Mail Boxes Etc. 0202 Bundesallee Berlin
    • Tri-Punkt Solutions, Dachauer Str., München
    • Mail Boxes Etc., 0191 Rathenaustr., Offenbach
  • Premium Delivery:
    • Additional cost, payable only with credit card (not EC-Card!)
  • With both options: NO delivery/pickup on Saturday or Sunday!
  • NO pickup at U.S. embassy or consulate!

Appointment: Documents

  • Valid passport in good condition
  • Residence permit (if not EU citizen)
  • Appointment confirmation / DS-160 confirmation page
  • SEVIS – proof of payment
  • DS-2019 /I-20 (original)
  • Financial Statement(s)


The Visa Interview

  • Consular officers will review each application individually.
  • Consular officer considers primarily the DS-160 form, other necessars documents, and the applicant’s responses at the interview
  • The interview is typically in English.
  • At the interview, the applicant will learn whether: Qualified vor visa OR additional documents or stps are required


Online status Check

  • Check status at (after the interview)
  • Issued: usually shipped within 1-3 workdays
  • Adminstrative processing: „…can take several weeks. …follow any instructions provided … at the time of your interview. If further information is need, you will be contacted.“


Receipt of Visa

  • Delivery: Confirmation email and SMS with tracking number/information
  • Upon receipt IMMEDIATELY check accuracy!
  • Name and date of birth
  • Visa expiration date
  • In case of an error, contact us as soon as possible!


DS-2019 /I-20: After Interview

  • DS-2019 /I-20 is often returned to the applicant at the time of the interview
  • After receiving the visa, it is best to put the original DS-2019 / I-20 form in the passport
  • Note: Visa does not guarantee entry (Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has final say at port of entry!)


Grace period – Entry and Departure

  • Before program starts: Enter up to (but no sooner than) 30 days before Program start date!
  • After program ends:
    • J1: Depart within 30 days
    • F1: Depart within 60 days
  • Intended for travel or preparation for departure, NOT internships or work, including unpaid work!


COVID Presidential Proclamation (PP 10143 – Schengen Proclamation)

Regional Proclamation affecting Schengen Area and UK (previously PP 9993)

  • Suspension of entry of those who have been in the Schengen area any time during the 14 days before departure
  • PP 10143: Travel to the U.S. from the Schengen Area requires:
    • Like before, a visa (or VWP /ESTA)
    • In addition:
    1. NIE (National Interest Exception) or
    2. nother exception or reason that the travel restriction does not apply to the traveler


NIE - National Interest Exception

  • F-Visa: Do NOT need to apply for an NIE.
  • J-Visa: J-Students NEED the NIE!  
  • NIE is only valid for 30 days!
  • NIE is only a number, no physical document
  • J-1: Will be decided at the visa interview. If you are approved for the J-1 visa, you also get the NIE. No separate request necessary.
  • To request an extension of the original NIE after 30 days, send an email closer to your travel date.
  • If your appoint was more than 30 days prior to your departure: apply for prolongation of the NIE  via Email
  • NIE is only for the first entry into the US. If you re-entry the U.S., you need to apply again!





For up-to-date information ALWAYS check the websites!

U.S. State Department – Embassy / Consulates Visa Processing and Issuing

U.S. Embassy Berlin News

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Entry to U.S. / Border Control

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) After entry to U.S. (Adjustment of Status, Extension of Admission)

CGI Federal - Visa information & appointments

Email addresses:

U.S. Embassy-Berlin ConsBerlinstategov

U.S. Consulate General-Munich ConsMunichstategov

U.S. Consulate General-Frankfurt FrankfurtVisaInquiriesstategov

BridgeUSA – Exchange Visitor Program (= J-1 Program) J-1 visa basics

Adjustements & Extensions, including Grace Period for Travelling

Study in the States (mostly for F-1 students)

Preparing for your visa interview Grace Period (after program ends – slightly different compared to J-1)

To reach out to EducationUSA send an email to Germanyeducationusaorg

Students who have study in the U.S. related questions can   

  1. Join our Pre-Departure Orientation on June 1st at 6 pm on Zoom
  2. book an appointment with an adviser. (But, sorry, we cannot help them with visa appointments)