All visa applicants must be physically present at the Embassy to apply except those in one of the following four categories:
Applicants who are 80 years of age or older,
Applicants who are 13 years of age or younger,
Applicants who qualify for the Visa Reissuance Program, or
Applicants going on official or diplomatic travel.
Who needs a visa?
Anyone who is not eligible to enter the United States visa free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), or is not exempt from the visa requirement, or whose registration has been denied under ESTA.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP, ESTA)
Many travelers seeking to enter the U.S. for business or tourism (B-1/B-2 visa) for less than 90 days will be eligible to travel to the United States visa free under the VWP.
Applying for a visa
With limited exceptions, nonimmigrant visa applicants aged 14 to 79 are required to schedule an appointment for an interview with a U.S. consular officer. The Embassy does not accept walk-in applications. Applicants under the age of 14 or those aged 80 or over are generally not required to appear in person.
- Complete the Form DS-160
- Pay the MRV fee. Every visa applicant must pay an application fee (MRV) per visa in advance to the following postal account 30-39699-5.
Either use a pink payment form (Einzahlungsschein Giro/Versement Virement/Versamento Girata) available at any post office.
OR, as an alternative, the U.S. Embassy Bern will accept payments of the application fee through e-banking on the following conditions:
- The MRV fee must be paid in Swiss Francs
- The applicant must present the original postal receipt or a bank account statement proving that the amount has been debited
- Postal Account 30-39699-5, IBAN CH23 0900 0000 3003 9699 5, BIC POFICHBEXXX, Name: US Embassy
Please note that deposits into this postal account are not refundable for any reason and NO cash will be accepted. The amount of this fee may change without prior notice.
- Schedule an Appointment. Please call our visa information center at 0900-87-8472 (Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 17:30; SFR 2.50/min), to make an appointment (no e-mails or faxes are accepted). Every member of the family/party must have an appointment. This number can only be called within Switzerland. You will need your passport number as well as your DS-160 barcode confirmation number to make an appointment.
Those who are physically outside of Switzerland can also access the Visa Information Service for Switzerland at +49-913-17722096 (Monday to Friday from 08.30-17.30). Each call costs a flat service rate of EURO 15.00 PLUS the international phone rate that your telephone provider normally charges. This service rate must be charged to either a Visa or MasterCard credit card.
Citizens and permanent residents of Liechtenstein (with a B or C permit) do not need to make an appointment. Simply arrive at the embassy Monday through Friday between 9:00 and 11:00 (except on Swiss and American holidays).
Please Read the Following Carefully:
All applicants for nonimmigrant visas must overcome the presumption in U.S. law that they are intending immigrants. To qualify for a nonimmigrant visa, you must demonstrate that you plan to remain in the United States for only a limited time, have sufficient funds for your stay, have a residence outside the USA, as well as other binding obligations, which will cause you to depart at the end of your stay in the United States. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consulate, it is recommended that you apply in the country where you normally reside.
The Embassy strongly encourages intending travelers to apply for visas well in advance of their proposed journey, and to always refrain from making irrevocable travel plans until the visa has been issued and they are in receipt of their passport and visa. Do not purchase plane tickets until you have received your visa. Visa applicants should never assume their application will be automatically approved.
Day of Interview/what to bring:
- Your original passport, containing at least two blank pages, and any expired passports with previous U.S. visas. Since it is a requirement for some countries, we recommend that the passport be valid for at least six months from the date of departure from the United States. see country list.
- If you are not a Swiss citizen, your Swiss residency permit, border crossing card for Switzerland, or Carte de légitimation.
- The original postal receipt for the MRV application fee or a bank account statement proving that the amount has been debited.
- One completed application form DS-160 for each person traveling, including one form per infant and/or child. Please print out the confirmation page and bring it along to the interview.
- One recent photo 5 cm X 5 cm (in color only) for each applicant, including children and infants. Photo Only Photos in the size 5 cm X 5 cm will be accepted.
- Self-addressed stamped envelope (address in Switzerland or Liechtenstein) C5, C4 (postage for express or registered mail). The embassy is not liable for lost passports. If there is insufficient postage the passports will be sent back according to the amount on the envelope (B-post instead of A-post and A-post instead of registered) and if insufficient to mail at all in any class, you will be called to come pick it up.
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