McMaster University

McMaster University

USA Visitor Visa

Planning on travelling to the USA to visit family/friends, for a vacation, or for other reasons (such as attending a conference, shopping etc.?

You will need a US Visitor’s Visa.  Some countries are exempt as they are part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

Since you're NOT a Student in the USA, you must apply for a B-1-B2 visa.
In order to apply for the US visitor’s visa you must:

  • Complete a DS-160 application form online.  Please be sure to print out your confirmation page with barcode before exiting this program. 
  • Create your appointment profile; select your Canada Post pickup location; pay your non-refundable visa application fee and schedule your visa interview appointment.  After you have successfully scheduled your visa appointment you will automatically receive an e-mail providing you with your confirmation (appointment) letter.

Before scheduling your appointment you will need the following:

  • DS-160 confirmation number (print the confirmation page)
  • Your passport
  • Credit Card: Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. List of fees by categories.

Do not forget to bring to the interview:

  • Passport or travel document, valid for at least 6 months beyond your stay in the US.
  • A Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application and a DS-160 confirmation sheet (barcode) number for each applicant.

The following documents are not required, but they can be very helpful at the interview:

  • Confirmation of Enrolment letter and your transcripts
    • When you receive the letter check that the "Graduation Date" has been entered on the form
    • Do not write or mark on the Enrolment Letter in any way, only highlight the "Expected Date of Graduation"
    • It is important that the "Graduation Date" is accurate and reasonable for the program in which you are currently registered (do not over estimate your graduation date) 
  • Confirmation that you have paid your tuition. 
  • Bring a recent front view 2"x2" passport photo.
  • Original (no photocopies) proof of current visa/immigration status in Canada.
  • For any scientific or high-technology related travel: a letter explaining what you do outside of the United States, your intentions in the United States, your current resume and list of your publications. Notice that these applications may require up to two extra months processing time. Apply very early.
  • If you were previously in the United States, any documents attesting to your status.
  • Criminal/court records pertaining to any arrest or conviction, even if later pardoned.
  • Translation into English of any non-English document.

If your visa is approved you may be required to pay an additional fee for visa issuance, known as a reciprocity fee.  This fee may be paid in cash or by credit card at the U.S. Consulate.  You may confirm this prior to your interview.

Your passport with the visa will be sent to you by mail within a few days after the interview. Check the status of your application after the interview.

When booking your interview, choose a Canada Post pickup location that serves the Hamilton area. Or you may opt to pay for home delivery.
After submitting an application, if more than a month goes by without receiving your passport back, you can send a message to:

Arrive for your interview on time and fully prepared.

You WILL NOT BE GIVEN THE CHANCE to complete documents, take photos, pay visa fees, purchase pre-paid courier envelopes etc. at the consulate. The Consulate’s entrance is at 225 Simcoe Street (at the rear of the consulate). The nearest subway stop is Osgoode.

Expect to be inside the Consulate for 2 hours or more. An Applicant who goes to the interview unprepared (without the proper documentation) will be turned away and required to reschedule the interview.

All applicants must undergo strict security screening prior to entering the Consulate


Electronic or battery powered equipment, such as cameras, cell phones, food, liquids or dangerous articles of any kind.


Please note the following:

  • USA visas are not issued on the same day as the interview. Your passport will be returned to you within 3 – 5 business days.
  • In the USA there is a presumption in the law "that every visitor visa applicant is an intending immigrant." Therefore, applicants for visitor visas must overcome this presumption by demonstrating that:
    • The purpose of their trip is to enter the U.S. for business, pleasure, or medical treatment.
    • They plan to remain for a specific and limited period of time.
    • They have a residence outside the U.S. as well as other binding ties which will insure their return abroad at the end of the visit.
  • Students can send an e-mail to inquire on the status of their pending applications BUT you should wait for at least 1 month after your interview date before sending any emails. Inquiries can be sent to:

All services - including calling for information and scheduling an appointment - will be provided at no additional cost online or by calling 1 437 887 1448.

The first time you enter the US, border officers will issue an I-94 card which will cost approximately US $6.00.  This document will state the date by which you must leave the United States. Please pay close attention to this date. You should leave the United States before your permission to be in the country expires AND return the I-94 card to either the US or Canadian border officers upon your departure and before its expiration date.

What if you forget to turn in your I-94?

Back to Immigration Matters


Laws in Canada, including immigration regulations, as in most countries of the world, are enforced, regardless of whether the individual knows about them or not. It is your responsibility, not that of McMaster University, to maintain your immigration status and to obey immigration regulations while studying in Canada. Check your immigration documents (Study Permit, Work Permit and/or Temporary Resident Visa) to ensure that they are accurate and that they have not expired. It is your responsibility to take action to renew your documents before they expire. If you have questions about any of your immigration documents, if you need help understanding them or if you have questions about any other immigration issues, please visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).