The deputy to the Consul General of the United States Embassy to Romania, Sonya Tsiros, answered readers's questions about US visas applied to Romanian citizens in a live Q&A session on Wednesday.

Romanians can submit applications for the Diversity Visa 2010 program - the so-called lottery visas - by which the United States provides 50,000 permanent residence visas to citizens from various countries. Applications are made exclusively online and applicants fulfilling the selection criteria will attend a computer-assisted lottery.

  • Asked about when an applicant for a US visa is informed about the reasons the applications is rejected - a issue largely debated in Romania - Sonya Tsiros said that once rejected, an applicant would receive a written explanations regarding the legislation based on which the rejection was decided. She said a consular officer must use general terms in discussing the reasons of the rejection.
  • She said a Romanian citizen with a ten-year visa on her old passport but who renewed her passport could travel to the US with both the old passport with a valid visa and the new passport as long as the visa was not damaged and is still valid, and the name was not changed.
  • She said that in case of an applicant who applied unsuccessfully for the visa lottery and then submitted an application for a tourist visa, it might be difficult to prove his current intentions as a tourist as long as the application for the lottery visa was recent and was rejected because he did not met the criteria to qualify. But chances would not be affected for a tourist visa as long as the lottery visa application is old and he has a stable situation in Romania.
  • She said that in the case of a Romanian who has permanent residence in Germany, he should apply to the US consulate or embassy to the region he lives in. If he lives in Germany temporarily, he may apply for a visa both in Germany and in Romania, but must prove he had strong ties to the country in which he applies.
  • She said if one applied for a certain type of visa and failed, his application for another type of visa would not be affected unless the reasons of the initial rejection were related to a permanent ineligibility as in the case of a crime-related rejection.
  • She said the economic situation in the United States would affect the decision of some people who would like to apply to the lottery visa but that all depended on the will of the applicants to migrate to the US.
  • She said anybody could join the visa lottery program. But once selected one must prove he has a baccalaureate diploma or 2 years of experience in a 4 or 5 work area profession.
  • She said that in order to qualify for the visa lottery, one should be able to prove she has the means for a living for the first several months since arriving in the US or receive an affidavit of support or a letter of support from a friend or relative in the US. She said as far as she knew very few applications were rejected on material reasons.
  • She said should one win the visa lottery, one would become a permanent resident of the US with rights to work and live unrestrictedly on US territory.
  • She said that besides the visa lottery, there were two other ways to obtain residence in the US: to have a very close relative who should put up an emigration request on your behalf; or a US employer puts up such a request.