Visa Information for Travelers to the United States of America
This page is
intended to provide general information to individuals
planning to visit the United States temporarily. The purpose
of the visit determines what type of visa will be needed.
Visitors planning to visit or attend a meeting most likely
will apply for a B-1 visa. For comprehensive B-1 Visa
information please visit the
US State Department’s Visitor Visa Website.
traveling for visitor visa purposes only, from certain
eligible countries may be able to visit the U.S. without a
visa, through the
Visa Waiver Program if they
meet requirements, including having a valid
Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
Citizens of Mexico
traveling to the US have the option to secure a
Border Crossing Card rather
than a B-1 visa. Additionally, citizens of
Canada and Bermuda
traveling for visitor visa purposes do not need a visa, with
countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, as shown
Applying for a US
visitor visas should generally apply the U.S. Embassy or
Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent
residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S.
consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify
for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.
Visa applications are now subject to a greater degree of
review than in the past so it is important to apply for your
visa well in advance of your travel departure date.
As part of the
visa application process, an interview at the embassy
consular section is required for visa applicants from age 14
through 79, with few exceptions. Persons age 13 and younger,
and age 80 and older, generally do not require an interview,
unless requested by embassy or consulate. Making your
appointment for an interview is the first step in the visa
application process. The waiting time for an interview
appointment for applicants can vary, so early visa
application is strongly encouraged. Visa wait times for
interview appointments and visa processing time information
for each U.S. Embassy or Consulate worldwide is available on
our website at
Visa Wait Times, and on most
embassy websites. Learn how to schedule an appointment for
an interview, pay the application processing fee, review
embassy specific instructions, and much more by visiting the
U.S. Embassy or Consulate website
where you will apply.
During the visa
application process, usually at the interview, an ink-free,
digital fingerprint scan will be quickly taken. Some visa
applications require further
which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s
interview by a Consular Officer.
Each applicant for
a visitor visa must submit these forms and documentation as
Online Nonimmigrant Visa
Electronic Application, Form DS-160. Visit our
DS-160 webpage to learn more about the DS-160
A passport valid for travel
to the United States and with a valid date at least six
months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in
the United States (unless
country-specific agreements provide
exemptions). If more than one person is included in the
passport, each person desiring a visa must make an
One (1) 2x2 photograph. See
the required photo format explained in
Nonimmigrant Photograph Requirements.
Successful Visa Applications
Visa applicants are expected
to provide evidence that they are intending to return to
their country of residence. Therefore, applicants should
provide proof of “binding” or sufficient ties to their
residence abroad. This includes documentation of:
- family ties in home country or country of legal
- property ownership
- bank accounts
- employment contract or statement from employer
showing that position
will continue after the visit to the United States.
Visa applications are more
likely to be successful if done in a visitor’s home
country than in a third country;
Applicants should present
their entire trip itinerary, including travel to any
countries other than the United States, at the time of
their visa application;
Include a letter of
invitation from the meeting organizer or the U.S. host,
specifying the subject, location and dates of the
Provide specifics on how
travel and local expenses will be covered.
If completion of travel
plans is contingent upon early approval of the visa
application, specify this at the time of the
Provide proof of
professional scientific and/or educational status
(students should provide a university transcript);
Required Visa Fees
application processing fee - For current fees for
Department of State government services
click here. You will need to provide a
receipt showing the visa application processing fee has
been paid, when you come for your visa interview.
Visa issuance fee –
Additionally, if the visa is issued, there will be an
additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, if applicable.
Please consult the
Visa Reciprocity Tables to find out if you
must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the
fee amount is.
If the consular
officer should find it necessary to deny the issuance of a
visitor visa, the applicant may apply again if there is new
evidence to overcome the basis for the refusal. For
to learn more. In the absence of new evidence, consular
officers are not obliged to re-examine such cases.
Entering the U.S.
- Port of Entry
A visa allows a
foreign citizen coming from abroad, to travel to the United
States port-of entry and request permission to enter the
U.S. Applicants should be aware that a visa does not
guarantee entry into the United States. The Department of
Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the
United States. If you are allowed to enter the U.S., the CBP
official will determine the length of your visit on the
Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94). Since Form I-94
documents your authorized stay in the U.S., it’s very
important to keep in your passport. In advance of travel,
prospective travelers should review important information
requirements, as well as information related to restrictions
agricultural products or
explained on the Department of Homeland Security, Customs
and Border Protection website. Upon arrival (at an
international airport, seaport or land border crossing), you
will be enrolled in the
US-VISIT entry-exit program.
In addition, some travelers will also need to register their
entry into and their departure from the U.S. with the
National Security Exit Entry Registration System (NSEERS),
also referred to as
Medical care in the United States can be very expensive. All
visitors should carry adequate health insurance valid for
the duration of their stay in the United States.
Driving in the
Visitors who wish to rent cars must have a
major credit card and a valid driver’s license from their
own country. In some cases, an international driver’s
license may be required. Contact the car rental company
directly for specific information.
Required Change of
Visitors staying in the United
States longer than six months must notify the U.S.
government of any change in their residential address within
ten 10) days or face serious consequences.
Address notification should be made directly to the U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) using their
Federal law requires that all non-U.S. citizens carry
evidence of their lawful status with them at all times. This
is especially important for all travel, international or
domestic. It is advisable to keep copies of all pages of the
passport, visa, I-94 Arrival-Departure card, and supporting
documents such as DS-2019 forms, in a safe place in case of
loss of the original documents.