Visas

What is a Visa?

A visa is issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  A visa entitles the holder to travel to the United States and apply for admission; it does not guarantee entry.  An immigration official at the port of entry determines the visa holder’s eligibility for admission into the United States.

The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.

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 a citizen of Canada or Bermuda.

Please note:  If you were born in the United States or hold dual citizenship with the United States, you must enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport.

What types of Visas are Available?

Customer Service Statement

The Department of State manages the visa process strictly but fairly in order to best protect the United States.  We are committed to the essential openness for which the United States has always been known.  Travel to the United States is welcomed and encouraged.

We promise to you, the visa applicant, that:

  • We will treat you with dignity and respect, even if we are unable to grant you a visa.
  • We will treat you as an individual and your case as unique.
  • We will remember that, to you, a visa interview may be a new or intimidating experience and that you may be nervous.
  • We will use the limited time available for the interview to get as full a picture as possible of your travel plans and intentions.
  • We will use our available resources to fairly assist all applicants to get appointments to allow travel in time for business, study, and other important obligations.
  • We will post detailed and accurate information on visa requirements and application procedures on every Embassy and Consulate website.
  • We will provide information on non-immigrant appointment waiting times at every Embassy and Consulate posted on http://travel.state.gov.
  • We will explain the reason for any visa denial to you.

Furthermore, if you are a:

  • Student, we will make every effort to ensure that you get an appointment and, if qualified, a visa in time to start classes.
  • Medical and humanitarian emergency traveler, we will expedite processing for those dealing with life threatening emergencies.
  • Business traveler, we will establish appropriate mechanisms to facilitate business travel and expedite cases of particular concern to American business.

At the same time, we expect you, the visa applicant, to:

  • Plan your travel and visa application as far in advance as possible.
  • Complete your application fully and accurately.
  • Be forthcoming about your purpose and plans.
  • Prepare for your interview by being able to clearly and concisely describe your intentions.