In general, a citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States temporarily must first obtain a U.S. nonimmigrant visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport.
For information regarding the new VWP/ESTA eligibility requirements, click here.
European Travel Info & Health Advisory: advice on travel for UK citizens and Global Health Advisory
In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State has temporarily suspended routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates have canceled all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020, but will continue to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services as resources and local conditions allow. We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. Please see these notices which contain detailed information about the current status of visa services worldwide and visa restrictions related to the COVID-19 global pandemic: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-visa-services-and-restrictions.html
Entry of foreign nationals who were physically present within the following list of countries within 14 days prior to their entry or attempted entry into the United States is suspended, per Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 9993, 9996 and the subsequent proclamation issued May 24, 2020:
- Brazil (effective May 26 at 11:59 p.m. EDT);
- The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe;
- The Republic of Ireland;
- The 26 countries that comprise the Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland);
- The Islamic Republic of Iran;
- The People’s Republic of China, not including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau
Please review the Presidential Proclamation for detailed information: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspension-entry-immigrants-nonimmigrants-certain-additional-persons-pose-risk-transmitting-novel-coronavirus/
Tourism and Visitor
B-1 visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons traveling to the United States temporarily to engage in business activities such as the negotiation of contracts, consultation with business associates, litigation, and participation in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences or seminars and other legitimate activities of a commercial or professional nature.
Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor
Treaty Trader visas (E-1) and Treaty Investor visas (E-2) are nonimmigrant visas for citizens of countries which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation (9 FAM 402.9-10). The applicant must be coming to the United States to engage in substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, in qualifying activities, principally between the United States and the treaty country (E-1); or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the applicant has invested or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital (E-2).
Study & Exchange
Students taking part in an exchange program, and those wishing to take up prearranged employment, training or research in the United States under an officially approved program sponsored by an educational or other nonprofit institution, require exchange visitor (J-1) visas.
Diplomats & Other Government Officials
With the exception of a Head of State or Government who qualifies for an A-1 visa regardless of the purpose of the visit to the United States, the type of visa required by a diplomat or other government official depends upon the reason for entering the United States.
Government officials traveling to the United States to perform non-governmental functions of a commercial nature or traveling as tourists require the appropriate H, L or B visa, or if qualified, travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program; they do not qualify for diplomatic or official visas.