Apply for your visa well in advance of your travel!
Before traveling to the United States, a citizen of a foreign country must generally obtain a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay.
Nonimmigrant visas are for international travelers (citizens of other countries). The type of visa needed is defined by immigration law and relates to the principal purpose of your travel. For an overview of the types of nonimmigrant visas available under immigration law, please see Visa Types for Temporary Visitors. The Consular Officer at the U.S. embassy or consulate will decide what kind of visa you need when you apply.
Important steps to remember:
- Review your visa status and find out if you need a U.S. visa or a renewal.
- Review the Visa Wait Times information for interview appointments and visa processing at each embassy. Visit the embassy or consular section website where you will apply for your visa to find out how to schedule an interview appointment, pay fees and any other instructions.
- Plan on an interview as well as quick inkless fingerprint scans at the U.S. embassy or consulate, which is required for most visa applicants. Some visa applications require additional administrative processing, which requires some additional time. Applicants are advised when they apply.
Many citizens from Visa Waiver Program countries can come to the United States without a visa if they meet certain requirements. All Visa Waiver Program travelers must present a machine-readable passport at the U.S. port of entry to enter the U.S. without a visa; otherwise a U.S. visa is required. See important information about additional digital photograph and e-passport requirements for VWP travelers. Other foreign citizens will need a nonimmigrant visa.
For more detailed information specific to each visa category, including how-to-apply information and more, visit the U.S. Department of State.