Visitors Visa to USA

Learn more about the following visas on this page:

B-1 VISA

Everybody knows the U.S. is the best place to engage in business. And the best way to temporarily visit the U.S. to deal with your business venture is under B-1 status. This merit-based visa allows access to a variety of business and economic ventures in the U.S. Individuals eligible for this visa range from board members and athletes to musicians, entertainers and servants of non-immigrants.

Steps

You may apply for a B-1 visa at the American Embassy or Consulate in your region or nation. We recommend you do not apply at a U.S. Consular Office outside of your permanent residence, since that process is more difficult. You can apply at the Consular Office of the Embassy or Consulate General nearest your residence, or use one of the following options:

  • Authorized travel agencies: Travel agencies approved by the U.S. Embassy in your region or nation may submit visa applications for you.
  • The VIP Business Program: Your enterprise can register with the VIP Business Program if it repeatedly sends employees to the U.S. Your appearance may be waived, if your application was submitted by an approved business.
  • By drop box: Individuals who travel extensively, or have recently received a validated visa, may use the drop box in the embassy or consulate. Applications at drop boxes should be completed before traveling.
  • You may still need to apply in person. Further, there may be delays in this process due to cross-checking information at the Washington, D.C. database.

Documents

To apply for a B-1 Visa, you must provide the following documents:

  • A filled-in visa application Form DS-156. Separate applications for each person are required.
  • A passport, valid for travel to the United States for at least six months longer than your intended visit.
  • Two recent photographs 1 & 1/2 inches square (37mm x 37mm) of each applicant, with the entire face visible. The picture should be taken before a light background and without head covering.

You may also be asked to provide the following documents:

  • Evidence backing up the purpose of your trip. You may show a letter sent by the company explaining the purpose and length of the trip.
  • Specific and realistic plans describing why you wish to visit the U.S. A copy of a tour itinerary is usually acceptable.
  • Information about the company, like a company brochure or catalog.
  • Demonstration of non-immigrant intent. A good example of this is round-trip air tickets.
  • A letter which states that either the firm intends to pay for all cost, or that you have other funds for this trip.

B-2 VISA

Business or pleasure, what’s your choice. The B-2 visa is the ideal entry pass for tourists interested in seeing the many splendorous sites of the U.S. The B-2 Visa is issued for pleasure trips for a brief period of time, and may also be granted to spouses, children and parents of B-1 Visa holders.

So what, officially, is the definition of the term, ‘pleasure’? The State Department defines the term as legitimate activities of a recreational character, including tourism, amusement, visits to friends and/or relatives, rest, medical treatment and activities of a social or service nature.

The B-2 Visa can also be used by foreign students wishing to visit or tour U.S. schools prior to enrollment. You should make sure to inform the embassy or consulate of your intentions when you receive the B-1 Visa. You may then be able to change your status at a later time without leaving the U.S.

Steps

You may apply for a B-2 visa at the American Embassy or Consulate in your region or nation. We recommend you do not apply at a U.S. Consular Office outside of your permanent residence, since that process is more difficult. You can apply at the Consular Office of the Embassy or Consulate General nearest your residence, or use one of the following options:

  • Authorized travel agencies: Travel agencies approved by the U.S. Embassy in your region or nation may submit visa applications for you.
  • The VIP Business Program: Your enterprise can register with the VIP Business Program if it repeatedly sends employees to the U.S. Your appearance may be waived, if your application was submitted by an approved business.
  • By drop box: Individuals who travel extensively, or have recently received a validated visa, may use the drop box in the embassy or consulate. Applications at drop boxes should be completed before traveling.
  • You may still need to apply in person. Further, there may be delays in this process due to cross-checking information at the Washington, D.C. database.

Documents

To apply for a B-2 Visa, you must supply the following documents:

  • A filled-in visa application Form DS-156.
  • Two recent photographs 1 & 1/2 inches square (37mm x 37mm) of each applicant, with the entire face visible. The picture should be taken before a light background and without head covering.
  • A passport, valid for travel to the United States for at least six months longer than your intended visit.

You may also be asked to provide the following documents:

  • Evidence showing the purpose of your trip. You may show a letter sent by the company explaining the purpose and length of the trip. You may also show letters from relatives or friends that you intend to visit.
  • If you are traveling to the U.S. for medical purposes, you should have a statement from a doctor or medical institution about your treatment.
  • A copy of a tour itinerary.
  • Proof of your intention to leave the U.S. after a temporary visit. Round-trip air tickets will show intent to return to your home country.
  • Proof that arrangements have been made to cover the cost of your trip. An affidavit of support may be required for children who are traveling.
  • If you do not have enough funds to support yourself while in the U.S., you must provide evidence that an interested person will provide support.
  • You may also provide evidence that establishes your ties with the sponsor.

E-1 VISA

U.S immigration policy supports investors and foreign commerce in a variety of ways. The E-1 visa is one method for ensuring healthy commerce with the world.

The E-1 Visa is issued to individuals known as ‘treaty traders’. A treaty trader is defined as a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.

For a list of treaty countries click on the following link:

http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/reciprocity/reciprocity_3726.html

You should be coming to the U.S. to carry on substantial trade, or to develop and direct the operations of a business in which you have invested or will soon invest a substantial amount of capital. You must also be a national of a treaty country and you must be involved in international trade.

Your spouse and children may join you under the same status. Your employees, or the employees of your treaty company, may also receive E-1 visas.

Steps

You may apply for an E-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate in your country. We recommend you do not apply at a U.S. Consular Office outside of your permanent residence, since that process is more difficult.

Documents

To apply for an E-1 Visa, you must supply the following documents:

  • A filled-in visa application Form DS-156.
  • One recent photograph 1 & 1/2 inches square (37mm x 37mm) of each applicant, with the entire face visible. The picture should be taken before a light background and without head covering.
  • A passport, valid for travel to the United States for at least six months longer than your intended visit.
  • Documents that establish that your company is owned by foreign nationals.
  • A letter from your employer detailing your position and stating that you possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm.

You may also be asked to prove that:

  • Your company meets the requirements of the law.
  • The trade is substantial; there should be a continuous flow of trade between the U.S. and the treaty country.
  • You intend to leave the U.S. after the validity date of the E-1 Visa.

E-2 VISA

U.S immigration policy supports investors and foreign commerce in a variety of ways. The E-2 visa is one way the U.S. ensures healthy commerce with the world.

The E-2 visa is issued to individuals known as ‘treaty investors’. A treaty investor is defined as a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.

For a list of current treaty countries click below:

http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/reciprocity/reciprocity_3726.html

You should be coming to the U.S. to partake in a substantial investment. Your investment may be less than that demanded for the EB-5 ($1,000,000). However, if the investment becomes equal or greater than $1,000,000, you may petition for permanent immigration status.

Your spouse and/opr children under the age of 21 may accompany you under E-2 status. Your employees may also be eligible for the E-2 Visa.

Steps

You may apply for an E-2 visa at a U.S. Consulate in your country. We recommend you do not apply at a U.S. Consular Office outside of your permanent residence, since that process is more difficult.

Documents

To apply for an E-1 Visa, you must supply the following documents:

  • A filled-in visa application Form DS-156.
  • One recent photograph 1 & 1/2 inches square (37mm x 37mm) of each applicant, with the entire face visible. The picture should be taken before a light background and without head covering.
  • A passport, valid for travel to the United States for at least six months longer than your intended visit.
  • Documents that establish that your company is owned by foreign nationals.
  • A letter from your employer detailing your position and stating that you possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm.

You may also be asked to prove that:

  • Your company meets the requirements of the law.
  • The trade is substantial; there should be a continuous flow of trade between the U.S. and the treaty country.
  • You intend to leave the U.S. after the validity date of the E-2 Visa.
  • You have invested a ‘substantial’ amount.
  • The investment must be active.

You may also be asked to describe in detail:

  • What type of investment you are involved in.
  • The future prospects for the investment.
  • Other documents that establish your eligibility for the E-2 Visa.

J-1 VISA

The J-1 visa is designed to provide educational and cultural exchange programs, and to promote the sharing of individuals, knowledge and skills in education, arts and sciences. This visa enables people to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States.

Participants in this visa include students, trainees involved in on-the-job training, teachers engaged in research and teaching and international visitors interested in traveling, researching, consulting and demonstrating specific knowledge.

Your spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 may apply for entry under J-2 status.

Steps

You should apply for a J-1 Visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence. While you may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it is advised you apply within your jurisdiction.

Participants in the J exchange program should present a Form IAP-66, prepared by a designated sponsoring organization.

Documents

The following documents are required for the J-1 Visa:

  • A filled-in visa application Form OF-156.
  • One recent photograph 1 & 1/2 inches square (37mm x 37mm) of each applicant, with the entire face visible. The picture should be taken before a light background and without head covering.
  • A passport, valid for travel to the United States for at least six months longer than your intended visit.
  • A completed form, IAP-66, prepared by a designated sponsoring organization.
  • You must also demonstrate the that you have binding ties to a residence in a foreign country which you have no intention of abandoning, and that you are coming to the United States for a temporary period of time.

Q-1 VISA

The Q-1 international cultural exchange program provides practical training, employment and the sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of the participant’s home country in the United States. This visa enables individuals to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States.

Steps

You should apply for a Q-1 Visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence. While you may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it is advised you apply within your jurisdiction.

Participants in the Q exchange program must have the designated sponsoring organization file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, with the INS. The INS will then inform the sponsor on Form I-797 when the petition is approved.

Documents

The following documents are required for the Q-1 Visa:

  • A filled-in visa application Form OF-156.
  • One recent photograph 1 & 1/2 inches square (37mm x 37mm) of each applicant, with the entire face visible. The picture should be taken before a light background and without head covering.
  • A passport, valid for travel to the United States for at least six months longer than your intended visit.
  • A completed form, I-797.
  • You must also demonstrate the that you have binding ties to a residence in a foreign country which you have no intention of abandoning, and that you are coming to the United States for a temporary period of time.

VISA WAIVER PROGRAM

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) offers an easy, effective method to travel to the U.S. for business or pleasure. The program enables citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. for pleasure or business for 90 days or less without officially obtaining a U.S. visa.

Steps

There are presently 29 participating countries in the VWP: Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.

While most interested parties do not need to apply for a visa, certain exceptions do apply.

Some travelers still need to apply for a visa, including people who plan to work or study in the U.S., stay more than 90 days, or people who might otherwise be ineligible for a visa. Travelers who have previously been denied visas, who have criminal records or who may be ineligible to enter the U.S. on the VWP, should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate before attempting to use the VWP to enter the U.S.

Documents

If you are entering the U.S. on the VWP, you must:

  • Have a valid passport issued by your participating country and be a citizen of that country.
  • Propose to enter the U.S. for 90 days or less as a temporary visitor.
  • If entering the U.S. by plane or ship, you must have a round-trip ticket issued on a carrier that has signed an agreement with the U.S. government to participate in the VWP. You must arrive in the U.S. on that carrier.
  • Have proof of financial capability and a signed visa waiver arrival/departure form (I-94W Form), on which you have waived the right to a hearing of exclusion or deportation.
  • Land entry from Canada or Mexico is allowed under the VWP. You are not required to present round-trip transportation tickets or arrive at the border entry point aboard a carrier who has signed an agreement with the U.S. to participate in the VWP.