Visa information

General Visa Information

VISA MAY BE REQUIRED. Check with the embassy in your country for travel requirements. Start the process EARLY, as this can take a long time www.embassyworld.com. All travelers to the United States, with exceptions for citizens of Canada and Bermuda, must have a valid visa or visa waiver (see list of VISA waiver countries below) to travel to and enter the United States. Visitor (B) visas are issued based on the primary purpose of travel, being either business (B-1) or tourism (B-2). Details on US B-1 visas for temporary business, which includes travel for a conference, can be found at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/business.html. This site also provides a helpful Visa Wizard tool to help determine your specific visa needs depending on the primary purpose of travel and the country that issued your passport.

Often there are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary by U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Please consult https://www.usembassy.gov/ for details by country of nationality. Generally, this requires completion of an online nonimmigrant visa application (Form DS-160) and an interview. Alternatively, travelers from certain countries have the option of visiting through the Visa Waiver Program, which is discussed below.

Although it may not be necessary, there are third party contractors that are able to assist with visa applications.

United States B Visa Requirements

For a non-immigrant visa (such as B visas), you will need to submit a DS-160 form, and may do so online through the Consular Electronic Application Center (https://ceac.state.gov/GenNIV/). Note that there are specific browser requirements for the website (best supported by Internet Explorer 11 or higher and Google Chrome 58 or higher).

To complete the online DS-160, you may be required to have:

  • Passport - Note that visitors from some countries require a passport which is valid for six months beyond your planned stay. At least one blank page is needed to affix the visa.
  • Travel itinerary - if arrangements are already made.
  • Dates of your last five visits to the United States - or international travel history, if applicable)
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Digital photograph - specific requirements for the online application are detailed at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/photos.html

To complete the application:

  1. When you are ready, click on the button labeled “Start a New Application” below. Please make sure to have your passport, information about other U.S. visas you have had, if any, and any other documents relevant to your intended travel to the United States ready. You will need information in those documents as you fill out the application.
  2. Write down the Application ID displayed on the top right-hand corner of the page. If you need to close the browser before submitting your application, you will need this Application ID to continue your application.
  3. Follow the instructions on each page. Make sure you answer all the questions—if you do not, your application may not be accepted.
  4. Your answers must be in English and must use the English alphabet. That means you cannot use letters like ñ, é, ü, or ç. For example, instead of writing “São Paulo,” write “Sao Paulo.” There is only one exception to this rule, which is when you are asked to provide your full name in your native alphabet; then you can use non-English characters.
  5. When you are finished answering all the questions, the program will let you check your answers to make sure they are correct. Please re-read them carefully so you do not make mistakes.
  6. Click on the “Sign Application” button to sign your application electronically.
  7. Once you have checked your answers, you can submit your application. When you do, you will see a confirmation page on your screen with a barcode.

The Application Fee for type B visas is $160, which may need to be paid prior to your interview. Fee structures for visitors that anticipate travelling under a different visa can be seen at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/fees/fees-visa-services.html.

The application form confirmation page should be printed and brought to the interview (which the applicant must schedule). An additional photograph meeting the above requirements may also need to be brought to the interview. An additional Issuance Fee for the interview process may apply depending on the embassy or consulate (see https://www.usembassy.gov/)

Visa Waiver Program

Visitors from some countries are eligible to travel through the Visa Waiver Program, which allows people to visit the U.S for a limited amount of time (up to 90 days) for certain purposes. Visa Waiver travelers must have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization approved prior to travel (see https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/), the purpose of travel must be permitted on a B visa (business or tourism), and be a citizen of one of the following countries:

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Chile
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan*
  • United Kingdom**

 apply for an ESTA waiver, the applicant will need their contact information, details regarding their most recent employment, a means to pay the $14 in fees (credit card or PayPal), and the applicant must have a passport meeting specific requirements. Those requirements can be accessed here: https://www.dhs.gov/visa-waiver-program-requirements

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