Visa USA

Table of Contents

Information about USA Visa

On a general basis, a citizen of a foreign country wishing to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a temporary resident visa or a permanent resident immigration visa. Citizens of eligible countries can visit the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA). All travelers arriving in the United States under the Visa Waiver Program must obtain authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to departure.

If you do not meet the requirements to use the Visa Waiver program, or are traveling to study, work, participate in an exchange program, or for any other purpose that does not fall under a B visa, you will then need a visa.

A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. A visa only shows that a US consulate has determined that you are eligible to apply for entry to the US for a specific purpose.

Dierent types of visas to the United States:

  • ESTA

  • Business/Tourist Visa

  • Work visa Student visa

  • Visa for exchange visits

  • Transit/Crew Visa

  • Religious worker visa

  • Visa for au pair/ housekeeper/ childcare

  • Journalist and media visa.

ESTA

Information about ESTA visas to the USA​

With an approved ESTA application, you can stay in the USA without applying for a visa up to 90 days for business or tourist trips.

An approved application can also be used if you are only going to make a stopover or change flights in the USA.

In order to apply for ESTA, you must have citizenship in selected 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
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Great Britain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan 
  • The Netherlands

Application procedure for an ESTA visa to the USA

You need to register your ESTA application electronically and the application is normally processed within 72 hours.

How to apply for ESTA?

  1. Complete the application form for ESTA electronically here.

  2. You will receive an SMS/e- mail within 72 hours with an answer as to whether your application has been approved or not.

Business visa/ Tourist visa

Information on business visas / tourist visas to the USA

B-1/B-2 visitor visas are for persons traveling to the United States on shorter visits for business (B-1), for pleasure, or for medical treatment (B-2).

Generally, B-1 visas are for travelers visiting business contacts, attending scientific, educational, professional or business conferences, settling an estate, or negotiating contracts. B-2 visas are for leisure travel, including tourism, visiting friends or relatives, or medical treatment.

Activities related to a fraternal, social or volunteer-based type also fall under B-2. Often B-1 and B-2 visas are combined and issued as one visa: B-1/B-2.

Application procedure for business visa / tourist visa

To apply for a business/tourist visa, you must submit the following documentation:

  • Electronic visa application form (DS-160). Go to the DS-160 website for more information about the DS-160 form.

  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date of at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exceptions). If more than one person appears on your passport, each person seeking a visa must submit an application.

  • One 5×5 cm photo taken within the last six months. This website has information on the required photo format.

  • A receipt for paying the visa fee of US$ 160 in local currency. This website has more information about paying this fee. If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. The Department of State website can help you find whether you have to pay such a reciprocity fee, and what the amount is.

In addition to these documents, you must bring a letter confirming that you booked an appointment for an interview through this service. You can also bring additional documentation that you believe supports the information you want to present to the consul.

How to apply for a tourist visa to the USA​

  1. Complete the Visa Application Form (DS-160).
  2. Pay the visa application fee.
  3. Make an appointment on this website. You will need the following information to book the appointment:
  4. Your passport number
  5. The CGI reference number from your receipt. Click here if you need help finding this number.
  6. The ten- (10-) digit barcode number from the confirmation page
  7. Show up at the US Embassy on the date and time of your interview. You must bring a copy of the appointment confirmation, the confirmation page of your DS-160 form, a photo taken within the last six months, and your current and all previous passports. Applications without all these elements will not be accepted.

WORK VISA

Information about work visas to the USA

If you want to work temporarily in the United States under a nonimmigrant visa, you need a specific visa based on the type of work you will be performing under US immigration laws.

Most temporary work visas require your prospective employer or agent to submit an application that must be approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States before you can apply for a work visa.

Application procedure for a work visa to the USA.

If you are applying for an H, L, O, P, Q or R visa, you must submit the following:

  • Electronic visa application form (DS-160). Go to the DS-160 website for more information about the DS-160 form.

  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date of at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exceptions). If more than one person appears on your passport, each person seeking a visa must submit an application.

  • One 5×5 cm photo taken within the last six months. This website has information on the required photo format.

  • A receipt for paying the visa fee of US$ 160 in local currency. This website has more information about paying this fee. If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. The Department of State website can help you find whether you have to pay such a reciprocity fee, and what the amount is.

In addition to these documents, you must bring a letter confirming that you booked an appointment for an interview through this service. You can also bring additional documentation that you believe supports the information you want to present to the consul.

How to apply for a work visa.

  1. Complete the Visa Application Form (DS-160).
  2. Pay the visa application fee.
  3. Make an appointment on this website. You will need the following information to book the appointment:
  4. Your passport number
  5. The CGI reference number from your receipt. Click here if you need help finding this number.
  6. The ten- (10-) digit barcode number from the confirmation page
  7. Show up at the US Embassy on the date and time of your interview. You must bring a copy of the appointment confirmation, the confirmation page of your DS-160 form, a photo taken within the last six months, and your current and all previous passports. Applications without all these elements will not be accepted.

Student visa

Information about Student visas to the USA

The United States welcomes foreign citizens who come to the United States to study. Before a student can apply for a visa, all students must be admitted and approved by their school or program. Once the student has been accepted, the educational institution will provide the applicant with the documentation required to apply for a visa.

Application procedure for Student visa to the USA.

To apply for an F or M visa, you must submit the following:

  • Electronic visa application form (DS-160). Go to the DS-160 website for more information about the DS-160 form.
    • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date of at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exceptions). If more than one person appears on your passport, each person seeking a visa must submit an application.

    • One 5×5 cm photo taken within the last six months. This website has information on the required photo format.

    • A receipt for paying the visa fee of US$ 160 in local currency. This website has more information about paying this fee. If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. The Department of State website can help you find whether you have to pay such a reciprocity fee, and what the amount is.

In addition to these documents, you must bring a letter confirming that you booked an appointment for an interview through this service. You can also bring additional documentation that you believe supports the information you want to present to the consul.

How to apply for a Student Visa

  1. Complete the Visa Application Form (DS-160).
  2. Pay the visa application fee.
  3. Make an appointment on this website. You will need the following information to book the appointment:
  4. Your passport number
  5. The CGI reference number from your receipt. Click here if you need help finding this number.
  6. The ten- (10-) digit barcode number from the confirmation page
  7. Show up at the US Embassy on the date and time of your interview. You must bring a copy of the appointment confirmation, the confirmation page of your DS-160 form, a photo taken within the last six months, and your current and all previous passports. Applications without all these elements will not be accepted.

Visa for exchange visits.

Information on visas for exchange visits to the United States.

The United States welcomes foreign nationals who come to the United States to participate in exchange programs. Before applying for a visa, all exchange visits must be approved by an authorized program sponsor. Once accepted, the institution or program sponsor will provide the applicant with the required documentation to be submitted with the visa application.

The J visa program is designed to promote the exchange of people, knowledge and expertise in the fields of education, arts and natural sciences.

Participants include students at all academic levels; apprentices who receive training in the workplace, firms, institutions and agencies; teachers in primary schools, secondary schools and special schools; professors who come to teach or do research at institutions of higher learning; research fellows; professional apprentices in medical and allied fields; and international visitors who come for travel, observation, consultation, research, training, sharing or demonstration of specialist knowledge or competence, or participation in organized humanities programmes.

Application procedure for an exchange visit visa to the United States.

To apply for a J visa, you must submit the following:

  • Electronic visa application form (DS-160). Go to the DS-160 website for more information about the DS-160 form.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date of at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exceptions). If more than one person appears on your passport, each person seeking a visa must submit an application.
  • One 5×5 cm photo taken within the last six months. This website has information on the required photo format.
  • A receipt for paying the visa fee of US$ 160 in local currency. This website has more information about paying this fee. If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. The Department of State website can help you find whether you have to pay such a reciprocity fee, and what the amount is.
  • An approved DS-2019 from your US program.
  • Unless your J program is sponsored by the US government (with a program code beginning with “G”), then you must pay the SEVIS fee. The SEVIS website has more information.
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In addition to these documents, you must bring a letter confirming that you booked an appointment for an interview through this service. You can also bring additional documentation that you believe supports the information you want to present to the consul.

How to apply for an exchange visit visa?

  1. Complete the Visa Application Form (DS-160).
  2. Pay the visa application fee.
  3. Make an appointment on this website. You will need the following information to book the appointment:
  4. Your passport number
  5. The CGI reference number from your receipt. Click here if you need help finding this number.
  6. The ten- (10-) digit barcode number from the confirmation page
  7. Show up at the US Embassy on the date and time of your interview. You must bring a copy of the appointment confirmation, the confirmation page of your DS-160 form, a photo taken within the last six months, and your current and all previous passports. Applications without all these elements will not be accepted.

Transit visa / crew visa

Information about transit visas (C visas) to the United States.

A citizen of another country traveling through the United States, to a foreign destination must have a valid transit visa. Exceptions to this requirement include those travelers who are eligible to transit the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) or travelers who are citizens of a country that has an agreement with the United States allowing its citizens to travel to the United States without a visa.

If you wish to travel for purposes other than transit through the USA, e.g. visit friends or go sightseeing, the applicant must be eligible for and obtain the type of visa required for this purpose, e.g. a B-2 visa.

Information about Crew visa (D visa) (C visa) to the United States.

If you will be crew aboard a vessel or aircraft bound for or in the United States, you must have a crew visa. Crew members traveling through the United States or its waters generally use a combination transit/ crew visa (C-1/ D).In some cases, however, you may only need a D visa.

Crew members working aboard a vessel that is or is going to the Outer Continental Shelf may qualify for B-1/ OCS visas in some cases.

Crew who will enter the United States during leisure time between flights or cruises must also obtain a B-1/B-2 visa for use during these vacation days. Applicants who simultaneously apply for both a

C-1/D and B-1/B-2 visa pay only one visa fee.

If you are employed as crew or as a service engineer, you should not apply for a B1/B2, but for a C1/D. Please go back and change your visa category to C1/D and book your appointment as a C1/D visa applicant. B1/B2 (possibly B1- OCS) will be added when you have your visa interview at the embassy.

Application procedure for transit visa / Crew visa to the USA.

To apply for a transit or crew member visa, you must submit the following:

  • Electronic visa application form (DS-160). Go to the DS-160 website for more information about the DS-160 form.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date of at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exceptions). If more than one person appears on your passport, each person seeking a visa must submit an application.
  • One 5×5 cm photo taken within the last six months. This website has information on the required photo format.
  • A receipt for paying the visa fee of US$ 160 in local currency. This website has more information about paying this fee. If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. The Department of State website can help you find whether you have to pay such a reciprocity fee, and what the amount is.
  • If applicable, a seaman’s book valid beyond the expiry date of your contract of employment and all previous seaman’s books. Crew must submit an ocial loss report if they are unable to submit the seaman’s logbook.

In addition to these documents, you must bring a letter confirming that you booked an appointment for an interview through this service. You can also bring additional documentation that you believe supports the information you want to present to the consul.

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How to apply for a transit visa / Crew visa?

  1. Complete the Visa Application Form (DS-160).
  2. Pay the visa application fee.
  3. Make an appointment on this website. You will need the following information to book the appointment:
  4. Your passport number
  5. The CGI reference number from your receipt. Click here if you need help finding this number.
  6. The ten- (10-) digit barcode number from the confirmation page
  7. Show up at the US Embassy on the date and time of your interview. You must bring a copy of the appointment confirmation, the confirmation page of your DS-160 form, a photo taken within the last six months, and your current and all previous passports. Applications without all these elements will not be accepted.

Religious worker visa

Information about religious worker visa to the United States

A citizen of another country traveling through the United States, to a foreign destination must have a valid transit visa. Exceptions to this requirement include those travelers who are eligible to transit the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) or travelers who are citizens of a country that has an agreement with the United States that allows its citizens to travel to the United States without a visa.

If you wish to travel for purposes other than transit through the USA, e.g. visit friends or go sightseeing, the applicant must be eligible for and obtain the type of visa required for this purpose, e.g. a B-2 visa.

Application procedure for Worker of Religion visa to the USA.

If you are applying for a religious worker visa, you must submit the following:

  • Electronic visa application form (DS-160). Go to the DS-160 website for more information about the DS-160 form.

  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date of at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exceptions). If more than one person appears on your passport, each person seeking a visa must submit an application.

  • One 5×5 cm photo taken within the last six months. This website has information on the required photo format.

  • A receipt for paying the visa fee of US$ 160 in local currency. This website has more information about paying this fee. If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. The Department of State website can help you find whether you have to pay such a reciprocity fee, and what the amount is.

  • The receipt number printed on your approved I-797 – Notice of Action form.

In addition to these documents, you must bring a letter confirming that you booked an appointment for an interview through this service. You can also bring additional documentation that you believe supports the information you want to present to the consul.

How to apply for a religious worker visa?

  1. Complete the Visa Application Form (DS-160).
  2. Pay the visa application fee.
  3. Make an appointment on this website. You will need the following information to book the appointment:
  4. Your passport number
  5. The CGI reference number from your receipt. Click here if you need help finding this number.
  6. The ten- (10-) digit barcode number from the confirmation page
  7. Show up at the US Embassy on the date and time of your interview. You must bring a copy of the appointment confirmation, the confirmation page of your DS-160 form, a photo taken within the last six months, and your current and all previous passports. Applications without all these elements will not be accepted.

Visa for au pair/ housekeeper/ childcare.

Information on Visa for au pair/ housekeeper/ childcare to the USA

Personal help in the home or domestic helpers who will join or follow an employer to the United States may be eligible for B-1 visas. This category of house sta includes, but is not limited to, cooks, butlers, drivers, maids, valets, servants, nannies, gardeners and paid attendants.

Those who will be joining or traveling after a foreign diplomat or ocial may be eligible for an A-3 or G-5 visa, depending on their employer’s visa status.

Application procedure for Visa for au pair/ housekeeper/ childcare to the United States.

To apply for a B-1,A-3, or G-5 visa, you must submit the following:

  • For B-1 applicants only: A receipt for paid visa fee of US$160 in local currency. This website has more information about paying this fee. If a visa is issued, an additional visa reciprocity fee may apply depending on your nationality. The Department of State’s website can help you find out if you have to pay such a reciprocity fee and what the amount is.

  • A copy of your employer’s visa or other method they will use to enter the US (their passport from a Visa Waiver Program country or US passport).

  • An employment contract, signed by both you and your employer, that meets all the requirements listed above.

  • For A-3 and G-5 applicants only: A Note Verbale confirming the principal’s employment status, date of departure, purpose of travel, and length of stay in the United States.

    Note Verbale should list the name of the employee and mention the employer’s title or ocial status. It should also specify the date of departure and the purpose of the trip and the length of stay in the United States. A-3 and G-5 applicants do not need to pay application fees.

How to apply for a visa for au pair/ housekeeper/ childcare?

  1. Complete the Visa Application Form (DS-160).
  2. Pay the visa application fee.
  3. Make an appointment on this website. You will need the following information to book the appointment:
  4. Your passport number
  5. The CGI reference number from your receipt. Click here if you need help finding this number.
  6. The ten- (10-) digit barcode number from the confirmation page
  7. Show up at the US Embassy on the date and time of your interview. You must bring a copy of the appointment confirmation, the confirmation page of your DS-160 form, a photo taken within the last six months, and your current and all previous passports. Applications without all these elements will not be accepted.

Journalist and media visa

Information about Journalist and media visas to the USA.

Media- (I-) visa is a visa for representatives of foreign media who travel to the United States temporarily to practice their profession while they have their headquarters in another country.

Some procedures and fees under the Immigration Act have to do with the policy of the traveller’s country of residence, where the US for its part follows a similar practice, which we call “Reciprocity”. In procedures for providing media visas to foreign media representatives for a particular country, it is assessed whether the visa applicant’s own government grants similar privileges, or gives the equivalent back to media/press representatives from the USA.

Application procedure for Journalist and media visa to the USA

To apply for an I visa, you must submit the following:

  • Certificate of employment:
  • Journalist: A letter from your employer stating your name, your position in the company, and the purpose and length of your stay in the United States.

  • Freelance journalist under contract with a media organization: A copy of the contract with the media organization showing your name, your position in the company, the duration of the contract, and the purpose and length of your stay in the United States.

  • Film crew: A letter from your employer stating your name, your position in the company, the title and a brief description of the program being filmed, and the purpose and length of your stay in the United States.

  • Independent production company under contract with media organization: A letter from the organization commissioning the work with your name, title, and a brief description of the program being filmed, the duration of the contract, and the time period necessary to film in the United States.

How to apply for a Journalist and media visa?

  1. Complete the Visa Application Form (DS-160).
  2. Pay the visa application fee.
  3. Make an appointment on this website. You will need the following information to book the appointment:
  4. Your passport number
  5. The CGI reference number from your receipt. Click here if you need help finding this number.
  6. The ten- (10-) digit barcode number from the confirmation page
  7. Show up at the US Embassy on the date and time of your interview. You must bring a copy of the appointment confirmation, the confirmation page of your DS-160 form, a photo taken within the last six months, and your current and all previous passports. Applications without all these elements will not be accepted.