If you are planning a brief visit to the U.S. for business or tourism, you might need to apply for a visitor or a transit visa.
1. Find out if you need a visa.
Check to see if your country participates in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). If you don't see your country listed, you will need a nonimmigrant visa to visit the U.S.
2. Determine which visa you might need for your visit.
Most business and tourism travelers use B-1 and B-2 visitor visas.
B-1 visa classification is for business travelers to consult with business associates, attend a conference, settle an estate, or negotiate a contract.
B-2 visa classification is for tourists on vacation and people coming for medical treatment, a social event, or participation in amateur contests for no pay.
Transit visas are less common.
Transit C visa classification is for foreign nationals traveling through the U.S. to another country and stopping briefly in the U.S. as part of their travel to the next foreign destination.
Transit C-1, D, and C-1/D visas are for crewmembers of sea vessels or international airlines traveling to the U.S.
3. Apply for a visa.
The process of applying for a visa will vary depending on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply.
In general, you will need:
- To complete online form DS-160, the nonimmigrant visa application form
- A photo
- A visa application fee
- To schedule an interview
Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview:
- Passport valid for travel to the United States – Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). Each individual who needs a visa must submit a separate application, including any family members listed in your passport.
- Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page.
- Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview.
- Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
Additional documents may be requested to establish if you are qualified. For example, additional requested documents may include evidence of:
- The purpose of your trip,
- Your intent to depart the United States after your trip, and/or
- Your ability to pay all costs of the trip.