Millions of foreigners travel to the United States every year. Some are tourists visiting family and friends; others are traveling for professional commitments; attending conferences, conventions, and business meetings. Others are students who attend school or university throughout the U.S.. Foreign professionals stay in the U.S. for short periods of time in the context of their business relations. Others travel to undergo medical treatment, for volunteerism, others as journalists, members of airline crews or to participate in sporting events. Moreover, many citizens of other countries travel to the United States to live there permanently.
In these pages you will find information on the various types of visas and their application procedures. You can access the main pages through the two links below:
What is a Visa?
A citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must generally get a visa. The visa is included in the passport of the traveler or in other suitable travel documentation. In some cases, you can travel without a visa, if you meet certain requirements.
Visas are divided into two main categories: those intended for a temporary stay in the U.S. (“non-immigrant” visas) and those required by those who plan to move permanently to the United States (“immigrant” visas). Within these main categories, there are many types of visas, depending on the purpose of your trip.
To contact a customer service representative, please visit the GSS Contact Us page for full information or use contact information below:
Customer Service Statement
The Department of State manages the visa process strictly but fairly in order to best protect the United States. We are committed to the essential openness for which the United States has always been known. Travel to the United States is welcomed and encouraged.
We promise to you, the visa applicant, that:
- We will treat you with dignity and respect, even if we are unable to grant you a visa.
- We will treat you as an individual and your case as unique.
- We will remember that, to you, a visa interview may be a new or intimidating experience and that you may be nervous.
- We will use the limited time available for the interview to get as full a picture as possible of your travel plans and intentions.
- We will use our available resources to fairly assist all applicants to get appointments to allow travel in time for business, study, and other important obligations.
- We will post detailed and accurate information on visa requirements and application procedures on every Embassy and Consulate website.
- We will provide information on non-immigrant appointment waiting times at every Embassy and Consulate posted on http://travel.state.gov.
- We will explain the reason for any visa denial to you.
Furthermore, if you are a:
- Student, we will make every effort to ensure that you get an appointment and, if qualified, a visa in time to start classes.
- Medical and humanitarian emergency traveler, we will expedite processing for those dealing with life threatening emergencies.
- Business traveler, we will establish appropriate mechanisms to facilitate business travel and expedite cases of particular concern to American business.
At the same time, we expect you, the visa applicant, to:
- Plan your travel and visa application as far in advance as possible.
- Complete your application fully and accurately.
- Be forthcoming about your purpose and plans.
- Prepare for your interview by being able to clearly and concisely describe your intentions.