Citizens of 36 countries who also meet the requirements for Electronic System for Travel Authorization are eligible to travel to the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program. The VWP allows visitors to travel to the United States for leisure and business-related activities of up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your planned departure date from the United States.
Visitors from some countries will be required to have passports containing biometric chips to be eligible for the VWP. Citizens and permanent residents of Canada and Bermuda are generally eligible to travel to the United States for up to 180 days without a visa. Citizens of Mexico must have either a visa or a Border Crossing Card to enter the United States.
If you a non-American citizen or permanent resident and you are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program and you are not an eligible citizen of Canada, Mexico or Bermuda, you must obtain a visa to enter the United States for visits of any length. If you do not intend to emigrate permanently to the US, you must complete the Form D S-160 Nonimmigrant Visa application before arriving in the United States. You may complete the application online. In nearly all cases, after completing the application, you must print out a copy of the barcode page, pay the appropriate fee and schedule an interview with your embassy or consulate to complete the application process.
- Passport (valid for at least six months after planned departure date)
- Travel Itinerary (if available)
- Dates of last five visits to the United States (or travel history for the past five years)
- Resume or CV (to answer questions relating to your education and work history)
- Digital photo meeting photo requirements (you may also need to bring a printed photo to your interview)
In addition, visitors from most countries will be required to be fingerprinted and photographed upon entering the United States, even under the VWP. Most Canadian citizens presenting Canadian passports and citizens of Mexico presenting a Border Crossing Card who are traveling entirely within the border zone between Mexico and the United States are exempt from this requirement. Visitors from other countries who are under the age of 14 or over the age of 79 and certain other visitors designated by the United States Department of State are also exempt from the fingerprint and photograph requirement.
If you want to temporarily extend your stay in the United States, you must file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before your authorized stay expires. You must submit a copy of Form I-94, Nonimmigrant Arrival Departure Record along with your application. Your passport must remain valid for the entire period of your requested extension. You may not apply to extend your stay if you entered the United States through the VWP.
Citizens of Puerto Rico and other territories held by the United States do not need either a visa or a passport to enter the United States, and may remain in the country indefinitely. If you claim United States citizenship (born in the United States or born abroad with one or both parents holding American citizenship), you should not apply for a visa to enter the United States.
B-1 Visitor Visa
If you are traveling to the United States to attend a conference or convention, conduct business for your company, negotiate a contract, participate in a short-term craning program or settle an estate, you may qualify for a B-1 visitor visa that allows you to remain in the United States for the duration of your business transaction, conference, convention or training program.