The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.
See our Directory of Visa Categories on usvisas.state.gov to determine which visa category might be appropriate for your purpose of travel to the United States.
Travel to the United States on a temporary basis, including tourism, temporary employment, study and exchange.
For foreign citizens who want to live permanently in the United States.
What is a Visa?
A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.
Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel. The Visa section of this website is all about U.S. visas for foreign citizens to travel to the United States.
(Note: U.S. citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit.).
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.
Visiting the Embassy
In accordance with security regulations, the following items are prohibited inside the U.S. Embassy:
- Weapons or explosive materials of any kind
- Sharp objects, such as scissors, pen knives, or nail files
- Laptops or larger electronic devices
- Personal electronic devices, including mobile phones, tablets, portable music players, smart watches and other smaller electronic devices.
- Cameras or video recorders
- Software and media, including remote controls, flash drives, CDs, DVDs, or Bluetooth-enabled devices
- Any bags, backpacks, briefcases, suitcases, leather bags, cloth bags, or shoulder bags.
- Food and beverage items, including bottled water (*baby formula/food may be excepted)
- Cigarettes (including electronic cigarettes), cigars, match boxes, and lighters
- Sealed packages
This list is not exhaustive. Other items may be prohibited at the discretion of the security staff.
The U.S. Embassy cannot store prohibited items for you. You will not be allowed to enter the embassy with prohibited items. Please make other arrangements to store prohibited items before entering the embassy. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in significant delays or cancellation of your appointment.
Access to the Consular Section waiting area is limited to the following:
Parents or legal guardians of applicants under 18 years old
Aides of disabled applicants
Visa appointment holders must have an appointment confirmation page and may not be admitted more than 15 minutes before or after their appointment.