Nonimmigrant Visas: Tourism & Visit

The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides several categories of nonimmigrant visas for those who want to visit or work temporarily in the United States.

You can find out more about each type of visa from the travel.state.gov website, or by clicking on the Visa Types below. To Apply for a Visa, follow the steps above.

Tourism & Visit Visa Type

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), tourism, pleasure or visiting (visa category B-2), or a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).

Here are some examples of activities permitted with a visitor visa:

  • tourism
  • vacation (holiday)
  • visit with friends or relatives
  • medical treatment
  • participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
  • participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating
  • enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation)

Visa Waiver Program

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens or nationals of certain participating countries to travel to the United States without a visa but must meet  all the following requirements:

  • Plan to travel to the U.S. for 90 days or less;
  • Starting January 12, 2009, have an approved Electronic Travel Authorization (ESTA). ESTA is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP); note that multiple ESTA applications can be submitted at the same time for persons traveling in groups.
  • Are traveling for tourism or business;
  • Carry a electronic passport which, in most cases, must be valid for at least six months after your expected departure from the U.S.;
  • Have a return ticket or onward ticket to most non U.S. destinations;

For information about the visa waiver program, please click here

  • NOTE: If you are a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program partner but have received notice that you are no longer eligible to travel to the United States under that program, you should apply for a nonimmigrant visa and schedule a visa appointment in advance of your desired travel.