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The type of visa you must obtain is defined by U.S. immigration law, and relates to the purpose of your travel. Please visit our Visa Wizard to find out what visa type is appropriate for you. You can also visit our Frequently Asked Questions or find out about the Visa Waiver Program .
Other useful links: Visa Categories | Find a U.S. Embassy or Consulate | Glossary
Nonimmigrant visas allow people to visit the United States for short periods and for specific purposes. If you want to move here permanently, please see the information below on immigrant visas .
Tourism & Visit A foreign national traveling to the United States for tourism needs a visitor visa (B-2) unless qualifying for entry under the Visa Waiver Program. Tourism is a short visit for vacation, for visiting family and friends, or for medical treatment.
Study & Exchange The United States supports international education and welcomes foreign students and exchange visitors. Before applying for a visa, students and exchange visitors must be accepted by their schools or program sponsors.
Business A foreign national traveling to the United States to conduct temporary business needs a visitor visa (B-1) unless qualifying for entry under the Visa Waiver Program.
Employment To work in the United States temporarily as a lawful nonimmigrant, temporary workers must qualify for the available visa category based on the planned employment purpose.
Other Visa Categories In addition to tourism, visits, business, employment, study and exchange, and immigration, there are other reasons for traveling to the United States, which also generally require a visa.
Do you want to immigrate to the United States, meaning you want to move here permanently? Do you want to sponsor someone to immigrate? Immigrant visas are based on family ties, employment, and the diversity visa. If you want to visit for a short period for a specific purpose, please learn about nonimmigrant visas above.
Family Based For certain family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders).
Employment For permanent employment or investment by entrepreneurs.
Diversity Visa Annual program making a limited number of visas available to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements.
Additional U.S. Government Resources
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Generally, if you want to visit ( and not live in ) the United States you must first obtain a visitor visa . Travelers from certain countries may be exempt from this requirement. For more information, please see the U.S. Department of State website .
If you want to travel to the United States for reasons other than business or pleasure, you must apply for a visa in the appropriate category. This includes if you want to study, work as a crew member or journalist, etc. You can get help determining which visa you need by using the Explore My Options page.
Extending Your Visit
If Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authorizes your admission to the United States at the designated port of entry, you will receive a stamped Form I-94, Record of Arrival-Departure . If you wish to stay beyond the time indicated on the Form I-94, you may apply for an extension by filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status , with USCIS.
If You Lose Form I-94
You may apply for a replacement Form I-94 by filing a Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record .
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DS-160: Frequently Asked Questions
Completing the ds-160.
Important Notice: Take care to answer all questions on the DS-160 accurately and completely; otherwise, you may have to correct your application and reschedule your visa interview appointment.
Electronically submitting your DS-160 online application is only the first step in the visa application process. Once you have electronically submitted your DS-160 online application, you must contact the embassy or consulate at which you wish to apply to confirm whether you need to be interviewed by a consular officer, and to schedule an interview. You can find a list of U.S. embassies and consulates here , with links to their websites where you can find information about scheduling a visa interview appointment. If the embassy or consulate at which you apply informs that you must have a visa interview, the visa application process cannot be completed until you appear for an interview with a consular officer.
Accessing the DS-160
Where can i find the ds-160.
Access the DS-160 here, by clicking: Consular Electronic Application Center website .
You may wish to preview a sample DS-160 (10.1MB) before beginning.
I am having problems accessing the DS-160.
Use only Internet Explorer 11 or higher, Firefox, or Google Chrome 58 when completing your appplication. Safari and Microsoft Edge are not supported .
What documents do I need to have with me while I complete the DS-160?
You should have the following documents available while you complete your DS-160:
- Travel itinerary , if you have already made travel arrangements.
- Dates of your last five visits or trips to the United States , if you have previously travelled to the United States. You may also be asked for your international travel history for the past five years.
- Résumé or Curriculum Vitae - You may be required to provide information about your current and previous education and work history.
- Other Information - Some applicants, depending on the intended purpose of travel, will be asked to provide additional information when completing the DS-160.
Some applicants will need to have additional information and documents handy while completing the DS-160:
- Students and Exchange Visitors (F, J, and M) : You will be asked to provide your SEVIS ID, which is printed on your I-20 or DS-2019 , so you should have this form available when completing your DS-160. You also will be asked to provide the address of the school/program at which you intend to study. This information should also be on your I-20 or DS-2019 form.
- Petition-based Temporary Workers (H-1B, H-2, H-3, CW1, L, O, P, R, E2C): You should have a copy of your I-129 available when completing your DS-160.
- Other Temporary Workers: You will be asked for information about your employer, including the employer’s address, while completing your DS-160.
Can my answers be in my native language?
No. All answers must be in English, using English characters only, except when you are asked to provide your full name in your native alphabet. Applications submitted in any language other than English will be denied, and you may be required to submit a new application.
While you must answer all questions in English, translations of questions are available in many languages from the drop-down menu in the right upper corner of the application. These translations should assist you in completing the form in English.
Are all questions on the DS-160 mandatory?
Most questions are mandatory and must be answered in the spaces provided. You may leave spaces blank when the questions are marked “optional.” You may answer a question with “Does Not Apply,” when that question does not apply to you; however, all other questions must be answered. The system will not allow you to submit an application with any mandatory questions left unanswered. If you do not complete a mandatory question, the system will display an error message and require you to answer the question before continuing with the application. If you do not answer questions that apply to your circumstances and/or purpose of travel, the system will not accept your application.
Are additional forms required?
No. The online DS-160 application replaced the DS-156, DS-157, DS-158, and DS-3032, which are no longer necessary. NOTE : In addition to the DS-160, Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor visa applicants also must complete an additional form (see the Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor, E Visa Applicants section below for more information).
What happens to my DS-160 if I select a U.S. Embassy or Consulate where I will be applying for my visa, but end up making an interview appointment instead at another U.S. Embassy or Consulate?
The Embassy or Consulate at which you actually apply should be able to access your form using the barcode on your DS-160 confirmation page, which you must bring to the visa interview. For example, a business traveler intends to apply for his visa at the U.S. Embassy in City X, so he selects City X as the location where he will submit his application when he completes his DS-160. He then has an urgent reason to travel to City Y on business. Because there is a U.S. Consulate in City Y, he schedules an appointment for a visa interview there, using the barcode from his completed DS-160 application for appointment scheduling. The U.S. Consulate in City Y is able to accept his DS-160 even though it lists the U.S. Embassy in City X as the location where he originally intended to submit his application.
Completing Specific DS-160 Questions
How do i sign the ds-160 form.
You electronically sign your DS-160 by clicking the “Sign Application” button at the end of the form. Failure to sign may result in termination of the application. Your electronic signature certifies that you have read and understood the questions in the application and that your answers are true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief. The submission of an application containing any false or misleading statements may result in the permanent refusal of a visa or denial of entry into the United States. All declarations made in the application are unsworn declarations made under penalty of perjury.
Unless you are exempted from appearing in person, your fingerprints will be electronically scanned on the day of your interview. By providing your fingerprints, you will again certify that that you have answered all questions on the DS-160 truthfully and to the best of your knowledge, and that you will tell the truth during your visa interview. You will be directed to read the following statement prior to having your fingerprints scanned:
“By submitting my fingerprint, I am certifying under penalty of perjury that I have read and understood the questions in my visa application and that all statements that appear in my visa application have been made by me and are true and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Furthermore, I certify under penalty of perjury that I will tell the truth during my interview and that all statements made by me during my interview will be complete to the best of my ability.”
Can a third party complete the form on my behalf? Who is exempt from signing the form?
If an applicant is illiterate or unable to complete the application, the applicant must be assisted by a third party. The third party must be identified on the “Sign and Submit” page of the application. While the third party can assist the applicant in completing the application, he or she must instruct the applicant on how to endorse the application on his or her own behalf by clicking the “Sign Application” button.
If the applicant is under the age of 16 or physically incapable of completing an application, the applicant’s parents or guardian may complete and click the “Sign Application” button on his or her behalf. If the applicant has no parent or legal guardian, then the application may be completed by any person having legal custody of, or a legitimate interest in, the applicant.
The DS-160 contains terms that I am not familiar with. Are these terms explained?
Explanations of the following terms contained in the online DS-160 form are available to you as help topics while you complete the DS-160 and are also provided below.
Enter all surnames (or family names) exactly as they are written in your passport. If only one name is written in your passport, enter that as your “Surname.”
Help: Given Names
If your passport does not include a first or given name, please enter 'FNU' (meaning “first name unknown”) in the space for “Given Names.”
Help: Other Names
Other names used include your maiden name, religious name, professional name, or any other name by which you are or have been known.
Make sure to enter the other names you have used in full. Thus, if you have only used another surname, enter it along with your usual given name. If you have only used another given name, enter it along with your usual surname.
Telecodes are four-digit code numbers that represent characters in some non-Roman alphabet names.
Help: Date of Birth
Enter as shown in your passport.
Help: Place of Birth
Please choose the name currently used for the place where you were born.
You must provide a primary phone number. The primary phone number should be the phone number at which you are most likely to be reached; this could be a land line or a cellular/mobile number. If you have an additional land line or a cellular/mobile number please list that as your secondary phone number.
Help: Identification Numbers
Your National ID Number is a unique number that your government may have provided. For example, the U.S. Government gives unique numbers to people looking to work or who pay taxes.
Help: Other Nationality
Enter all nationalities you currently hold and all nationalities you have previously held (including United States, if applicable), regardless of whether you have formally and/or legally relinquished the nationality. If the country where you previously held nationality no longer exists, choose the name of the country that is currently used for that location. (For example, if you used to be a citizen of the former East Germany, choose “Germany.”)
Help: Permanent Resident
Permanent resident means any individual who has been legally granted by a country/region permission to live and work without time limitation in that country/region.
Help: Passport/Travel Document Number
Enter the number of the passport or travel document you will use to travel to the United States. This passport/document must still be valid, and must identify you and your nationality.
Help: Passport Book Number
The Passport Book Number is commonly called the inventory control number. You may or may not have a Passport Book Number on your passport. If you do, the location of the Passport Book Number on your passport may vary depending on the country that issued your passport. Please contact your passport issuing authority if you are unable to determine whether or not your passport contains a Passport Book Number.
Help: Expiration Date
In most cases your passport or travel document must be valid for at least six months after your arrival in the United States.
Help: Application Receipt/Petition Number
If you are applying for a petition-based visa, your application receipt/petition number was given to you by the Department of Homeland Security’s U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) after you filed your petition application at a USCIS Service Center. The application receipt/petition number is 13 characters long and the first three characters are letters.
Help: Previous Employer
Please enter information regarding your previous two employers only. Applicants may choose to bring along a separate written list of all previous employers to the visa interview for reference.
Saving Your DS-160 and Returning to a Partially Completed DS-160
How can i save my application can i stop in the middle of the application and return to it later.
You can save your application or return to a partially completed application. When you begin a new DS-160, you will be issued a unique application identification (ID) number after selecting and answering a security question. Once you have your application ID number and have selected and answered a security question, you may exit the DS-160 application and return to it later. You must have your application ID to return to your application . To save your DS-160 to the Consular Electronic Application Center website, click the “Next” button at the bottom of each page you complete. You have 30 days to return to a partially completed application . To access your application after 30 days, you must save it to your computer hard drive or a disk, as explained in the FAQ below.
How do I save my DS-160 application to my computer hard drive or a disk?
Saving to a hard drive or disk will allow you to access your application after 30 days . To permanently save your application to your computer hard drive or a disk, select the “Save Application to File” button. Then, click the “Save” button on the File Download window. Identify a place on your computer to save the application, browse to that location, and click the “Save” button on the “Save As” window. The system will download your application to the specified location. Once the download is complete, you can click “Close” to return to the live application on our website. Note: Applications saved to the hard drive of a public or shared computer or memory device could likely be accessed by anyone else who uses the computer or device after you.
I apply for U.S. visas often. Can I reuse the DS-160?
Yes, you can use information from a previously submitted DS-160 to populate some fields on a new form. There are two ways that you can do this. First, if you plan to apply for a visa in the future, save your DS-160 to your hard drive or a disk using the instructions in the FAQ above. When you go to apply for your new visa you can then select “Option B-Upload a Previously Saved Application” on the Getting Started page. Alternately, if your previous visa application was submitted after November 1, 2010, you can select “Option C-Retrieve Application,” enter your previous visa application ID, and then hit “Create a New Application.” Your personal information will then populate the form. Be careful to check that all previously submitted information is current and accurate.
What if I lose my internet connection, the application “times out,” or I receive an error? Will my application be lost?
Why did the edits i made from the review page "edit" link not save.
In order for data changes made from the review page links to save, you must use the buttons at the bottom of each page to navigate, instead of the browser's back/forward buttons or the buttons along the side of the screen.
Uploading a Photo to Your DS-160
I understand that i can upload a photo with my application. how do i get a digital photo that will successfully upload to my application.
Please refer to the Photograph Requirements for detailed guidance.
The confirmation page has an "X" in the box where the photo should be. What does that mean?
That means that the photo upload failed. Therefore, you should submit one printed photograph meeting our requirements, along with the online DS-160 confirmation page, to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at which you plan to apply for your visa. Please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you are applying for specific instructions on how to do this. See the print photo format found in the Photograph Requirements for more information. If the confirmation page includes a photo image, then the photo upload function was successful and no separate print photograph is required.
Correcting Answers on a Submitted DS-160
The u.s. embassy or consulate where i went for my visa interview denied my application because my ds-160 contained errors or was incomplete. what does this mean and what do i need to do next.
DS-160 applications submitted before April 1, 2010 cannot be reopened, and therefore, you must complete and submit a new DS-160.
The Embassy or Consulate should reopen your DS-160 submitted after April 1, 2010 if your application is denied for this reason and ask you to correct it , as explained below:
- DS-160 applications submitted on or after November 1, 2010: Enter your application ID number and answer additional questions as prompted to access and correct your application.
- DS-160 applications submitted on or after April 1, 2010, but before November 1, 2010: Enter your barcode or confirmation number into the Application ID field and answer additional questions as prompted to access and correct your application.
After I have corrected or completed my DS-160 application, do I need to schedule a new appointment or return to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate?
Ds-160 confirmation page, should i bring my entire application or just the confirmation page with me to the interview.
You are not required to bring your entire application. For your interview, you are required to bring your confirmation page with your application ID number on it so we can retrieve your DS-160. You must bring the confirmation page with you during all phases of the application process. Without the confirmation page, we may not be able to process your visa case.
I submitted my online DS-160 application, but lost my confirmation page. Can I print a new one?
Yes, you can reprint the confirmation page of an application that has already been submitted. In order to do so, go into the Consular Electronic Application Center website and select the Embassy or Consulate at which you are applying. Hit “Option C-Retrieve Application” on the Getting Started page and enter your application ID number. From there you will be able to view and print your confirmation page.
I am traveling with my family or as part of a group. can i create a family or group application.
Yes. When you select “Email Confirmation” on your Confirmation Page, you will be directed to a “Thank You” page. On the “Thank You” page you will see an option to create a family or group application. When you select this option, certain information from your application, such as destination, will automatically be imported to and displayed on a new application. Please note that if you use this option you must create an individual application for each family member or for each individual within the group.
If I use the option on the "Thank You" page to create a family or group application, can I modify the data automatically populated by the system?
Yes. If one of the dependents has a different surname or nationality, for example, you can alter that data before submitting the application.
Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor, E Visa Applicants
I am applying for a treaty trader/treaty investor, e visa. do i need to fill out the ds-160 and the ds-156e.
It depends. If you are a Treaty Investor (E-2) applicant, you need only complete the DS-160. If you are a Treaty Trader (E-1) or an Executive/Manager/Essential Employee (E-1 or E-2), you must complete the DS-160, and you or your employer must complete the paper DS-156E form.
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U.S. Embassy & Consulates in the United Kingdom
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Important: Please keep checking our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the latest information about travel to the United States and visa services in the UK.
Applicants under 14 or 80 and over may be eligible to apply by courier. Click here for further information .
If you are applying for a visa for the first time, or are applying to renew a visa, you are required to take the same steps.
Step One: Complete the online DS-160 and print the confirmation page for each person applying for a visa, regardless of age. Answer the questions to the best of your ability; we cannot assist you in completing the form. Before you begin, see our video and SlideShare presentation for additional tips, and information on photo specifications.
Step Two: Go to https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-gb to pay the MRV application fee and schedule an interview, or obtain information on applying for the visa by courier. Click on “Apply” if you are a first time user or “Continue” if you already have an account.
After creating your account, please follow the process and guidance for each person applying for a visa.
Please note: Appointments cannot be scheduled by email.
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ESTA OR VISA? DETERMINE WHAT TRAVEL DOCUMENT YOU NEED TO VISIT USA
Take the test below and find out if you need a visa or if you are allowed to visit the USA under the Visa Waiver Program with an ESTA Travel Document. The test is 100% free, secure and confidential.
ESTA (ELECTRONIC SYSTEM FOR TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION)
The American Visa Waiver Program allows travelers from selected countries to enter the US without a visa. Instead, travelers from these countries may apply for an ESTA Travel Authorization via an online application form. The ESTA Travel Authorization may be printed and brought with the traveler when entering the US via air or sea. The application is only available online, and the approved ESTA document will be sent to the applicant via email within 72 hours. The document is valid for 2 years and can be used for multiple entries. However, if the applicant changes passport details, or any other personal information, the ESTA has to be renewed.
- Only citizens of Visa Waiver Countries can apply
- Online application
- Valid for stays up to 90 days only
- Change of status in the U.S. is not allowed
- Can be used for tourism, business or medical purposes
- Is usually valid for 2 years
- Required for entry via air or sea (not land borders)
- Electronic or machine-readable passport required
- Required for check-in at airports and with sea carriers
B-2 TOURIST VISA
The B-2 visa is defined as a visa for travelers that has citizenship in a foreign country that wishes to visit the US for leisure. The B-2 visa applicant may not apply for the purpose of study or work. However, incidental study programs that are considered recreational and does not offer any credit are allowed. Commonly, a citizen of a foreign country that wish to enter the US must first apply and acquire a visa. It can be a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. B1/B2 visas are nonimmigrant visas for travelers who want to enter the US only temporarily for business (B-1), pleasure, tourism or visiting (B-2), or in some cases a combination of both
- Anyone can apply for a B-2 Tourist Visa
- Application form must be completed online
- In-person interview required (in most cases)
- Application process can take weeks or months
- Change of status in the U.S. is allowed
- Is normally valid for 1-10 years
- Required for entry via air, sea or land borders
Check the status of your Esta
Complete the online ESTA Verification Application Form and receive your ESTA via email within 72 hours. You may print and bring it when entering the US.
Eligible for ESTA
You may update your ESTA before traveling to the US. The fields you can update are the email address and accommodation address. Complete the online ESTA Update Application Form and receive the updated ESTA via email within 72 hours. You may print and bring it when entering the US.
You may apply for ESTA to visit the US. Complete the online ESTA Application Form and receive the ESTA Document via email within 72 hours. You may print and bring it when entering the US.
Not Eligible for ESTA
You already have a US visa but need to renew it. Download our visa renewal guide and become an expert on the complex US visa process before applying.
You need a new visa to visit the US. Download our visa guide and become an expert on the complex US visa process before applying.
Crossing the border by land
You do not need an ESTA or a visa if you hold a passport from one of the selected Visa Waiver Countries when crossing the US border by land. However, you are required to hand in a completed I-94W form before venturing into the US.
U.S. Embassy & Consulates in India
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Important Service Update Please note that our customer service center has migrated to a new platform. Applicants may now direct any visa-related inquiries to [email protected] . Important Notice: DS-160 Acceptance Policy When booking your visa appointment, you must ensure that you, or your representative, submit a properly completed DS-160 form (online visa application). If you submit an improperly filled DS-160 form on or after November 15, 2023, you will not be allowed to attend your Visa Application Center (VAC) or document drop off appointment and will need to reschedule. If you booked your appointment before November 15, 2023, with an improperly filled DS-160 OR you have made minor corrections to your DS-160, you must bring the confirmation page from the original DS-160 AND the corrected DS-160 to your VAC or document drop-off appointment. If you do not appear with both confirmation pages, you will be required to reschedule the appointment. For more information see our FAQs below. Frequently Asked Questions Why is this policy being implemented? In order to maintain the integrity and security of the visa application process it is important to ensure that visa application data is submitted correctly. Improperly filled DS-160s also create significant additional work for our VACs, document drop-off locations, and consular teams. By eliminating this additional workload, we can devote more time to processing incoming applications and reduce wait times for all applicants. How can I avoid having my appointment cancelled? Make sure that you, or your representative, submit a DS-160 that is properly completed. If you hire a visa agent for assistance, it may help to complete the DS-160 yourself before you approach the agent. Under no circumstances should you submit, or allow anyone to submit on your behalf, an improperly filled DS-160 application as a placeholder as this will result in loss of your appointment. The application fee for visitor and certain other non-immigrant visa categories will increase from $160 to $185, effective June 17, 2023. Similarly, the application fee for certain petition-based nonimmigrant visas for temporary workers (H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories) will increase from $190 to $205. Applicants who paid for their visa application before June 17, 2023 will not be charged any additional fees. For more information click here . Important Notice: Visa Fee Validity All nonimmigrant visa application fee (also known as the MRV fee) payments made on or after October 1, 2022, are valid for 365 days from the date a receipt is issued for payment of the MRV fee. Applicants must schedule an in-person or interview waiver appointment during this 365-day period. Please note applicants must only schedule their in-person or interview waiver appointment within the 365-day period. There is no requirement the interview or VAC appointment must occur during the 365-day period. All receipts for payment of MRV fees issued before October 1, 2022, were extended until September 30, 2023, and remain valid until this date. Important Notice: Interview Waiver Processing Applicants renewing any visa in the same category within 48 months of expiration are eligible for interview waiver. The Department of State has also authorized consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for travelers applying for F, H-1, H-3, H-4, non-blanket L, M, O, P, Q, and academic J visas who were previously issued any type of visa, if they are applying for a visa in their country of nationality or residence. This authorization does not apply to applicants who have a previous refusal that was not subsequently waived or overcome. Adjudicating consular officers may request an in-person interview if additional information is required from applicants. Applicants applying through the interview waiver process should allow up to three weeks from the time a passport has been accepted at the Visa Application Center until the passport is delivered or they are notified that the passport is ready for pickup. Note that during this period it will not be possible to withdraw the passport or expedite the processing under any circumstances. For more information see: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/important-announcement-on-waivers-of-the-interview-requirement-for-certain-nonimmigrant-visas.html Vaccination Required for Travel: Noncitizen nonimmigrant air passengers will no longer need to show proof of being fully vaccinated with an accepted COVID-19 vaccine to board a flight to the United States. For more information please see: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/05/01/the-biden-administration-will-end-covid-19-vaccination-requirements-for-federal-employees-contractors-international-travelers-head-start-educators-and-cms-certified-facilities/ As of June 12, 2022, travelers are no longer required to show a negative COVID-19 test result prior to boarding a U.S.-bound flight. Interview Waiver Appointments : Consular sections across India are now accepting a limited number of drop box applications for renewals of H, L, C1/D, O, I, F, M, and J visas at our Visa Application Centers. Please visit our website to determine whether you are eligible for drop box processing and schedule an appointment for document drop-off. A list of drop-off locations is available on our website. How to Request an Expedited Appointment: Applicants can request an expedited appointment through our online appointment system at https://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/en/expedited-appointment . You must already have a confirmed interview appointment date in order to request an expedited appointment. If your expedited appointment request is approved, you will be notified with instructions via email. You should not cancel your existing appointment unless you receive a confirmation that your request for an expedited appointment has been approved. If you have not yet received an approval or denial, your request is still under consideration. Expedited appointment slots are very limited. Please note that due to the high volume of requests, we cannot accommodate all travelers prior to their planned travel dates, even if the purpose of travel is time sensitive.
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.
Immigrant visas, 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.).
Do you need assistance applying for a visa? Our navigators will guide you to information that you need, and help you ask us for assistance.
- U.S. Embassy New Delhi: https://tinyurl.com/NewDelhiVisasNav
- U.S. Consulate General Mumbai: https://tinyurl.com/MumbaiVisasNav
- U.S. Consulate General Chennai: https://tinyurl.com/ChennaiVisasNav
- U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad: https://tinyurl.com/HyderabadVisasNav
- U.S. Consulate General Kolkata: https://tinyurl.com/KolkataVisasNav
To contact a customer service representative, please visit the GSS Contact Us page for full information or use contact information below:
- E-mail: [email protected] This is the fastest and best way to reach us. We read every email and strive to reply within 3 working days. Occasionally, complicated requests can take longer.
- Telephone: (91-22) 62011000 and 1-703-520-2239 (for all calls from the United States)
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.
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Europe’s Tourist ‘Visa’ Has Been Postponed—Here’s What to Know
By Jessica Poitevien
In 2016, the European Commission first introduced the idea of a new pre-entry requirement that many likened to a tourist visa . After years of delays and false starts, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) was set to launch in early 2024, but a recent statement revealed that implementation has been postponed yet again.
The timeline adjustment was announced by the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs Council on Oct. 19, citing the need for new technology to make the ETIAS rollout possible. “The new roadmap for the delivery of the new IT architecture foresees… that ETIAS will be ready to enter into operation in Spring 2025,” read a statement detailing the Council’s meeting . Before the latest set of delays, ETIAS was scheduled to go live in 2021—before being pushed back to November 2023.
So, what's the holdup? This postponement is due, in large part, to setbacks in the building of another new IT infrastructure in Europe: the Entry/Exit System (EES), which will replace manual passport stamping with electronic registration. According to European Commission Spokesperson Anitta Hipper, ETIAS cannot launch until EES is fully operational as the traveler authorization system will rely on EES data to identify potential risks.
The contractor in charge of creating these IT systems, eu-LISA, estimates that EES will launch in autumn 2024, with ETIAS following approximately six months later. “The revised timeline… is linked to several factors, which include delays in developing the system at the central level by the contractor, but also in [EU] Member States when it comes to delays in preparation for the necessary equipment to use the EES at the border crossing points,” Hippie explained to Condé Nast Traveler via email. “The Commission will continue working very closely with Member States and eu-LISA to minimize the impact of the delays and deliver interoperability under this mandate.”
When the new authorization system is eventually implemented, travelers with passports from visa-exempt countries will have to apply for ETIAS online prior to their arrival in Europe. This requirement will affect citizens from the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, among dozens of other countries. Unlike traditional visas, the application process for ETIAS is relatively quick and easy—it’s also inexpensive, costing only €7 (about $8) for a three-year approval.
Travelers will simply fill out an online form with their basic biographical data and travel history. They’ll also respond to several security questions, and if everything checks out, they’ll receive approval via email within an hour. This will be the case for most travelers, although some may require additional security checks that prolong the process to up to 96 hours.
“I do not see [ETIAS] as a big deal considering I am from the US and have a lot of passport privilege,” said Sojourner White , a remote social worker and travel content creator who once lived in Europe and plans to travel back there in the near future. “We are just not used to having travel restrictions, so people are freaking out, but honestly paying $8 is so much cheaper than what other people have to pay in order to travel in Europe.”
She does, however, believe that the delay is only going to further confuse travelers, especially when ETIAS is eventually implemented. “The constant rescheduling of the launch reminds me of the real ID issues in the US. When you put out information prematurely people make plans with that information,” White said. “I foresee some problems, at least in the beginning, with people being confused as to what they need to do, especially if they are not seasoned travelers or it’s their first trip to Europe.”
Her best advice for newer travelers so they don’t get caught off-guard?
“Be in tune with the US Department of State website. They have the Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (STEP) that I recommend everybody sign up for, too, so that you can be notified of changes that may be happening as you are traveling.”
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How much will South Africans pay for a Schengen Visa? Photo: canva
How much does it cost to apply for a Schengen Visa?
Want to start your application for a Schengen Visa before you travel? Here’s how much application fees will set you back…
South African travellers wanting to travel to European countries like Greece, Italy and Germany will have to first apply for a Schengen Visa. This application can be a lengthy one and requires several documents to be filled in and supplied, along with a fee that needs to be paid.
If you’re wondering how much Schengen Visa application fees are for South Africans, here’s what you need to know before you set out applying…
How much for a Schengen Visa?
According to Schengenvisa.info , all visitors wishing to visit a Schengen area in Europe will need to pay a non-refundable administration fee when applying for their Schengen visa, in order for their visa application to be processed.
ALSO READ: Here are the best countries to visit in 2024, according to Lonely Planet
This fee for South African citizens is €80 (equivalent to around R1 613.47 ) per adult.
Children between the ages of six and twelve pay a reduced fee of €40 (about R806.74 ) per child. Children under the age of six are 100% exempt from these application fee.
ALSO READ: South Africans can now travel to another African country visa-free
South African citizens will have to pay the fee in South African rands when submitting the Schengen visa application at the embassy/consulate of the Schengen country for which they’re applying to visit within South Africa.
ALSO READ: The EU countries mostly likely to approve your Schengen visa
They will have to pay the above fees whenever they apply for a short-term visa to any of the following European/Schengen countries:
- Czech Republic
It’s also worth noting that these visa fee are non-refundable, whether you receive approval of the visa or not.
For more information, check here .
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- Entering and staying in the UK
Apply for an electronic travel authorisation (ETA)
Information on who can get an ETA and how to apply before coming to the UK.
An ETA gives you permission to travel to the UK.
Who can apply
If you’re a national of qatar.
You can get an ETA if you’re travelling to the UK on or after 15 November 2023.
If you’re a national of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates
You can get an ETA if you’re travelling to the UK on or after 22 February 2024. You’ll be able to apply from 1 February 2024.
If you’re a national of another country
You do not need an ETA . More nationalities will be able to apply later.
What you can do with an ETA
You can get an ETA instead of a visa if you’re:
- coming to the UK for up to 6 months for tourism, visiting family and friends, business or short-term study
- coming to the UK for up to 3 months on the Creative Worker visa concession
- transiting through the UK – including if you’re not going through UK border control
If you’re coming to the UK for another reason, check if you need a visa instead .
Who does not need an ETA
You do not need an ETA if you have either:
- permission to live, work or study in the UK
- a British or Irish passport
You may not need an ETA if you live in Ireland .
How much it costs
It costs £10 to apply. Everyone travelling needs to get an ETA , including babies and children. You can apply for other people.
You cannot get a refund after you apply.
Before you start
- the passport you’ll travel with - not a photocopy
- access to your emails
- a credit card, debit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay
You’ll need to upload or take photos of the:
- face of the person applying
You do not need to enter your travel details.
Apply for an ETA
The fastest way to apply is using the UK ETA app.
Download on the App Store
Download on Google Play
Help with the app
You can read the guide on using the UK ETA app .
If you cannot use the app
You can apply online .
If you’re applying for someone else who’s not with you, you should apply online.
How long it takes
You’ll usually get a decision within 3 working days, but you may get a quicker decision.
Occasionally, it may take longer than 3 working days.
If you need to travel soon
You must apply for an ETA before you travel to the UK. You can travel to the UK while waiting for a decision.
After you apply
You’ll get an email confirming you’ve got an ETA . We’ll link it to the passport you applied with.
Your ETA lasts for 2 years. You can travel to the UK as many times as you want during that time.
If you get a new passport, you’ll need to get a new ETA.
You still need to see a Border Force officer to enter the UK .
An ETA does not guarantee entry to the UK.
Use the ETA contact form if you need help.
You can also watch videos on:
- what an ETA is
- how to apply for a UK ETA
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