International Services

Visitor Visas

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa. The visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to the United States port-of entry and request permission of the U.S. immigration inspector to enter the U.S. The "visitor" visa is a nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1) and for pleasure or medical treatment (B-2). As examples, if the purpose of your planned travel is recreational in nature, including tourism, amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment, and activities of a fraternal, social, or service nature, then a visitor visa (B-2) would be the appropriate type of visa for your travel. As additional examples, if the purpose for your planned travel is to consult with business associates, travel for a scientific, educational, and professional or business convention, or conference on specific dates, settle an estate, or negotiate a contract, then a business (B-1) visitor visa would be the appropriate type of visa for your travel.

  • You are reminded to carefully check that the correct visitor visa (b-1 or B-2) is noted in your documents by immigration officials
  • Changes introduced shortly after September 11, 2001 involve extensive and ongoing review of visa issuing practices as they relate to our national security. Visa applications are now subject to a greater degree of scrutiny than in the past. Therefore, it is important to apply for your visa well in advance of your travel departure date.
  • Foreign travelers, who are citizens from certain eligible countries, may also be able to visit the U.S. without a visa on the Visa Waiver Program. Please review the section on the Visa Waiver Program for further details.
  • Persons planning to travel to the U.S. for a different purpose such as students, temporary workers, crewmen, journalists, etc., must apply for a different visa in the appropriate category.

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Last Modified: February 12, 2014
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