How to apply for a travel Visa to the US

Give yourself plenty of time to apply before your trip


(Para leer la versión en español hacer click en Noticias Relacionadas).

Every year millions of people visit the United States for pleasure, business, medical treatments and many other reasons. Regardless of the purpose of their visit, most of these foreigners will need a visa to enter the United States.

Visas Available
The Department of State is responsible for issuing non-immigrant visas. It does so through its embassies and consulates throughout the world.

There are several types of visas available, and the one you’ll need depends on the reason of your visit. Some of the most common ones are:

* B-1: Grants temporary permission to visit the U.S. for business reasons.
* B-2: Grants temporary permission to visit the U.S. for tourism or medical reasons.
* H-1B: For workers in highly specialized fields.
* H-2A: For temporary agricultural workers.
* I: For journalists and members of the media.

The Department of State has more information on other types of visas available on,, including work and student visas.

How to Get a Visa
To renew or obtain a new visa, contact the U.S embassy or consulate in your country of origin. The process can take several weeks, so it’s important to begin the application process with enough time before the travel date.

When applying for a visa, you should expect to:

* Learn about the requirements and schedule an appointment with consulate officials: the U.S. embassy or consulate determines the cost and acceptable ways to pay for the service. The embassy will provide instruction about who should attend the appointment and exactly which documents you’ll need.
* Gather necessary documents and information. Before going to the interview with consulate officials you should gather all of the information requested for each of the applicants. This might include a passport valid for up to six months after your visit to the United States has ended.
* Go to the interview on the scheduled date and time. Fill out and bring all of the documents requested. Officials will review the information. Your application may require additional security scrutiny which might delay the process.
* Get response from the embassy or consulate. You will be notified when your application is approved. You may be asked to pay a fee and leave your passport (as well as those of family members) so that officials can attach them to the document. You will be notified when the passport is ready to be picked up.

Advice for Travelers
Damaged or lost documents will complicate your visit to the United States. That’s why the State Department recommends that you:

* Make photocopies of all your travel documents, including your passport and visa, and share them with someone you trust in your home country.
* Once in the United States, make another set of photocopies and store your documents in a secure place that you can access quickly. and are the U.S. Government’s official web portals in English and Spanish, and part of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).