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:
- consult with business associates
- attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference
- settle an estate
- negotiate a contract
- Learn more about Business Travel to the United States (PDF - 362 KB) on a visitor visa.
- vacation (holiday)
- visit with friends or relatives
- medical treatment
- participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
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
Learn more about Visitor Visas - Business and Pleasure (PDF - 1020 KB).
How to apply?
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply.
Complete the Online Visa Application
- - Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 – Learn more about completing the DS-160.
- 1) complete the online visa application and
- 2) print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.
- - Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
Schedule an Interview
While interviews are generally not required for applicants of certain
ages outlined below, consular officers have the discretion to require an interview of any applicant, regardless of age.
You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at any
U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be difficult to
qualify for a visa outside of your place of permanent residence.
Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early.