What is a USA Visa?

To enter the United States, a citizen of a country other than the United States must obtain a visa. This is usually done through the passport. If they meet the visa-free travel requirements, international travelers may be able to travel to the United States without a visa. This website’s Visa section focuses on U.S visas for foreign nationals who wish to travel to the United States. Note: U.S. citizens do not need a visa to travel. However, if they plan on traveling abroad, they may require a visa from the Embassy of the country they want to visit. This is why learning more about visa requirements for travel abroad is essential. See the International Travel Section section on this website.

How to apply online for a Business or Tourist Visa to the U.S.

Find out how to apply for nonimmigrant visas for students, future spouses, and business travelers. Find out more about ESTA, the Visa Waiver Program, and how to apply for a job as a foreign worker in the United States.

Normal conditions

You might need a visa to transit or visit the U.S. if you plan to make a short business or tourist trip. These are the steps to follow:
Learn if you require a visa
You can check if your country participates in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. You will need a nonimmigrant visa to travel to the U.S. If your country is not listed.
Find out which visa is required for your trip.
Tourist and business travelers most commonly use B-1 and B-2 visitor visas.
Transit visas are less common.
Apply for a visa.
The procedure for applying for a visa varies depending on which U.S Embassy or Consulate you are using. Follow the instructions specific to the country you are in.

How to get the ESTA Authorization

Your ESTA will usually be valid for two years, but there are cases when you might need to apply for a new application:
Tourists visiting the U.S. to attend business meetings, conferences or tourism can stay up to 90 days in the USA without needing a visa.

Visas for Vocational and Student Training

International students can only apply for student or exchange visitor visas after they have been accepted by schools certified under the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System is where students’ records are kept. Find out more about SEVIS and SEVP, as well as the SEVIS fee.

The type of student visa you need will depend on your course of study, where you are studying, and whether you are participating in an exchange program.

F-1 and M-1 visas are the most popular student visas.

  • The F-1 visa is designed for full-time international students pursuing academic studies.
  • The M-1 visa is designed for full-time international students pursuing vocational studies.
You can learn more about the differences between F-1 visas (PDF, Download Adobe Reader) and how you can apply. The J-1 visa classification is also known as the exchange visitor program (EVP). This visa is granted to foreign nationals who are approved to participate in study-based or work-based exchange programs. You can find them as camp counselors, research assistants, and visiting scholars.
J-1 visa holders can stay for up to six months, depending on your agreement with your Department of State-approved sponsoring organization. Locate a Department of State-approved supporting program or organization.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Professional Visa

Please note that the State Department suspended routine visa services at all U.S. consulates and embassies temporarily in March 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In February 2021, routine visa services were resumed.

Nonimmigrant North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Professional Visa to Work in the U.S. is only available to citizens of Canada or Mexico. NAFTA Professional visa is classified as TN. It grants temporary entry to the U.S. for business activities at a professional level, and this can last up to three years.

The application process for Canadian and Mexican citizens differs depending on whether you receive a letter from the future employer confirming that you have been offered a job. Canadian citizens do not need a NAFTA Professional visa (TN). You can enter the U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry with your documentation and necessary paperwork. You will be interviewed to gain admission to the U.S.A as a nonimmigrant legally allowed to work in the country. Mexican Citizens: A NAFTA Professional (TN) visa is required. Fill out the online visa application form DS160 and print the confirmation page. Could you bring it with you to your interview? A photo is not necessary if you apply in Mexico.
This list includes details about what you should bring to an in-person interview and what information you need in a letter from your potential employer.

As a foreign worker, you can get a job in the US.

You may be eligible to travel to the U.S. based on your qualifications, circumstances, and job.
You may be eligible to work in the U.S. under certain conditions if you are a student abroad or an exchange visitor.

Apply for a Work Visa

You’ll need a visa to work in the United States as a foreign worker. Each visa type has its requirements, conditions, and deadlines.Visit the U.S. For a complete overview of each visa type and worker category, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).Use the Department of State’s Visa Wizard to find:

You will not be denied a visa as a temporary foreign worker while in the U.S. because you have complied with U.S. laws. Find out your rights and protections.You could lose your work visa if you break the terms. You may be deported, arrested, or denied entry to the U.S.Get help immediately if you suspect that you or someone you care about is being brought to America for human trafficking.

What is the difference between a USA Visa and ESTA Application?

ESTA Application

USA Visa

ESTA Application


* If you enter the US on a USA Visa issued by the Embassy, you are allowed to change your visa status after entering the United States. For example, if you have a B-2 Tourist visa and wish to study in the US, you can request a change of status to an F-1 Student Visa. You can also apply for a Green Card if you hold a valid USA visa after entering the US.