The United States welcomes travellers from all over the world who wish to visit temporarily or immigrate to the country.

Statutes govern immigration and visa policy

Congress has jurisdiction over immigration concerns, including the entry and exit of all travelers across the nation’s borders, determining who may enter, for how long, and when they must leave. As amended, the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) in Title 8 of the United States Code serves as the basis for immigration law. In addition, more current immigration regulations, such as the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002, affect visa processing.

Visa processing time specifics

Recent modifications to U.S. regulations controlling visa policy and processes have lengthened the time required to obtain a visa. Even with the improvements to visa processing that have been made, delays are inevitable at times.

There are only two possible results for visa applications to the United States. The visa will either be issued or denied by the consular officer. If a visa applicant has not demonstrated eligibility for a visa, the consular official must deny the application. However, some visa applications that are denied may require additional administrative processing. The duration of administrative processing will vary according to the specifics of each case.

The U.S. visa policy defines a foreign national’s standards to get a permit to travel, enter, and remain in the United States.

The United States immigration policy is standard for all 50 states and certain U.S. territories, including the United States Virgin Islands and Puerto RicoHowever, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa are subject to distinct visa procedures.

The visa requirements for travel to the United States vary based on the traveler’s nationality, the length of stay and the purpose the trip.

A few nationalities, including Canada, do not need a visa or travel authorisation to enter the country, some for a short time and others indefinitely.

Citizens of 39 other nations do not require a visa to enter or remain in the United States for short periods. However, they must register in advance for an electronic permission (ESTA) and receive clearance before leaving.

This quick and straightforward procedure requires filling out a brief online form.

Non-visa-exempt individuals must submit an application for a United States visa at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. It is vital to apply for the correct type of visa based on the reason for travel. This could be a student visa, a work visa, a visitor visa, an enterprise visa, or a transit visa.

Some nationalities will have to secure a standard visa from an embassy and an EVUS (U.S. Electronic Visa Update System) registration to obtain travel authorisation to the United States. This is the case for Chinese citizens.

Some nationalities have no visa alternatives for the United States due to visa limitations imposed by the United States on tourists from particular territories.

Visa Applicationsinformation centre

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