Are Visas Required to Visit the US?

Many people visit the United States every year, but before trying to enter the country, you may need a visa.

Anyone who enters the United States must show certain travel documents. Sometimes that is something as simple as a passport, while other times, a person may have to apply for and obtain a visa before they are granted entry into the United States. The documents you need will largely depend on the country you are visiting from, as well as your immigrant or citizenship status. If you are considering visiting the United States, find out below whether you are going to need a visa to enter the country.

Types of Visas Necessary for Entry

Foreign nationals often need to apply for a visa through an embassy or consulate before they arrive in the United States. The only exception to this are foreign nationals who are from one of the 39 countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program. Still, most foreign nationals from these countries must still have a valid passport they can show to obtain entry into the U.S. In some cases, the passport may also have to be valid for six months after the date of entry.

Visitors on the Visa Waiver Program, who complete a brief application via a program called ESTA, are allowed to stay for 90 days, while visitors with a tourist visa are typically allowed to visit for six months on each stay.

For those who do require a visa to enter the country, the type of visa required will depend on the reason for the visit. Some of the most common visas requested by travelers include immigrant visas for permanent residency, visitor visas for tourism or business, visas for students (such as the F-1 or J-1 visa), business or professional visas for citizens of Mexico and Canada, and transit visas for those traveling through the country to reach another destination.

Visitors from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda

Visitors from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda are covered under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Under the Initiative, the specific documents a visitor may present before entering the United States largely depends on the country they are arriving from, and how they are entering the United States.

For example, Canadian citizens who are entering the United States through the air must show a valid passport. However, if a Canadian citizen is entering the U.S. by land or by sea, enhanced driver’s licenses and Trusted Traveler Program cards are acceptable as well as valid passports. Mexican citizens, on the other hand, are required to show a passport with a visa or a Border Crossing Card when visiting the United States.

Our Tennessee Immigration Lawyers Can Advise on Your Case

If you wish to visit the United States and are unsure of whether or not you need a visa to enter, our Nashville immigration lawyers can advise on your case. At Ozment Law, PLC, our seasoned attorneys can help you navigate the complex immigration laws of the country and give you the best chance of obtaining the documents you need for entry. Call us today at 615-321-8888 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. At Ozment Law, PLC, we also consult with clients about extending their stay on their visas or adjusting status to permanent residence after entering on visas.

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