| ||Passport Required?||Visa Required?||Return Ticket Required?|
The following are not eligible to receive a USA entry visa:
(a) people afflicted with certain serious communicable diseases or disorders deemed threatening to the property, safety or welfare of others;
(b) anyone who has been arrested (except for very minor driving offences) or who has a criminal record;
(c) narcotics addicts or abusers and drug traffickers;
(d) anyone who has been deported from or denied admission to the USA.
Note: Those who are ineligible may be suitable candidates for a waiver of ineligibility.
Valid passport required by all. Validity varies - for most countries a passport must be valid for the entire duration of the stay; check with the Embassy (see Contact Addresses section).
(a) For nationals included in the Visa Waiver Program, passports must be valid for at least 90 days from date of entry (except for nationals of Andorra, Brunei and San Marino, who must hold passports valid for at least six months beyond the intended date of departure from the USA).
(b) Introduced on October 26 2004, all travellers entering the USA under the Visa Waiver Program now require individual machine-readable passports. Children included on a parent's passport also now require their own machine-readable passport. Travellers not in possession of machine-readable passports will require a valid USA entry visa.
(c) Passports issued on or after October 26 2005 will need to have a biometric identifier in order for the holder to travel visa-free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), although check with the Embassy as this deadline may be extended.
Required by all except the following:
(a) citizens of countries under the Visa Waiver Program (see 2. below);
(b) 1. nationals of Bermuda and Canada, provided holding valid passports;
(c) nationals of Mexico, provided holding a valid passport and a US Border Crossing Card.
Note: (a) Landed Immigrants of Canada and British residents of Bermuda who are citizens of, and have valid passports from, Commonwealth countries or Ireland are no longer eligible to enter the USA without a visa. (b) The Transit Without Visa (TWOV) and International-to-International (ITI) transit programs have been indefinitely suspended as of 2 August 2003. All passengers using US airports for transit purposes are now required to obtain a transit visa. This does not affect qualified travellers travelling visa-free under the Visa Waiver Program (see below).
Visa Waiver Program
(a) 2. The following nationals, upon presentation of a valid passport (see Note above), do not require a visa under the Visa Waiver Program: Andorra, Australia, Brunei, EU countries (except nationals of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland and Slovak Republic, who do require a visa), Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Singapore and Switzerland.
To qualify for visa-free travel under the Visa Waiver Program, nationals must travel on a valid passport (see Note above), for holiday, transit or business purposes only and for a stay not exceeding 90 days.
If entering the USA by air or sea, passengers must hold a return or onward ticket or itinerary (if onward tickets terminate in Bermuda, Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, travellers must be legal permanent residents of those countries), hold a completed form I-94W and enter aboard an air or sea carrier participating in the Visa Waiver Program (lists of participating air or sea carriers are available from most travel agents or the carriers themselves).
If entering the USA by land from Canada or Mexico, hold a completed form I-94W* issued by Immigration at the port of entry and a US$6 fee (only payable in US Dollars).
Note*: (a) Passengers must have the full address and ZIP code of where they are staying in the USA to be able to fully complete the I-94W form. (b) Members of Visa Waiver Program countries who want to work, study or remain more than 90 days in the USA must apply for a visa before travelling, as should those who have been previously refused a visa, have a criminal record, or are in any way ineligible for an unrestricted visa. (c) 3. Holders of UK passports with the endorsement British Subject, British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Protected Person, British Overseas Citizen or British National (Overseas) Citizen do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program. Persons unsure about visa requirements (including those defined in ‘Restricted Entry’ above) should contact the US Consulate General or the Visa Department of the US Embassy (see Contact Addresses section).
Types of visa and cost
Tourist, Business, Transit and Student. Other types of visa are also available; contact the US Embassy (website: www.usembassy.org.uk) for further details. The visa application fee is $100 (currently equivalent to £60), regardless of whether the visa is issued or denied and regardless of the duration of the visa or entries required. The Embassy will provide a paying-in slip, which is attached to the application form DS-156. The fee must be paid in cash at a bank prior to submitting a visa application to the US Embassy, and the bank will issue a receipt of payment, which must be attached to the application form. The fee receipt, once paid, is valid for one year. Some nationals may also have to pay a reciprocal visa issuance fee – details are available from the State Department (website: www.travel.state.gov).
Visas may be used for travel to the USA until the date expires or if marked ‘valid indefinitely’ for up to 10 years. Some visas are valid for multiple entries. The length of stay in the USA is determined by US immigration officials at the time of entry but is generally six months; there is, however, no set time.
(a) The Embassy no longer issues visas valid indefinitely. Any new B-1/B-2 visa issued will be valid for a maximum of 10 years. (b) A visa does not expire with the expiry of the holder’s passport. An unexpired, endorsed visa in an expired passport may be presented for entry into the USA, as long as the visa itself has not been cancelled, is undamaged, is less than 10 years old and is presented with a valid non-expired passport, provided that both passports are for the same nationality.
Visa branches at Consulates General. Those residing in England, Scotland or Wales should apply to the Embassy in London (see Contact Addresses section).
(a) Completed visa application form DS-156. (b) Valid passport (validity dependent upon nationality) and with at least one blank page. (c) One recent passport-size photo. (d) Embassy copy of the fee receipt endorsed by the bank. (e) Evidence of sufficient funds to cover all expenses while in the USA. (f) Documentation of intent to return to country of residence, and return on onward tickets. (g) Supporting documents (such as purpose of visit) and/or issuance fees, where relevant. (h) Stamped self-addressed, special delivery envelope, for return by post. Business: (a)-(h) and, (i) Evidence of intended business activities in the USA, such as a letter from employer.
Important Note: All applicants aged 14 to 79 are required to schedule an appointment for an interview (tel: (09055) 444 546; calls cost 1:30 per minute), 0900-1600 Mon-Fri. Applicants under the age of 14 and those 80 and over may be eligible to apply for a visa by mail. Also note Restricted entry.
Additional processing requirements and information are required for: (a) males aged 16 to 45; (b) nationals of Cuba, Iran, Korea (Dem Rep), Libya, Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic; (c) nationals of China (PR), Northen Cyprus, the Russian Federation, Somalia and Vietnam. Please note that requirements are subject to change at short notice and any applicant should check with the US Embassy (website: www.usembassy.org.uk).
Working days required
Varies with each embassy; interview appointment waiting time is usually 25 to 30 days (27 days for London Embassy), and visa processing time is usually five to seven working days (three days for London Embassy). Some applications, however, may take up to 60 days. It is important to allow sufficient time for processing the visa, and final travel plans should not be made until a visa has been issued. Applications lodged during the peak travel season may take longer.
The law in the USA is complex for those wishing to take up residence. More information may be obtained from the Embassy (see Contact Addresses section).