Getting a Visa
January 12, 2012 § 4 Comments
Anyone wishing to come to the US should first get a US visa that will be placed in his/her passport or on the travel document issued by his/her country of citizenship. However, some foreigners can come to the US without a visa if they are able to satisfy the conditions needed for a visa-free travel. US citizens do not need a US visa for travel. However, when they are traveling overseas, they might need a visa that is issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit. Under such circumstances, it is important you know the visa requirements well before you travel. You can know the requirements by checking the Country Specific Travel Information.
A US visa will help you travel to a US port of entry, airport or land border crossing. Note that having a visa does not mean that you are permitted to enter the US. It only means that a US Embassy or Consulate overseas abroad has established your eligibility to enter the US for that specific purpose. Remember that you need the permission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspector to enter the United States. These inspectors will decide your admission to the US and also for a specified status and particular period of time.
US immigration laws have clearly defined the type of visa you require, per the intention of your visit. The intention of your visit will generally decided whether you need an immigrant or non immigrant visa. If you wish to enter the US and live there permanently, you will need an immigrant visa. On the other hand, if your purpose of your travel is only for a temporary period, you need an non-immigrant visa. There are many types of non immigrant visas that will help you enter the US. The main purpose of your visit and other facts will have the final say in what type of visa you have to get. Gather enough information about the type of visa you require to enter the US. Also remember to familiarize yourself with the steps that you have to take while applying for a visa at a US Embassy or Consulate abroad.
Visa Waiver Program
As mentioned earlier, some foreigners can come to the US without a visa. There is the visa waiver program, that was brought into act with an idea of removing unnecessary barriers to travel to the US, to incite the tourism industry. It was also introduced to allow the Department of State (DoS) to concentrate consular resources in other areas.
Travelers who qualify under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) can also apply for a visa, if they want to. To qualify under the VWP, travelers have to satisfy a few eligibility conditions to facilitate their travel without a visa. Note that not all travelers will be eligible for this program. Travelers under the VWP should have a valid authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before their travel. They will be screened at the port of entry into the US, and be enrolled in the DHS’s US-VISIT program.