Millions of foreigners travel to the United States every year. Some are tourists who visit relatives and friends, others travel for professional commitments, participate in conferences, conventions, and business meetings. Foreign professionals stay for short periods as part of their working relationships. Still others travel to undergo medical treatment, to volunteer, as journalists, air crew members or to participate in sports competitions. Finally, many citizens of other countries settle in the United States permanently.
What is a visa?
A citizen of a foreign country who wishes to travel to the United States must generally obtain a visa. The visa is entered in the traveler’s passport or other suitable travel document. In some cases, it is possible to travel without a visa if certain requirements are met.
Visas are divided into two main categories: those intended for a temporary stay in the United States (“non-immigrant” visas) and those required by those who intend to move permanently to the United States (“immigrant” visas). Within these main categories, there are multiple types of visas, depending on the reason for the trip.
ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization)
All travelers wishing to travel to the USA under the Visa Waiver Program (“Visa Waiver Program”) must obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) BEFORE boarding the chosen means of transport. Therefore, everyone must apply for ESTA for the USA.
The ESTA program is managed by the Department of Homeland Security / Customs and Border Protection (DHS / CBP).
The request must be submitted online. The ESTA authorization must be obtained at least 72 hours before the start of the trip. However, we suggest that you obtain the ESTA as soon as possible, since any refusal involves the need to apply for a non-immigrant visa, with the relative timing.
All information for ESTA is contained on the site where the application is submitted. The information and the procedure are available in many languages, including Indian
NOTE: If you have ever reported the loss or theft of your passport but later found it, DO NOT use it to travel to the USA. Entering the details of this passport in the ESTA request causes it to be canceled. Obtain a new passport before completing the ESTA application.
Non-immigrant visas are aimed at those who wish to travel to the United States for a limited period of time and then re-enter their country of residence. (Those who intend to move to live in the US need an immigration visa instead).
In some cases, you can travel to the United States WITHOUT a visa. This happens when you are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). To check if you meet the requirements, visit the Visa Waiver Program page.
If, on the other hand, you need a visa, on this page you will find the information to establish the type of visa for which you must apply, which documents must be attached and how to apply.
The categories of non-immigrant visas.
The visa category depends on the purpose of your trip to the USA. Here are the main categories of non-immigrant visas and their characteristics:
Business, tourism and medical care.
Category B visas (B1, B2, and B1 / B2) are intended for those who intend to travel to the USA for business, tourism or to undergo medical treatment, but are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (Program “travel without seen”).
If you intend to transit through the USA before reaching another country as your final destination, you need a category C1 visa.
If you intend to travel to the USA as a member of an air or naval crew, you need a C1 / D category visa.
Trade or investment.
If you intend to travel to the USA to undertake a commercial activity (import-export), trade in services, or for investment activities, you need an E visa.
If you intend to travel to the USA for study purposes, to attend an academic study course at a school or university or a non-academic / professional course, you need a category F, M visa. Alternatively you can try for Australia
Journalists and media workers.
If you intend to travel to the US to carry out journalistic or media support activities, you need a category I visa.
If you intend to travel to the USA to participate in a cultural exchange program or for research purposes, you need a category J visa.
If you intend to go to the USA to work for a limited period of time, there are different categories of reference visas depending on the type of work you intend to carry out: visit the H, L, O, P, Q, R visa page.
Diplomats, officials or the military.
If you intend to travel to the USA to take up diplomatic-official posts of a governmental or military nature, you need a category A, G, Visa