Visas to the US

Differentiating between visa types

Visas to the US

Most foreign citizens will require a visa to enter the United States. US immigration rules and regulations change rather frequently, so it is advised to check government websites each time you apply. For all types of travel, we recommend you seek advice from the US consulate in your country of residence to ensure you have the correct information.

There are two classifications of US visas:

  • Non-immigrant visas are for people with permanent residence outside the US entering the country on a temporary basis – for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work or study.
  • Immigrant visas are for people who intend to take up permanent residence in the United States.

What type of visa do you need?

The purpose of your entry into the US determines the classification of visa you require. As the number of visa types is extensive, it is important that you apply for the correct purpose of your visit. To determine what kind of visa you need to apply for and what possibilities you have for travel or immigration to the US, consult the list of visa types here  for more detailed information on requirements and procedures.

Another component to keep in mind is whether the visa you have selected is a single entry or multi-entry visa. Single entry will only allow you to enter the country with your visa on one occasion during its validity. After this individual trip, your visa will become void and you will be required to re-apply should you wish to return to the US. Multi-entry authorises numerous entries in and out of the country during the period stated on your visa. If, for the purpose of your trip you will need multi-entry, ensure that your visa type grants this type of access.

The United States are constantly making alterations to visa policies and due to the high demand from around the world to travel there, visa applications can take an extensive period of time to process. Visa application processing times often pertain to the individual application, so applying as soon as possible is highly encouraged.

Further reading

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