Foreign nationals who wish to visit the United States must get a B-2 tourist visa to be allowed to enter the country. A B-2 tourist visa is a single entry visa and is valid for 90 days from the time of entry. Tourist visas are for people who want to visit the U.S. for pleasure, tourism or visiting friends and family. A tourist visa cannot be used for work, study or permanent residence in the U.S.
- Contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that has jurisdiction over your place of residence to make an appointment for an interview. All applicants ages 14 to 79 must appear for an interview. Some embassies and consulates charge a nonrefundable fee for this appointment.
- Wait times vary for appointments and visa processing. Some countries take longer than others and wait times typically are longer during the summer travel season.
- Before your appointment, fill out form DS-156 and, if required, DS-157.
- Before your appointment, gather your other supporting documents. The U.S. government assumes tourist visa applicants intend to overstay their visas, so it is necessary for you to prove otherwise. There are no fixed rules about what constitutes evidence that you won’t overstay, and evidence varies from person to person, so provide as much information as you can. Documents in your native language are acceptable.
- The U.S. State Department recommends you show a return ticket as part of the evidence you don’t plan to overstay the visa. But many tickets are nonrefundable and there is no guarantee your application will be approved.
- Take your completed forms to your interview, along with supporting documentation and interview number (if any) to the Embassy or Consulate. The interview can be conducted in your native language if you are not comfortable speaking English. A digital fingerprint scan will be taken.
- If your application is approved, the officer will keep your forms and passport. When the visa is processed, you will pick up the passport or arrange for a courier to deliver it. There might be additional fees for a courier service.
- If your application is denied, your passport and paperwork will be returned. The officer is not obligated to give a specific reason for the denial. You can reapply at a later date, but you must show significantly different evidence that supports your intent to return home or an officer will not review your application.