How to get a visa to travel to the United States
24 April, 2019Erika
If you plan to travel to the United States, the first thing you should know before applying for your visa is that, depending on your country of residence and the reason for your trip, you must arrange for one of these three permits:
- ESTA tourist visa.
- B2 tourist visa
- B1 Business visa
The ESTA (Sistema Electrónico para la Autorización de Viaje a Estados Unidos) is a document that records your personal data, passport details, and is processed using a simple form.
Don’t forget that this permit is temporary; it is issued to you whether the reason for your trip is tourism, business or a stopover on the way to another country.
Application requirements for the ESTA permit:
- Citizenship of any of these countries: Germany, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, South Korea, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy , Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, San Marino, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan.
- Stay not exceeding 90 days, although the permit is valid for a period of two years.
- Passport with more than 6 months of validity. Don’t get caught out by expiration in the middle of your trip!
- No serious criminal record or contagious diseases that are considered a public health risk.
- If you have dual citizenship, contact the United States Embassy in your country for further information.
Tourist or business visa: B1 or B2
If you cannot get ESTA authorisation and the reason for your trip is tourism or business, you must apply for a type B1 or B2 visa at the US Embassy in your country, or at the nearest Consulate in your country of residence.
B1 and B2 permits are granted for reasons of tourism, for visiting relatives or friends, for receiving medical treatment, or for business meetings.
Application requirements for a B1 or B2 visa
- Passport with 6 months of validity
- Form DS-160 confirmation page
- Proof of payment of the application fee
- A passport photograph with a white background and no accessories such as glasses
- Copy of interview appointment letter for
- Current proof of income, tax payments, property, business or assets
- Travel itinerary, return ticket and additional documents that the US Government reserves the right to request.
Keep in mind:
- B1 or B2 visas are granted for a maximum stay of 6 months, although the immigration official will have the last word on the time allowed.
- The US government reserves the right to request additional documentation, such as a return ticket or proof of financial solvency during your stay.
- The visa will be printed on one of the pages of your passport, so you must have at least two free pages in your travel document.
- If the reason for your trip is to inquire about or seek any kind of medical treatment, you will have to provide a professional diagnosis explaining the nature of your illness and why it should be treated in the United States.
- The most important thing to bear in mind is that, with the B1, B2, or ESTA visa, you cannot stay in the United States as a resident as these are temporary permits. If for some reason you decide to stay beyond the allowed period, the authorities may charge you with fraud, which has serious consequences.
- Similarly, if the reasons for your trip have nothing to do with tourism or business, you must inquire about the relevant permit for your activity, as otherwise you will face serious legal problems.
Legal Notice: Since legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing on this article should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel. The content on this article is offered only as information and does not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. You should always consult a suitably qualified lawyer regarding any specific legal problem or matter.
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