United States Visa Advisory
A New U.S. Visitors Tax Begins in September 2010
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin collecting the fees, (payment by credit or debit card) with a portion funding a new U.S. federal tourism bureau established this year by the Travel Promotion Act.
Effective January 12, 2009, the requirements to travel visa-free into the United States have changed. Nationals of Visa Waiver Program countries will still be eligible to travel without a visa, but will have to obtain an approved travel authorization prior to their travel to the United States. The approval form and additional information may be found at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov
The U.S has updated its visa policies to increase security. Due to these new policies it will likely take longer to secure a visa and applicants will need to be aware of any new security measures that have been put into place. For details on individual countries and the specific policies that apply, please see information posted by your nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy.
Citizens of certain countries, traveling for visitor visa purposes for 90 days or less and who meet all the requirements, can travel to the U.S. for tourism or business under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
US ENTRY FOR NONIMMIGRANTS
If you need a Visa to enter the US please apply for one as early as possible. Visa applications are now subject to a greater degree of scrutiny than in the past. For many applicants, a personal appearance interview is required as a standard part of visa processing. Additionally, applicants affected by these procedures are informed of the need for additional screening at the time they submit their applications and are being advised to expect delays.
US entry by citizens of Visa Waiver Program Countries
Starting October 1, 2003, each Visa Waiver Program traveler must present a machine-readable passport (MRP) at the U.S. port of entry to enter the U.S. without a visa, otherwise a nonimmigrant visa is required. Additional information can be found on the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs Visa Services Web site at http://travel.state.gov/
To avoid frustration and disappointment:
- Advance planning by travelers is essential. Review your visa status and find out if you need a U.S. visa or a visa renewal.
- Plan to submit your visa application well in advance of your intended departure date. Contact your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for a current time estimate and recommendations.
- Visit the embassy or consular section where you plan to apply for your visa. Visit their website to find important information on how to schedule an interview appointment and pay fees. An interview is required as a standard part of processing for most visa applicants.
- Applicants must now also have two index-finger scans collected as part of the visa application process. These finger scans are normally collected by the consular officer at the visa interview window but in some countries they are collected prior to the visa interview.
Please note that this information is given in good faith but that the regulations may change and the only authoritative sources of information are the U.S. Government websites at http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en.html
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