Tourist visas fall under the category of visitor visas, because they are intended for individuals who do not wish to make the United States their permanent home. Tourist visas enable travelers to visit the U.S. primarily for the purpose of sightseeing, although other activities fall within this visa type, too. In order to apply for a tourist visa, you will need to complete specific forms, and additional documentation and fees will apply.
Business or Pleasure?
Visitor visas fall into two categories: the B-1 visa and the B-2 visa. The B-1 visa is intended for business travelers visiting the United States. The B-2 visa allows individuals to enter the U.S. for the purposes of pleasure, tourism or medical treatment. There are some minor exceptions to this rule; for example, citizens of Canada and Bermuda don’t always need a visitor visa when traveling in the U.S. Examples of purposes requiring a tourist visa include vacationing, visiting friends or family, attending organized social events or participating in social events, such as contests or musical events. A participant being paid for participating or competing needs a different visa.
An online application is needed to fulfill tourist visa requirements. Through the U.S. State Department, potential travelers can click on the country and embassy through which they’re applying for a tourist visa in order to begin the online application. Creating a user name and log-in information allows you to save progress on the form in case you need to finish the application at a later date. You must complete, print and take the form, D-160, to your subsequent interview. It is unnecessary to print the entire application; just print the confirmation bar code page.
Tourist visas require an interview, so you might need to complete an online form requesting to meet with a U.S. representative. The State Department doesn’t arrange interviews on behalf of applicants, so you will need to address this step yourself. Give yourself plenty of time to arrange these steps, which can take weeks or months to complete.
Paying Visa Fees
You might also need to complete a brief online form in order to pay fees associated with the tourist visa. Specific instructions depend on your country of origin, but visiting the U.S. Embassy web page will allow you to click on the map to learn necessary information. Some individuals might be eligible for a fee waiver because of agreements between the country of origin and the United States.
Various other documentation might be necessary to secure your tourist visa. For example, you might be expected to demonstrate adequate funds for your traveling time in the U.S. in the form of bank statements. If you’re traveling as a guest to a university, the university might need to provide an official statement of welcome or invitation.
- U.S. Department of State: DS-160: Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application
- U.S. Department of State: Reciprocity by Country
- U.S. Department of State: Fees for Visa Services
- University of Michigan: B-1/B-2 Visa -- Business or Pleasure Visitors
- U.S. Department of State: Visitor Visas -- Business and Pleasure
- U.S. Department of State: Visitor Visas
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