U.S. Visa Policy

We welcome travelers from around the world coming as temporary visitors, or to immigrate to the United States, in accordance with U.S. immigration laws.

Laws Determine Immigration and Visa Policy

U.S. immigration laws enacted by Congress provide authority over immigration matters, including entry and exit of all travelers across the nation’s borders, determining who may enter, how long they may stay, and when they must leave. The Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) in Title 8 of the United States Code, provides the foundation for immigration law, along with its amendments. Additionally, more recent immigration laws have an impact on visa processing, including, as examples, the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002. Learn more about U.S. immigration laws and regulations.

Visa Processing Time Information

Recent changes in U.S. laws governing visa policy and procedures have increased the amount of time it can take to obtain a visa. Apply early! Even with the visa processing improvements that have been made and will continue to be made, it is inevitable that delays will sometimes occur. 

There are only two possible outcomes for U.S. visa applications.  The consular officer will either issue or refuse the visa.  If a visa applicant has not established that he or she is eligible for a visa, the consular officer must refuse that application.  However, some refused visa applications may require further administrative processing.  The duration of the administrative processing will vary based on the individual circumstances of each case. 

Visa applicants are reminded to apply early for their visas, well in advance of the anticipated travel date.

If you want to visit the U.S. and require a visa, plan to schedule your visa interview well in advance of your departure date. Learn more by reviewing this website information and contact the U.S. Embassy or consulate where you will apply for detailed “how-to” instructions.