International Visitors to the United States

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Passport Alert!

Applicants for U.S. Visas Do Not Need to Leave Passport with Consular Officer
Consular Officers do not need to retain applicants’ passports. Print this letter and bring it to your visa interview.
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Visa Problems

Learn what causes visa application delays and how to report them.
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U.S. Government Sites

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For Non-U.S. Citizens/Residents

Disclaimer: Please note that this content is for general information purposes only. While every effort is made to ensure that the information provided is accurate and up-to-date, regulations may change. The only authoritative sources on U.S. visas are U.S. government websites.

Attention: APS Cannot intervene with U.S. Embassies or consulates abroad, or with the U.S.State Department on behalf of any member or APS meeting attendee.

Visa Application Process

What type of visa?
Generally, non-U.S. citizens/residents must obtain a nonimmigrant B-1/B-2 visa to enter the United States for a temporary visit.
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Visa Waiver Program
Under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), citizens of certain countries may travel to the United States for stays of 90 days or less without a visa. Anyone traveling under VWP must apply for authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
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Set Up Your Visa Interview
If you are not eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program, you may be required to appear at a U.S. embassy or consulate for an in-person interview prior to visa approval. There may be long waits to schedule an interview, so start the application process as early as possible.
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What to Bring to Your Visa Interview

  • A valid passport.
    Note: Consular Officers do not need to retain your passport. Print this letter and bring it to your interview.
  • Online nonimmigrant visa application (Form DS-160) confirmation page.
  • Specific and detailed explanations related to your purpose for travel.
    Example: Copy of your APS Meeting Letter of Invitation.
  • Complete travel itineraries and schedules if appropriate.
    Note: Airline ticket proof of purchase is not a required item for documenting your  trip itinerary.
  • Proof of an existing relationship with your inviter, APS, or other U.S. entities.
    Example: Copy of your APS meeting registration.
  • Explanation of how your visit will be funded.
  • Your CV.

Visa Wait Times
The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs provides visa wait times for every U.S. Consulate worldwide.
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Administrative Processing
Some applications require additional "administrative processing" and this adds several weeks to the application process. Applicants involved in scientific fields are often subjected to administrative processing and should apply for visas as early as possible, preferably 3-4 months in advance. Bring your CV and letter of invitation to the visa interview to help facilitate any additional processing.
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Visa Delays & Issues

Information on what to do if your application is delayed excessively, and tips to avoid issues and delays.
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Entering the United States

Information on the Visa Waiver Program, the Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Department of Homeland Security's Travel Redress Inquiry Program.
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Temporary Visits

Making a Temporary Visit Outside of the U.S.
Visitors currently in the United States who plan to temporarily visit their home country and reapply for a U.S. visa should make some of their return preparations before leaving the United States.