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What is a US Visa?

If you are planning to visit the United States you may have some questions and concerns regarding the entry procedures. The process of getting into the United States for a vacation or to visit relatives may seem complex and complicated. The system can be difficult to navigate, but if you leave enough time to get the appropriate visas and permissions to enter the country you can make the process less stressful. One thing to understand before you embark on the process of entering the United States is what exactly is a visa?

If you are a citizen of another country, other than the United States, and you want to enter the United States you will almost certainly need a visa. A visa for the United States is a travel document that is fixed to your passport. Some people may not need a visa – if your country is a member of the visa waiver program you will need to fill out a form but you will not need a visa. A visa is a document that doesn’t give you permission to enter the United States, but it does give you permission to travel to its borders and ask for permission from the border agents.

Having a US visa in your passport allows you to travel to a US airport, port or land border and present your visa to the officials. It doesn’t guarantee entry but it does show that you have met certain conditions and you are eligible to seek permission to enter.

There are a few different types of visa and you need the visa related to your purpose of travel.  For example, if you are visiting the US on a temporary basis for vacation or to study, you need a non-immigrant visa. You can also apply for immigrant visas if you intend to live in the United States. You also need to make sure you have visitor insurance – your home health insurance plan won’t cover you for travel to the US so you need good quality visitor insurance.

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