Visa Overview / How to Apply

Overview

In general, a citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed into the traveler's passport. Certain international travelers may be eligible to enter the United States without a visa if they meet the requirements for the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The VWP allows travelers to enter the United States without a visa for up to 90 days for business or pleasure. For all VWP qualifications please visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1261.html. Anyone traveling to the United States for any reason other than business or pleasure requires a visa

Do I need a Visa to travel to the United States?

United Kingdom is a participating member of the U.S. Visa Waiver program. Citizens of United Kingdom please refer to the U.S Visa Waiver Program at http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1261.html to determine qualification for the Visa Waiver Program.

Travelers that qualify for the United States Visa Waiver program must obtain authorization to enter the United States using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta. Travelers whose ESTA applications are rejected and still wish to travel to the United States, will need to complete a Nonimmigrant Visa application on this website.

Steps required to apply for a US Visa

If required to apply for a Visa to travel to the United States the process includes the following steps:

  1. Determine the type of Visa required to travel to the United States. Information about Visa types can be found at http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english.html.
  2. Complete the online visa application form, DS-160. The DS-160 is a U.S. Government on-line form and can only be completed at https://ceac.state.gov/CEAC. Each applicant must complete this form before using any services on this website.
  3. Return to this website and complete the following application steps to schedule a Consular Section appointment:
    • Create a user account
    • Enter the DS-160 confirmation number for each applicant applying for a Visa
    • Complete the courier document return process
    • Pay the Nonimmigrant Visa (MRV) application fee(s)
    • Schedule a Consular Section appointment
  4. Attend the Consular Section appointment. Certain applicants may be exempt from appearing in person.
  5. After Consular Section interview, check this website for visa status and delivery information.

Discovering An Error On Your Visa

The information printed on an issued U.S. visa should match the information in the applicant’s passport. If you discover an error (misspelling, error in the date of birth, error in the expiration date, etc.) on your U.S. visa, the applicant or a designated proxy can visit the link of the consular section where the visa was issued and follow the instructions to request the correction of the visa.

Consular Section in London: http://london.usembassy.gov/niv/error_in_visa.html

Consular Section in Belfast: http://belfast.usconsulate.gov/niv/error_in_visa.html

Visa Denied

If an applicant has been denied a visa, the consular officer will give the applicant a letter explaining why the visa was refused.

If the refusal letter is marked 214(b), it will generally explain that the applicant does not qualify for a visa at this time under U.S. immigration laws. If the applicant chooses to reapply, the applicant needs to submit a new application, pay a new visa fee, schedule a new interview, and provide information on how the circumstances have changed since the initial visa application.

If the refusal letter is marked 221(g), it will generally include additional actions that the applicant needs to take to continue with his/her visa application. The letter will also have instructions on how to complete the additional required steps. The applicant will not have to pay the visa application fee again.

Occasionally applications will require additional administrative processing, which may delay the adjudication of a visa. In the event that administrative processing is required, the letter will also be marked 221(g) and provide additional instructions.

If you need specific information concerning the Visa Denial please visit the following links for further instructions:

Consular Section in London: http://london.usembassy.gov/niv/refusals.html

Consular Section in Belfast: http://belfast.usconsulate.gov/niv/refusals.html