Do I Need To Apply For a US Visa

Most times, the answer to the question of “do I need to apply for a US visa is totally dependent on your nationality and purpose of traveling to the United States. The above criteria may determine whether you need to apply for a US Visa or not.

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If you are not a resident of the United States, you will most likely need a visa to enter the country. Visas are issued by American Embassies and Consulates to foreign nationals traveling to the US.

However, Citizens of some countries may be exempted from applying for a US Visa, if they:

  • Intend to stay for 90 days or less
  • Travel for Tourism or business purposes

Which Countries Can go to the US without a Visa?

Citizens of the following countries do not need to apply for a US Visa before entering the United States.

1. Canada

Citizens of Canada are free to enter, stay and even work in the US without a Visa. They are also permitted to use a NEXUS card or a driver’s license in place of a passport.

2. Bermuda

Bermudians are also exempted from visa requirements, for stays less than 6 months in the US.

3. Visa Waiver Countries

The Visa Waiver program allows most Citizens of participating countries to travel to the US for a period of 90 days or less. One might need to ask ‘Which Countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program?’. There are 40 Countries included in the Visa Waiver Program and they are:

BruneiChileCroatiaCzech Republic
IrelandItalyJapanSouth Korea
MaltaMonacoNetherlandsNew Zealand
NorwayPolandPortugalSan Marino
SwedenSwitzerlandTaiwanUnited Kingdom

Note: If you intend to visit the US under the Visa Waiver Program, you must get an approved travel authorization before traveling. Authorization approvals are determined using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

All You Should Know About The US Visa Waiver Program

This program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security. The purpose of the creation was to improve security for the people who visit the United States and to enable US citizens to travel to the other 40 member countries freely; It’s a win-win for all member countries.

If you satisfy the necessary criteria and you are a Citizen of a country with which the US has good relationships, you will not need to apply for a US Visa to travel to the US. With a stamp on your passport stating that you are part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), you’re free to enter the US.

However, you need to qualify first before you can travel to the US Under the Visa Waiver Program.

How Can You Qualify For the US Waiver Program

If you must qualify for the US Visa Waiver Program, you must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Be a citizen of the 40 participant countries
  • Have a visa waiver ESTA approval.
  • Have an e-passport.
  • Prove that you will return to your home country after your VWP stamp expires.

On the other hand, Citizens of the following countries need to apply for a visa before entering the United States:

AfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAngolaAntigua & Barbuda
BrazilBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodia
CameroonCape VerdeThe central African RepublicChadChina
ColombiaComorosCongo Democratic RepublicCosta RicaCôte d’Ivoire
Dominican RepublicEast TimorEcuadorEgyptEl Salvador
States of
GuatemalaGuineaGuinea BissauGuyanaHaiti
PakistanPalauPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguay
PeruPhilippinesPolandQatarRepublic of Congo
Republic of KoreaRepublic
of Kosovo
Saint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Vincent and the
SamoaSao Tome and
Saudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra Leone
Solomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth SudanSri Lanka
Sudan SurinameSwazilandSyriaTajikistanTanzania
ThailandTogoTongaTrinidad and
UAEUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVatican City

If your country is listed above then you need to apply for a US Visa. We made a post on How to Apply for a US Visa. You should check it out.

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