Millions of foreign visitors travel to
the United States each year temporarily for
business and pleasure. They come as tourists
or to visit family and friends. Others come
for specific purposes, such as, medical
treatment, a conference, business meeting,
or certain types of training.
Citizens of certain countries, traveling for
visitor visa purposes for 90 days or less,
and who meet all the requirements, can
travel to the United States for tourism or
business under the Visa Waiver Program.
Additionally, certain citizens of Canada and
Bermuda do not need a visa to visit the U.S.
Many of these temporary visitors, traveling
for the business and pleasure purposes, may
need visitor visas to enter the United
States. The type of visa you must have is
defined by immigration law, and relates to
the purpose of your travel. If you are
planning on traveling to the United States
to study or to work, you will need a
different kind of visa.
The U.S. government made some changes in
visa procedures after the terrorist attacks
of September 11, 2001.
They made changes in various procedures
to make sure that both U.S. citizens and
visitors are safe. Advance planning by
travelers is essential, for them to have
their visa when they need it to come to the
For most visa applicants, an interview is
required as a standard part of visa
processing. Visa applications are evaluated
very carefully and take more time now than
in the past.
Some applications require additional
security screening. Improved and automated
procedures have considerably sped up visa
Depending on your country of origin your visa requirements
will be different. Some countries have special agreements
with the U.S. allowing for expedited visa approval, while
others do not. A visa doesn’t permit entry to the U.S.,
however. A visa simply indicates that your application has
been reviewed by a U.S. consular officer at an American
embassy or consulate, and that the officer has determined
you’re eligible to enter the country for a specific purpose.
Consular affairs are the responsibility of the U.S.
Department of State.
A visa allows you to travel to the United
States as far as the port of entry (airport or land border
crossing) and ask the immigration officer to allow you to
enter the country. Only the immigration officer has the
authority to permit you to enter the United States. He or
she decides how long you can stay for any particular visit.
Before making any arrangements for travel to Rhode Island,
plan your trip through your local consulate!