Generally, in order to travel to the United States, a foreign national must first
obtain a visa that grants the holder permission to travel to the U.S. for purposes
specified on the visa. In order to obtain a visa, a person must apply for a visa
at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. If approved, the inspector
will issue the traveler a visa that will indicate the length of time it is valid
for use of travel to the United States. Please note: the expiration date on the visa
does not denote the time a holder may remain in the U.S., but rather only the time
s/he may use the visa to seek permission (travel) to enter.
Despite issuance of a visa by a U.S. embassy or consulate, authority to grant
permission to enter the U.S. rests with the individual U.S. Customs & Border
Protection official at the Port Of Entry. Having an approved visa does not necessarily
grant permission to enter.
Foreign nationals who have been granted permission to enter the U.S. on a valid
visa who wish to stay beyond the time indicated on their I-94 Departure Record, must
apply for an extension of stay with the USCIS in the United States.
Because each U.S. Embassy and Consulate has different visa application procedures
and requirements, it is difficult to provide general application instructions. Please
click here to locate a
Embassy or Consulate in your home country and the specific instructions you must
follow in order to demonstrate your eligibility for a visa.