Visitors to the United States before entering this country must obtain a visa at one of the US diplomatic missions , unless:
- Visitor from a country which is part of the Visa Waiver Program ( Eng. Visa Waiver Program ), purpose of visit — business or tourism, a term visit — up to 90 days;
- A visitor from a country whose citizens do not need a visa to enter the United States ( English exempted countries ).
Identical rules apply when entering Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands
In 2014, the United States received more than nine and a half million foreigners, including 46,770 immigrants.
A foreign citizen who wishes to enter the United States must obtain a visa if he or she is not:
- A citizen of one of the 38 countries included in the visa-free travel program .
- Citizen of Canada , Marshall Islands , Micronesia , or the Republic of Palau .
- Citizen of the British Overseas Territories from Bermuda or the Cayman Islands .
- Citizen of the Bahamas or a citizen of the British Overseas Territories from the Turks and Caicos Islands (provided that you are traveling directly to the United States from your country with a valid passport and a police certificate issued within six months before travel, confirming that the visitor has no serious criminal record) .
- US permanent resident .
- A foreign citizen who is entitled to visa-free travel in accordance with other laws.
There are separate requirements for Mexican citizens .
While there are about 185 different types of visas, all of them are divided into two categories:
- Nonimmigrant visas — for temporary travel to the United States for tourism , business , work or study .
- Immigrant visas — for people who have a desire to immigrate to the United States.