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Travel Visas

Most international travelers require a valid travel visa to enter the US for tourism, business reasons or to receive medical treatment. Some tourists and business visitors may be able to apply online for an ESTA before departing for their trip.

ESTA – Electronic System for Travel Authorization

An ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is a travel authorization available to citizens of countries that participate in the VWP (Visa Waiver Program). If you are from a VWP (Visa Waiver Program) country, you can apply online for an ESTA directly from the US Government.

ESTA Basic Requirements

To apply for an ESTA, travelers must hold a passport from one of the following VWP (Visa Waiver Program) countries:

ESTA Eligible Countries:

Andorra
Australia
Austria
Belgium
Brunei
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Japan
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Monaco
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Portugal
Republic of Malta
San Marino
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Korea
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
United Kingdom

In addition, the applicant must:

  • Intend to travel to the US for business or pleasure for a maximum of 90 days; and
  • Have not previously been refused admission to the US or denied an US visa; and
  • Have no criminal arrests or convictions for:
    • an offence or crime involving moral turpitude;
    • a violation or trafficking related to a controlled substance; or
    • two or more offenses for which the aggregate sentence to conferment was five years or more

Be in good health.

ESTA Entitlements

An ESTA is generally valid for two (2) years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. Travelers may travel to the US repeatedly during the validity period without having to apply for another ESTA. A traveler granted entry to the US on an ESTA is entitled to undertake tourism and certain business activities such as exploring job opportunities or educational institutions. An ESTA does not permit a traveler to engage in any work, study or training.

B1 Visa for Business Visitors

Most business visitors to the United States require a valid business visitor visa, such as a B1 visa or an ESTA. A B1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that permits international business people to come to the United States temporarily. B1 visa holders are permitted to engage in business activities including consulting with business associates, negotiating contracts and attending meetings or conferences in the US. Business visitors from participating VWP (Visa Waiver Program) countries may be required to apply online for an ESTA before departing for their trip.

B1 Visa Requirements

A B1 visa can only be obtained abroad and applicants must show that the purpose of their trip is for a business activity that does not involve gainful employment or remuneration from a source within the United States. Applicants must demonstrate they intend to remain in the US temporarily and that they will return to their home country at the end of their stay. B1 visa applicants may be required to show that they have sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay. Applicants may also be required to meet certain health and character requirements.

B1 Visa Entitlements

A B1 visa usually allows the holder to remain in the US for a maximum of one (1) year. The holder's spouse, dependent children and domestic employees may also be entitled to accompany them to the US on a derivative non immigrant visa. In certain circumstances, B1 visa holders may be able to change their visa status while in the United States to engage in employment or full-time study.

B2 Visa for Tourists

Most tourists to the United States require a valid tourist visa, such as a B2 visa or an ESTA. A B2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that permits tourists to visit the United States temporarily. B2 visa holders are permitted to sightsee, visit family and friends or receive medical treatment in the US. Tourists from participating VWP (Visa Waiver Program) countries are required to apply online for an ESTA before departing for their trip.

B2 Visa Requirements

A B2 visa can only be obtained abroad and applicants must show that the purpose of their trip is for pleasure, tourism or medical treatment. Applicants must demonstrate they intend to remain in the US temporarily and that they will return to their home country at the end of their stay. B2 visa applicants may be required to show that they have sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay. Applicants may also be required to meet certain health and character requirements.

B2 Visa Entitlements

A B2 visa usually allows the holder to remain in the US for a maximum of six (6) months while some B2 visa holders may be granted a stay of up to one year. A B2 visa holder may be entitled to undertake short-term study during their stay but are prohibited from engaging in employment or long-term study. In certain circumstances, B2 visa holders may be able to change their visa status while in the United States to engage in employment or full-time study.

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