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Is Visa Necessary to Travel to the USA?

Everyone’s dream is to visit America at least once in a lifetime. Yet, in order to accomplish that dream many foreigners are required to undergo some lengthy procedures of obtaining a US visa.

Citizens of most of the world countries must get a specific US visa before they can enter, stay temporarily, or settle in the territory of the USA.

The visa type issued depends on the purpose of travel to the USA, varying between tourism, work, study, business or immigration. Based on that, there exist non-immigrant and immigrant visas.

However, there are some nationals who are exempt from the visa rules because they either are part of a visa-free program such as the Visa Waiver Program or are completely exempt from any authorization to enter the US.

Who Needs a Visa to Enter the US?

As we have already said, the vast majority of worldwide nationals are required to have a visa if they wish to go to the USA. In the following list, there are the 156 countries whose nationals must have a visa to enter the territory of the USA:

Afghanistan Albania Algeria
Angola Antigua and Barbuda Argentina
Armenia Aruba Azerbaijan
Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh
Barbados Belarus Belize
Benin Bhutan Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil
Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi
Cambodia Cameroon Cape Verde
Central African Republic Chad China
Colombia Comoros Congo Democratic Republic
Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia
Cuba Cyprus Djibouti
Dominica Dominican Republic East Timor
Ecuador Egypt El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Ethiopia
Federated States of Micronesia Fiji Gabon
Gambia Georgia Ghana
Grenada Guatemala Guinea
Guinea Bissau Guyana Haiti
Honduras India Indonesia
Iran Iraq Israel
Jamaica Jordan Kazakhstan
Kenya Kiribati Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan Laos Lebanon
Lesotho Liberia Libya
Macedonia Madagascar Malawi
Malaysia Maldives Mali
Mauritania Mauritius Mexico
Moldova Mongolia Montenegro
Morocco Mozambique Myanmar
Namibia Nauru Nepal
Nicaragua Niger Nigeria
Oman Pakistan Palau
Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay
Peru Philippines Poland
Qatar Republic of Congo Republic of Korea
Republic of Kosovo Romania Russia
Rwanda Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia
Seychelles Sierra Leone Solomon Islands
Somalia South Africa South Sudan
Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname
Swaziland Syria Tajikistan
Tanzania Thailand Togo
Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia
Turkey Turkmenistan Tuvalu
Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates
Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu
Vatican City Venezuela Vietnam
Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe

Citizens of Visa Waiver Countries

On the other hand, citizens of a participating country in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) can travel to the US for temporary stays of 90 days or less without a visa, if they travel for tourism or business purposes.

However, foreigners of these countries must get an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) from the US Customs and Borders Protection’s (CBP). This authorizing document categorizes the traveler as a citizen of a participating country in the VWP agreement.

All the travelers are also required to have an electronic passport with biometric information which has a machine-readable zone on its biographic page.

You can use our ESTA eligibility tool to determine whether you qualify to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program.

Non-VWP Citizens Who are Exempt from US Visa Application

Citizens of Canada and Bermuda enjoy the freedom of traveling temporarily to the US without a having to possess a nonimmigrant visa or any other pre-entry authorization, such as ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).

  • Canadian citizens – are visa free to enter and stay in the US, even to work there (they might even use an NEXUS Card or an Enhanced Driver’s License for identification, instead of a passport)
  • Bermudian citizens – are exempt of visa, for stays less than 6 months in the US

Benefiting from the agreement “the Compacts of Free Association” with the US, citizens of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau are released from visa requirement for entering, staying, studying or getting employed in the US without limit.

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