Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
U.S. Visa Policy

We welcome travelers from around the world coming as temporary visitors, or to immigrate to the United States, in accordance with U.S. immigration laws. 

 Laws Determine Immigration and Visa Policy

U.S. immigration laws enacted by Congress provide authority over immigration matters, including entry and exit of all travelers across the nation’s borders, determining who may enter, how long they may stay, and when they must leave.  The Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) in Title 8 of the United States Code, provides the foundation for immigration law, along with its amendments.  Additionally, more recent immigration laws have an impact on visa processing, including, as examples, the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002. Learn more about U.S. immigration laws and regulations.

 Visa Processing Time Information

Recent changes in U.S. laws governing visa policy and procedures have increased the amount of time it can take to obtain a visa.  Apply early!  Even with the visa processing improvements that have been made and will continue to be made, it is inevitable that delays will sometimes occur.  Processing times will vary.

The State Department's goal is visa delivery no more than 30 days from the time of application in most cases, although cases that require administrative processing could take longer.  Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of application.  When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case. Therefore, before making inquiries about status of administrative processing, applicants or their representatives will need to wait at least 90 days from the date of interview or submission of supplemental documents, whichever is later.

If you want to visit the U.S. and require a visa, plan to schedule your visa interview well in advance of your departure date.  Learn more by reviewing this website information and contact the U.S. embassy or consulate where you will apply for detailed “how-to” instructions.

 Web Resources

  • Immigration Laws and Regulations, USCIS Website >> More
  • Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) Regulations >> More
  • Nonimmigrant Classifications and Types of Visas >> More
  • Immigrant Classifications and Types of Visas >> More
  • When to contact Department of State vs. Department of Homeland Security >> More