US +1 760 231 6477, Australia 02 8069 7228 or 03 6387 7043


In order to travel to the United States for a temporary stay as a tourist of for temporary business purposes it is necessary to obtain either a B-1 or B-2 visa. There are also certain selected countries known as the ESTA (Visa Waiver Program) countries whose citizens are not normally required to obtain a visa but who can travel visa free for a stay of up to 90 days on their passports under certain circumstances.



Tel: In the US (760) 231-6498
In Australia call (+61) (02) 8069 7228   email:


Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. The visa allows a foreign citizen, to travel to the United States port-of entry and request permission of the U.S. immigration inspector to enter the U.S. The “visitor” visa is a nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1), for pleasure or medical treatment (B-2), or combination of both (B-1/B-2) purposes.


1. What is a B-1 visa?

2. What is a B-2 visa?

3. What is the Visa Waiver Program?

4. How do I qualify for a visitor’s visa?

5. How do I apply for a visitor’s visa?

Business Visitor Visas (B-1) – For example, if the purpose for your planned travel is to consult with business associates, travel for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or conference on specific dates, settle an estate, or negotiate a contract, then a business visitor visa (B-1) would be the appropriate type of visa for your travel. 

Pleasure, Tourism, Medical Treatment – Visitor Visas (B-2) – As examples, if the purpose of your planned travel is recreational in nature, including tourism, amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment, and activities of a fraternal, social, or service nature, then a visitor visa (B-2) would be the appropriate type of visa for your travel.

Persons planning to travel to the U.S. for a different purpose such as students, temporary workers, crewmen, journalists, etc., must apply for a different visa in the appropriate category.

NOTE: Representatives of the foreign press, radio, film, journalists or other information media, engaging in that vocation while in the U.S., require a nonimmigrant Media (I) visa and cannot travel to the U.S. using a visitor visa and cannot travel on the visa waiver program, seeking admission by the DHS immigration inspector, at the U.S. at the port of entry.

Visa Waiver Program

Travelers coming to the U.S. for tourism or business for 90 days or less from qualified countries may be eligible to visit the U.S. without a visa if they meet the visa waiver program requirements. 

From 12 January 2009 all nationals and citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries –  will be required by law to obtain a travel authorization prior to traveling to the United States under the VWP. Although authorization is often given in a matter of seconds it is recommended that you apply at least 72 hours before traveling. You can submit your application FOR FREE at
The U.S. Government does NOT charge for ESTA registrations.

Currently, 35 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, as shown below:

Visa Waiver Program – Participating Countries 

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

International travelers seeking to travel to the United States without a visa, who are nationals of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries, should review this important information on traveler passport requirements under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
All VWP travelers, regardless of age or type of passport used, must present a machine-readable passport. In addition, depending on when VWP travelers’ passports were issued, other passport requirements apply.

Often the website of the US Embassy in their home country will provide information on which passports are eligible for the VWP.
Qualifying for a Visa

Applicants for visitor visas must show that they qualify under provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Applicants must demonstrate that they are properly classifiable as visitors under U.S. law.

The presumption in the law is that every visitor visa applicant is an intending immigrant. Therefore, applicants for visitor visas must overcome this presumption by demonstrating that:

  • The purpose of their trip is to enter the U.S. for business, pleasure, or medical treatment;
  • That they plan to remain for a specific, limited period;
  • Evidence of funds to cover expenses in the United States;
  • Evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad; and
  • That they have a residence outside the U.S. as well as other binding ties that will insure their return abroad at the end of the visit.

Applying for a Visitor Visa?

Applicants for visitor visas should generally apply at the American Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.

Changes introduced shortly after September 11, 2001 involve extensive and ongoing review of visa issuing practices as they relate to our national security. Visa applications are now subject to a greater degree of scrutiny than in the past so it is important to apply for your visa well in advance of your travel departure date. 

Tel: In the US (760) 231-6498
In the UK call 0207-101-9399   email: