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U.S. Entry Requirements

Information Resources for U.S. Entry Requirements

Department of State — Internet Addresses

Department of State — Telephone Information

  • Visa Services public information (Washington, D.C.):

           +1 202-663-1225 (for general visa information via taped messages, with an option to speak with an officer)

Department of Homeland Security — Internet Addresses

Visa Waiver Program

Not everyone who travels to the U.S. needs a visa. Delegates are eligible for the U.S. government’s Visa Waiver Program and do not have to apply for a U.S. visa if they:

  • are citizens of these nations
  • are staying for less than 90 days on a pleasure/business trip to the U.S.
  • please check the Visa Waiver site regarding updated restrictions for ESTA travelers who have traveled in certain countries since 2011.

All visitors traveling under the Visa Waiver Program must present an e-passport (machine-readable passport; or obtain a U.S. visa). An e-Passport is an enhanced secure passport with an embedded electronic chip. You can readily identify an e-Passport, because it has a unique international symbol on the cover.

For more information concerning these requirements, please visit the U.S. State Department web site. If you are unsure if your passport in machine readable, you may want to contact the passport issuing agency or authority in your country of citizenship.

U.S. Business Visa

If you are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program, then you will need a visa to enter the U.S. Most Banknote Conference delegates will likely need a B-1 business visa. The B-1 visa is used for a variety of business-related activities. The following are examples of lawful B-1 activities:

  • Attending a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, conference or seminar;
  • Giving a lecture.

If you want to qualify for a B-1 business visa, you must show the following:

  • The purpose of your trip is for business;
  • You plan to stay for a specific, limited period of time; and
  • You have social and economic ties outside the U.S. and you will return abroad at the end of your visit.

This is what you must submit when you apply for a business visa:

  • Completed Application Form DS-156;
  • Current, valid passport or travel document (valid for at least six months beyond period of stay in U.S);
  • Photograph (Requirements are strict for photograph size, type and quality. Please check with your nearest consulate for specifications before you get your picture taken.);
  • Application fees (All applicants must pay the application fee. Some applicants, according to nationality and type of visa, must also pay an issuance fee.);
  • Evidence of business-related work in the U.S.;
  • Evidence that your visit is temporary and that you will leave the U.S. after your legally authorized stay;
  • Evidence of funds to cover expenses in the U.S.;
  • Evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad; and
  • Undergo security clearance procedures.

To begin the visa application process, it is very important that you make an appointment to visit the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest you as soon as possible. Please plan for the possibility of a delay in the issue of your visa. While most additional processing takes 30 days or less, a small percentage may take considerably longer.