Starting May 12, 2023, the United States will lift the requirement for a Covid-19 vaccination certificate to enter the country. This means that everyone can now freely visit the United States without having to provide a vaccination document.
Passengers also must complete an attestation form before departure.
- nationals and residents of the USA;
- passengers younger than 2 years.
Visitor Visa or Visa Waiver Program for short visits
A foreign national traveling to the United States for tourism needs a visitor visa (B-2) unless qualifying for entry under the Visa Waiver Program.
Tourism is a short visit for vacation, for visiting family and friends, or for medical treatment.
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for a temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), for tourism (visa category B-2), or for a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).
Here are some examples of activities permitted with a visitor visa:
- Business (B-1)
- Consult with business associates
- Attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference
- Settle an estate
- Negotiate a contract
- Tourism (B-2)
- Vacation (holiday)
- Visit with friends or relatives
- Medical treatment
- Participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
- Participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating
- Enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation)
The U.S. will impose visa-free travel for Israeli citizens starting November 30, 2023.
Israel has been included in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP - Visa Waiver Program). Thanks to the simplified entry by the end of 2023, Israeli citizens will be able to stay without a visa in the U.S. up to 90 days.
The holder of an Israeli passport (darqon) will only need to register 72 hours before departure on the ESTA website (registration fee is USD 21). Electronic registration is valid for 2 years without updates and allows multiple entries into the US.
Travel Purposes Not Permitted On Visitor Visas
These are some examples of activities that require different categories of visas and cannot be done while on a visitor visa:
3) Paid performances, or any professional performance before a paying audience
4) Arrival as a crewmember on a ship or aircraft
5) Work as foreign press, in radio, film, print journalism, or other information media
6) Permanent residence in the United States
7) Visitor visas will also not be issued for birth tourism (travel for the primary purpose of giving birth in the United States to obtain U.S. citizenship for their child).
How to Apply
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary by U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Please consult the instructions on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website.
1. Complete the Online Visa Application
Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 – You must:
1) complete the online visa application and
2) print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.
Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements
2. Schedule an Interview
Interviews are generally required for visa applicants with certain limited exceptions below. Consular officers may require an interview of any visa applicant.
If you are age:
13 and younger
14 - 79
80 and older
Then an interview is:
- Generally not required
- Required (some exceptions for renewals)
- Generally not required
You should schedule an appointment for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at another U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be more difficult to qualify for a visa outside of the country where you live.
Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early. Review the interview wait time for the location where you will apply.
Appointment Wait Time
Check the estimated wait time for a nonimmigrant visa interview appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and for checking waiting time and fee information.
3. Gather Required Documentation
Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview:
1) Passport valid for travel to the United States – Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). Each individual who needs a visa must submit a separate application, including any family members listed in your passport.
2) Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page.
3) Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview.
4) Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
Additional Documentation May Be Required
Review the instructions for how to apply for a visa on the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate whereyou will apply.
Additional documents may be requested to establish if you are qualified. For example, additional requested documents may include evidence of:
- The purpose of your trip,
- Your intent to depart the United States after your trip, and/or
- Your ability to pay all costs of the trip.
- Evidence of your employment and/or your family ties may be sufficient to show the purpose of your trip and your intent to return to your home country. If you cannot cover all the costs for your trip, you may show evidence that another person will cover some or all costs for your trip.
Note: Visa applicants must qualify on the basis of the applicant's residence and ties abroad, rather than assurances from U.S. family and friends. A letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support is not needed to apply for a visitor visa. If you choose to bring a letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support to your interview, please remember it is not one of the factors used in determining whether to issue or deny the visa.
4. Attend Your Visa Interview
A consular officer will interview you to determine whether you are qualified to receive a visitor visa. You must establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive a visa. Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans are taken as part of the application process. They are usually taken during your interview, but this varies based on location.
After your visa interview, the consular officer may determine that your application requires further administrative processing. The consular officer will inform you if this required.
After the visa is approved, you may need to pay a visa issuance fee (if applicable to your nationality), and make arrangements for the return of the passport and visa to you. Review the visa processing times to learn more.
Entering the United States
A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (generally an airport) and request permission to enter the United States. A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the port-of-entry have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States. If you are allowed to enter the United States, the CBP official will provide an admission stamp or a paper Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record. Learn more about admissions and entry requirements, restrictions about bringing food, agricultural products, and other restricted/prohibited goods, and more by reviewing the CBP website.
Extending Your Stay
See Extend Your Stay on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website to learn about requesting to extend your stay beyond the date indicated on your admission stamp or paper Form I-94.
Failure to depart the United States on time will result in being out of status. Under U.S. law, visas of individuals who are out of status are automatically voided (Section 222(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act). Any multiple entry visa that was voided due to being out of status will not be valid for future entries into the United States.
Failure to depart the United States on time may also result in you being ineligible for visas in the future. Review Visa Denials and Ineligibilities and Waivers: Laws to learn more.
Change of Status
If your plans change while in the United States (for example, you marry a U.S. citizen or receive an offer of employment), you may be able to request a change in your nonimmigrant status to another category through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). See Change My Nonimmigrant Status on the USCIS website to learn more.
While you are in the United States, receiving a change of status from USCIS does not require you to apply for a new visa. However, once you depart the United States you must apply for a new visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the appropriate category for your travel.
An individual on a visitor visa (B1/B2) is not permitted to accept employment or work in the United States.
There is no guarantee you will be issued a visa. Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have a visa.
A valid U.S. visa in an expired passport is still valid. Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.
Important: From May 30, the U.S. will increase visa application fees
So, the fee for registration of the guest visa for business and tourism (category B1 and B2), student visa (categories F and M), as well as the visiting visa for an exchange (category J) will be 185 U.S. dollars instead of 160. For a work visa (categories H, L, O, P, Q and R) - 205 U.S. dollars, instead of 190. For an investor visa (category E) - 315 U.S. dollars, instead of 205.
There are different types of insurance you should consider:
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Trip cancellation insurance covers your financial investment in your trip, such as flights, cruises, or train tickets. Carefully examine the policy to make sure that it covers what you need it to cover, including cancellation if you or a close family member gets sick. Depending on the policy, trip cancellation insurance might not cover any medical care you need overseas, so you may need a separate travel health insurance policy.
Trip cancellation insurance may allow you to make a last-minute cancellation or changes to your itinerary in the event of a disease outbreak. Be sure to check the fine print to see if your coverage includes disease outbreaks at intended travel destinations and if there are any restrictions.
Travel Health Insurance
If you need medical care in another country, you will likely need to pay out-of-pocket for any services. Even if a country has nationalized health care, it may not cover people who are not citizens. Before you go, consider your insurance options in case you need care while traveling. Travel health insurance is especially important if you have an existing health condition, are traveling for more than 6 months, or doing adventure activities such as scuba diving or hang gliding.
Check if your current health care covers emergencies that happen while traveling. Ask if your policy has any exclusions, such as for preexisting conditions or adventure activities. If your health insurance coverage is not adequate, consider buying a short-term supplemental policy. Look for a policy that will make payments to hospitals directly.
Medical Evacuation Insurance
If you are traveling to a remote destination or to a place where care is not likely to be up to U.S. standards, consider buying medical evacuation insurance. This can be bought separately or as part of your travel health insurance policy. Medical evacuation insurance covers emergency transportation from a remote area to a high-quality hospital, which could otherwise cost more than $100,000. Medical evacuation insurance may also evacuate people with certain infectious diseases whereas other evacuation companies may not have that capacity. Make sure that the policy provides a 24-hour physician support center.