Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
  •  
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Nonimmigrant Visas

Non-Immigrant Visa Information

Do I need a Visa?
How to Apply for a Nonimmigrant visa
Renew Your Visa
Visa Types for Temporary Visitors

A nonimmigrant visa is required by anyone seeking temporary admission to the United States who is not eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Most travelers from qualifying countries traveling to the U.S. for business or tourism for less than 90 days will be eligible to travel visa free under the VWP. United States citizens and those who hold dual citizenship with the United States must enter and depart the United States on U.S. passports.  Follow link to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) website for further information regarding Visiting the U.S.

International travelers go to the U.S. for a wide variety of reasons, including tourism, business, medical treatment, study, research and certain types of temporary work. The type of visa needed is defined by immigration law, and relates to the principal purpose of your travel. For an overview of the types of nonimmigrant visas available under immigration law, please see our Visa Types for Temporary Visitors webpage on this site. Applicants will need to select their expected visa class when they complete the online DS-160 electronic application.

The visa, placed in your passport when issued, allows you to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (airport, for example) and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection immigration officer to enter the U.S. A visa does not guarantee entry into the U.S.

Advance planning can smooth the visa application process for you.  Apply for your visa well in advance of your intended travel. No assurances regarding the issuance of visas can be given in advance. Therefore, final travel plans or the purchase of nonrefundable tickets should not be made until a visa has been issued.

Important steps to remember:

  1. Review your visa status, and find out if you need a U.S. visa or a renewal.
  2. Read the "How to Apply" page to find out how to schedule an interview appointment, pay fees and any other instructions.
  3. Visas are valid for entry into the U. S. up to and including the date of expiration on the visa. There is no need to renew a visa six months prior to its expiration. Review the Visa Validity & Length of Stay webpage on this site.
  4. Note: The Transit Without Visa and the International-to-International Programs used to transit the U.S. to a further destination without a visa have been suspended. In general, travelers in transit through the United States require valid C-1 visas unless they are eligible to transit the United States visa free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). All travelers not eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program, or are not a national of a country where visa requirements are waived, will need a C-1 visa to transit the U.S.  For further details on the suspension of these programs, please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs web site.

Refused a Visa

Visa Refusals under the provisions of Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act are not subject to appeal. Applicants are welcome to reapply for a visa when there is a significant change in their personal circumstances.  The applicant must schedule an appointment, attend a personal interview with a consular officer and make a complete new application including all possible additional evidence of his or her eligibility.

Travelers who have been refused a visa under the provisions of Section 221(g) or 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act are not ineligible to apply to travel visa free visa under the Visa Waiver Program.  However, they will be questioned by an immigration official at the U. S. port of entry regarding the refusal by the Embassy or Consulate.

The traveler should carry with him or her evidence of his or her intention to depart the United States at the end of the visit. This is generally satisfied by furnishing evidence of strong social and economic ties to the traveler's place of permanent residence. There is no set form that this should take as each person's circumstances differ.  If the immigration officer is not satisfied that the traveler meets the qualifications for nonimmigrant status, the traveler will be denied entry. 

Visa Ineligibilities and Possible Waivers

Certain persons are ineligible under U.S. law to receive visas.  However, in some instances an applicant who is ineligible, but who is otherwise properly classifiable as a visitor, may obtain a waiver of ineligibility and be issued a visa.  Such applications include persons who have been afflicted with a disease of public health significance; a mental disorder; drug addicts / abusers; persons who have a criminal conviction(s);  persons that have been denied entry into or deported from the United States. In these instances visa applications will take longer to process to conclusion and we advise the applicants to apply for the visa well in advance of any planned travel to allow sufficient time for processing the application.  You will be advised at the time of the interview if your application requires additional processing. Visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs website for more information about Classes of Aliens Ineligible to Receive Visas.  

Applicants whose visa applications require additional processing should allow between 60 days to six months for their visas to be processed.

Applications to U.S. Embassies outside of Ireland

The information on this site is applicable to visa applications made at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin. Those making applications at other U.S. Embassies or Consulates should consult the websites for those missions. If you reside in Northern Ireland, please visit the U.S. Consulate General of Belfast web site for information about applying for a visa in Northern Ireland. 

Important Notice regarding Same-Sex Couples

Starting immediately, same-sex spouses and their children are equally eligible for NIV derivative visas.  Same-sex spouses and their children (stepchildren of the primary applicant when the marriage takes place before the child turns 18) can qualify as derivatives where the law permits issuance of the visa to a spouse or stepchild without being named on a petition (or if a petition is not required).  This would include:  Diplomat (A), Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands transitional worker (CW), treaty trader investor (E), international organization employee (G), temporary worker (H), information media representative (I), intracompany transferee (L), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), extraordinary ability (O), entertainer and athlete (P), religious worker (R), and North American Free Trade Agreement (TN) visa categories.  If an applicant is otherwise qualified, he/she may be issued a derivative visa starting now.

Some NIV classifications require certain documentation before a visa issuance can take place.  Same-sex spouses (and stepchildren) of F and M student visa applicants (F-2 and M-2) will need to obtain an I-20a prior to issuance.  Spouses of exchange visitors (J-2) will need an approved DS-2019.  Same-sex spouses of victims of criminal activity (U-2) and human trafficking victims (T-2) will require completed Supplement I-918s or I-914s respectively, before an officer approves any derivative cases. Common law marriage is not recognized in the Republic of Ireland. Please see the State Department Frequently Asked Questions section for further information.

New J1 Exchange Visitor Website

  • New J1 Exchange Visitor Website Badge

Glossary of Visa Terms

  • U.S. flag and Statue of Liberty

Adobe Reader

  • Adobe PDF Reader logo

    Download Free

    All downloadable documents on this page are provided in PDF format.  To view PDFs you must have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.  If you do not have Adobe Reader, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader here.