Requirements for a Holiday Visa to the USA

Updated July 20, 2017

More than 47 million people visited the United States in 2009. From bustling cities to pristine beaches, rugged prairie,and imposing mountain ranges, the nation has a lot to offer any tourist. It is this diversity that attracts people from all around the globe, although it is still Canada that provides the most visitors to the United States each year, with almost 18 million crossing the border for a holiday in 2009.

B-2 Visa

Those who need to obtain a B-2 visa to visit the United States for the purposes of tourism must be able to prove that their stay is temporary and that they have a permanent residence in their own country that they do not intend to abandon. The tourists must also ensure that they have enough money to support themselves financially while in the States, and they must have a valid passport. It is important to note that possession of a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. A Customs and Border Patrol officer can still refuse admittance after inspecting documentation at a port of entry.

Visa waiver

Visitors from the majority of countries around the world will have to apply to their local U.S. embassy or consulate to get a B-2 visa. However, citizens of 36 nations are eligible for the visa waiver program (VWP). To take advantage of the VWP, visitors from the designated countries must have a round-trip ticket and a passport valid for at least six months after their departure. They must also fill in an I-94W Arrival/Departure form. VWP visitors are granted 90 days stay in the United States.


If a visitor is granted a B-2 visa, the length of their stay will be determined by the Customs and Border Patrol officer at the port of entry. This will be stamped on the tourist's I-94 Arrival/Departure form. If visitors wish to extend their stay in the United States, they must apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at least 45 days before their date to leave the country expires. An extension may be granted provided the visitor's passport will be valid for the duration of the stay, and the USCIS is convinced the individual doesn't intend to breach his non-immigrant status. Tourists entering the country on the visa waiver program are not eligible for an extension.

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About the Author

Matt Margrett has been a freelance journalist since 2006, researching and writing about sports and current-affairs assignments. He has worked on projects for the BBC and Channel 4 and has written for the Squarefootball website. He gained a Master of Arts in English from Cambridge University before training at City University School of Journalism.