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How to apply for or renew a U.S. tourist visa

If you visit the U.S. for tourism or business, you may need a visitor visa, also known as a tourist visa. Learn how to get and renew this type of nonimmigrant visa.

To enter the U.S., you must bring a passport issued by your country of citizenship along with your visa. Officials at your port of entry into the U.S. will also issue you a Form I-94, which electronically records your arrival and departure dates. Learn more about Form I-94 and how to apply .

Find out if you need a visa to visit the U.S.

Check to see if your country participates in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) . If it does, you can get a waiver and will not need a visa. If you do not see your country listed, you will need a visitor visa.

Visitor (tourist) visa

The visitor visa, also known as a tourist visa, is a type of nonimmigrant visa for people who wish to temporarily enter the U.S. There are two categories:

  • B-1 for business travel
  • B-2 for tourism and medical treatment

Learn about B-1 and B-2 visas , including:

  • Reasons you would need each type of visitor visa
  • How to apply
  • What documents you will need
  • Application fees
  • How to prepare for your interview at your U.S. embassy or consulate

How to renew a visitor visa

You must renew your visitor visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Only diplomatic visa holders and their dependents can renew their visas within the U.S.

The process to renew a visitor visa is the same as getting one for the first time. Follow the process to apply for a visitor visa from the Department of State.

Find the contact information for your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and contact them for visa renewal information.

LAST UPDATED: December 6, 2023

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Visa Traveler

Exploring the world one country at a time

South Korea Tourist Visa: Requirements and Application Process

Published: March 27, 2024

A South Korea tourist visa is required for all nationalities that are not visa-exempt. The official code for the ordinary tourist visa is C-3-9. You can start the visa application online but you must visit a South Korean embassy in person to submit the documents.

Quick summary:

  • Who requires it: All nationalities that are not visa-exempt (or not eligible for K-ETA)
  • Validity: 3 months for single-entry; 6 months for double-entry
  • Allowed stay: up to 90 days for single-entry; up to 30 days for double-entry
  • Processing time: 4 to 14 days
  • Fee: 40 USD for single-entry; 70 USD for double-entry

Applications are reviewed by the specific embassy, hence the requirements, costs, and processing time differ significantly between countries.

Read the South Korea Visa Guide for general information on various visa options for tourists, requirements, eligibility and application process.

Table of Contents

Understanding south korea tourist visa.

South Korea Visa Sample

Tourist visa validity

The single-entry tourist visa is valid for 3 months from the date of issue.

The double-entry tourist visa is valid for 6 months.

The multiple-entry tourist visa can be valid for up to 5 years but has additional requirements including prior travel history to South Korea and as such isn’t an option for first-time travelers.

Duration of stay

Single-entry visas allow up to 90 days but double-entry visas only up to 30 days at a time.

Allowed number of entries

There are three types of South Korean tourist visas – single-entry, double-entry and multiple-entry.

Allowed ports of entry

You can enter South Korea from any international airport or seaport with a tourist visa.

When to apply

The processing time varies greatly between South Korean embassies. In general, allow at least a few weeks for the issuance of a tourist visa after your first visit to the embassy. 

  • Earliest: 3 months before traveling
  • Latest: 3 weeks before traveling

Tourist visa extension

Extensions to the tourist visa are possible but not easily granted. You must apply in person at the Seoul Immigration office. Extensions are approved only on a case-by-case basis.

Tourist visa benefits

South Korean tourist visa also offers VISA-FREE travel to 7 other countries. Read the  VISA-FREE countries for South Korea visa  for more details.

South Korea Tourist Visa Requirements

South Korea Visa Required Countries

Who requires a tourist visa

All non-visa-exempt nationalities require a tourist visa for South Korea.

If you are visa-exempt, you do not require a tourist visa instead you require a K-ETA to travel to South Korea.

Documents required

The following documents are required for the tourist visa.

  • Passport valid for more than 6 months
  • Completed Visa Application Form (Form #17)
  • Two passport-size photos (1 digital photo for online form)
  • Bank statement for the last 3-6 months

Depending on the nationality and the embassy where you apply, you may be required to submit additional documents such as the below.

  • Proof of employment (employment letter, salary slips, etc.)
  • Income tax returns (1-3 year ITR depending on whether employed or self-employed)
  • Proof of long-term residence (if applying from a country other than the country of citizenship)
  • Proof of property ownership
  • Family book or marriage certificate

Photo requirements

The photo for the tourist visa must meet the following requirements. 

  • Must be of size 35×45 mm, with the face taking 25×35 mm
  • Must be against a plain, evenly lit and light background, without any marks or creases
  • Must have taken within the last 6 months
  • Mist be looking directly at the camera
  • No sunglasses or hats, except for medical/disability reasons
  • Facial features are not covered from the bottom of chin to the top of forehead
  • Full face is visible without any shadows
  • Full face, eyebrows, eyes, nose, or mouth must not be covered, but covered ears are permitted.

The visa fee varies significantly depending on the type of visa, the location where you apply and your nationality.

In most general cases, the single-entry visa fee is 40 USD, double-entry is 70 USD and multiple-entry is 90 USD. The fee is payable in local currency in cash.

In some countries, South Korea has outsourced visa processing to Visa Application Centers such as VFS Global. Visa Application Centers charge their own service fee for handling the visa applications.

The fee is higher, lower, or exempted for certain nationalities. You can find the complete list on the Korea Visa Portal . 

Processing time

Applications are reviewed by a particular embassy so processing time is not universal. Some embassies process tourist visas in 4 days, others in 7 days, some in 14 days or more.

The official guidance is to apply at least 3 weeks in advance of traveling to allow sufficient time for the issuance of your tourist visa.

In countries where the application process is outsourced to Visa Application Centers, express processing is available for an additional fee.

Tourist Visa Application Process

South Korea Tourist Visa Application Portal

How to apply for South Korea tourist visa

South Korea’s tourist visa application process is partially online. You will have to fill out an online form but you will have to visit the embassy in person after to submit your documents. 

Below is the general process of applying for a South Korean tourist visa at the embassy. 

  • Step 1: Complete the e-form online

Step 2: Visit the diplomatic office

Step 3: wait for visa processing, step 4: receive visa issuance email/collect passport, step 1: complete the e-form online.

Follow the below steps to fill out the e-form online.

  • Go to the Korea Visa Navigator page and select your country. Pick “Short Term visit” and “90 days or less”.
  • Scroll to the bottom and select “Ordinary Tourist C-3-9”.
  • You will see multiple streams. The first stream on the list is for travelers visiting South Korea for tourism. Click on “e-Form (Visa Application)”.
  • Read through the procedure guidance page and click “Fill out the e-Form”.
  • Select the South Korean diplomatic office that you intend to visit, upload a face photo and complete the form.

After you complete the form, print the file with the barcode on it. You will receive an email with your application number. If you displace the barcode file, you can find it by entering your details on the Check Application Status page .

Prepare the printed visa application form (the one with the barcode) and attach copies of the other required documents. 

Visit the South Korean embassy or consulate that you picked during the application.

Formally submit your application in person at the embassy. Pay the visa fee in cash.

Check your email regularly in case the embassy requests additional documents. The visa process can take anywhere from 4 to 14 working days depending on the embassy. 

Receive Confirmation of Visa Issuance or Visa Grant Notice. Retrieve it online and print it before traveling to South Korea. 

If the embassy or consulate of South Korea still issues visa stickers in your country, you will have to collect your passport or request to mail it to you.

NOTE South Korean embassies no longer issue visa stickers inside passports. Stickers are still being issued in countries where visa application centers handle the process but this is going to be phased out soon.

Entry Procedure at the Border

Before going to the immigration counters, make sure to complete the paper Arrival Card. The airline staff will give you one onboard or you can grab one from the immigration. 

Present your passport along with the Visa Grant Notice and the Arrival Card to the immigration officer. Get stamped in and enter South Korea.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the minimum bank balance required for south korea visa.

There is no official statement regarding the minimum bank balance by South Korean immigration. It will depend on your circumstances and nationality.

That being said, anything less than 2,500 USD may be considered too low to sustain a trip to South Korea. 

Can I apply for South Korea tourist visa online?

You can begin the application process online by filling out the application form (form #17). However, the next steps require you to visit a South Korean embassy in person. Applications completely online are not possible.

Is a cover letter required for South Korea tourist visa?

A cover letter is not required for the South Korea tourist visa. But you can still submit one if you need to explain your circumstances in detail.

WRITTEN BY THIRUMAL MOTATI

Thirumal Motati

Thirumal Motati is an expert in tourist visa matters. He has been traveling the world on tourist visas for more than a decade. With his expertise, he has obtained several tourist visas, including the most strenuous ones such as the US, UK, Canada, and Schengen, some of which were granted multiple times. He has also set foot inside US consulates on numerous occasions. Mr. Motati has uncovered the secrets to successful visa applications. His guidance has enabled countless individuals to obtain their visas and fulfill their travel dreams. His statements have been mentioned in publications like Yahoo, BBC, The Hindu, and Travel Zoo.

PLAN YOUR TRAVEL WITH VISA TRAVELER

I highly recommend using these websites to plan your trip. I use these websites myself to apply for my visas, book my flights and hotels and purchase my travel insurance.

01. Apply for your visa

Get a verifiable flight itinerary for your visa application from DummyTicket247 . DummyTicket247 is a flight search engine to search and book flight itineraries for visas instantly. These flight itineraries are guaranteed to be valid for 2 weeks and work for all visa applications.

02. Book your fight

Find the cheapest flight tickets using Skyscanner . Skyscanner includes all budget airlines and you are guaranteed to find the cheapest flight to your destination.

03. Book your hotel

Book your hotel from Booking.com . Booking.com has pretty much every hotel, hostel and guesthouse from every destination.

04. Get your onward ticket

If traveling on a one-way ticket, use BestOnwardTicket to get proof of onward ticket for just $12, valid for 48 hours.

05. Purchase your insurance

Purchase travel medical insurance for your trip from SafetyWing . Insurance from SafetyWing covers COVID-19 and also comes with a visa letter which you can use for your visas.

06. Get your zero-fee ATM card

You can manage money internationally in over 70 currencies using  Wise . With a Wise card, you can store and withdraw cash in 40 currencies with zero ATM fees. 

Need more? Check out my travel resources page  for the best websites to plan your trip.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER We are not affiliated with immigration, embassies or governments of any country. The content in this article is for educational and general informational purposes only, and shall not be understood or construed as, visa, immigration or legal advice. Your use of information provided in this article is solely at your own risk and you expressly agree not to rely upon any information contained in this article as a substitute for professional visa or immigration advice. Under no circumstance shall be held liable or responsible for any errors or omissions in this article or for any damage you may suffer in respect to any actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the information in this article. Please refer to our full disclaimer for further information.

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please refer to our full disclosure for further information.

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Visit our Newsroom for information about the current status of visa services and visa restrictions related to the COVID-19 global pandemic

What is a U.S. Visa?

A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.

Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel. The Visa section of this website is all about U.S. visas for foreign citizens to travel to the United States.

(Note: U.S. citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit. In this situation, when planning travel abroad, learn about visa requirements by country, see country information in the International Travel Section section of this website.)

More Information about Visas

Find out what visa type is appropriate for you

The type of visa you must obtain is defined by U.S. immigration law, and relates to the purpose of your travel.

Please visit our Visa Wizard to find out what visa type is appropriate for you.

You can also visit our Frequently Asked Questions   or find out about the  Visa Waiver Program .

Other useful links:  Visa Categories   |   Find a U.S. Embassy or Consulate   |   Glossary

Visa Appointment Wait Time

Check the estimated wait time for a nonimmigrant visa interview appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Note: Please check the individual Embassy or Consulate website to determine if your case is eligible for a waiver of the in-person interview.

Applicants scheduling visa appointments in a location different from their place of residence should check post websites for nonresident wait times.

Select a U.S. Embassy or Consulate:

Global visa wait times, travel to the united states, forms & fees, rights & protections for temporary workers, fraud protection, glossary, a-z index, & faqs, electronic system for travel authorization application, rights & protections for foreign-citizen fiancé(e)(s), check the visa bulletin, need help getting started.

Many non-U.S. citizens need a visa to enter the United States to visit, work, and live. Why do you want to travel to the United States? Please try our Visa Wizard.

U.S. Visas News

Jan 2, 2024 Worldwide Visa Operations: Update

Dec 21, 2023 Important Update on Waivers of the Interview Requirement for Certain Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants

Dec 21, 2023 Department of State to Process Domestic Visa Renewals in Limited Pilot Program

Oct 19, 2023 Visa Waiver Travel for Israeli Citizens

Oct 6, 2023 Final Rule Governing Public Charge Grounds of Visa Ineligibility

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us embassy visit visa application form

How to Get a Travel Visa & Best Visa Services

W hen you are planning your next vacation, make sure to research to see if the country you plan to visit requires a visa of any sort and which visa services are quickest and cheapest. 

The list of countries that require visas for Americans includes some travel hot-spots, including; Australia , China , India , and Kenya . Even though holders of a United States passport can currently travel to 183 countries and territories without a travel visa, or with a visa on arrival according to Wikipedia.org it’s vital to know if you need to arrange for a visa quite a bit in advance.

Shortcut to Visa & Passport Information

Apply for a Visa for any Country

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Travel Visa Information & Visa Services

U.S. passport owners have the privilege of being able to visit various countries—among them Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Belize, Iceland, and more—without needing a visa. However, a number of international destinations do require that travelers with U.S. passports purchase tourist visas before entering the country. Here’s what you need to know about a few of the more frequently visited countries that require visas from U.S. citizens upon arrival.

One of the last things you might think about is visa requirements when planning your next vacation. 

Visa Requirements

Knowing which countries require a travel visa for U.S. citizens and understanding specific travel visa requirements for the country you plan to visit is of utmost importance. Unfortunately, there is not a set of travel visa rules that apply across the board. Each country that requires a travel visa will have its own requirements, so make sure to do your research and acquire all the documents needed prior to your visit. 

While there are many countries that don’t require a visa for a short stay (usually between 30-90 days), they may require a visa for a longer visit.  

How to Apply for a Travel Visa

For short-term travel, there are a couple of ways to secure a visa. For some countries, you can obtain a visa upon arrival by paying a fee at the airport, which is called “visa on arrival.” Some nations, however, require a visa application and approval before travel. For either scenario, the safest and smartest decision is to secure your visa in advance! There are many services that offer help with securing a travel visa and knowing how to get a visa for any country   can be a long process, so my suggestion is to start early! 

Visa Application Form

Each country has different requirements and their own visa application form. Some visas can be obtained on arrival at the airport, while some visas must be applied for in advance. 

Some visas take just a few days to receive after submission, while others can take several weeks. Again, begin your visa process as early as possible to assure you have no hiccups in your vacation plans.

Check specific entry requirements by country, including Visa requirements on the U.S. State Department’s website  for more details.

Online Visa Application Form

Check the visa requirements for your nationality for every country in the world and discover the visa information you need for your chosen destination and then simply apply for an online visa directly with the country embassy or a company such as onlinevisa.com . 

All the Countries That Require Visas for Americans 

For a full list of countries requiring tourist visas from U.S. citizens, including China, India, Russia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya and more click here .

Indian Visa

You need a Visa to travel to India from the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia (as well as many other countries). Check the rules for your country, but U.S. citizens who want to travel to India for tourist purposes, and who plan to stay no longer than 60 days, may apply for a visa electronically. When I applied for my visa, the system was fairly clunky and I needed to upload a photo and a copy of my passport. I received my Indian visa within two days of applying.

Note, that India’s visa application process changes frequently, so the Indian embassy in Washington, D.C. suggests travelers to their website for updates before planning a trip. As things can change, do up to date research, but as of the writing of this article; a U.S. citizen can apply online for an electronic travel authorization referred to as an “e-Visa” up to four days before arrival in India, but no more than 30 days before travel. The e-Visa costs $100 and is valid for 60 days upon entry to India. (Be prepared to present a printed copy at customs in the international airport.)

Australian Visa

To apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) you must have a valid passport and apply for your ETA with the passport and passport number you will be traveling to Australia with. You can purchase an Australian ETA no later than 24 hours in advance of your departure. Electronic tourist visas are valid for one year and permit multiple stays of up to 90 days in Australia. They currently cost $20 per person.

Russian Visa

To enter Russia, residents of most countries, including the US are required to obtain a visa in advance. In order to get a Russian visa , the first thing you need is an invitation (also known as visa support letter). After that, you can apply for the visa at a Russian consulate, a travel agent or with a visa service company. U.S. citizens can apply for as long as 36 months with a tourist visa.  

Additional Required Paperwork

If you’re planning an international trip with a U.S. passport, be prepared with all of your paperwork. Although each country has different requirements, there are some general rules to observe when planning an international trip:

  • Your Passport must be valid for at least 6 months to travel to most international locations and must have at least two blank pages available in your passport.
  • You may be asked for  proof of onward travel , which is not a problem if you have a return ticket. If you plan on country-hopping, you’ll need to have proof of your travel plans. You may be refused to board on a flight if you cannot satisfy immigration that you plan on leaving their country. If you’re not sure when you plan on leaving, you can buy an onward flight that is refundable and re-book later.
  • Some countries require that you have  adequate medical insurance to cover your stay. Regardless of whether it is mandatory, we highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance .  
  • It is rare, but you may be asked for  proof of funds and will need to satisfy immigration that you can support your travels. This can catch you off guard, and trying to log in to your internet bank on airport Wi-Fi can be a bit frantic. To be prepared, make sure you have a copy of a bank statement or a screenshot on your phone.
  • Regardless of whether a country has visa-free access, there are still requirements that need to be met if you’re going to travel abroad. We recommend that you confirm with the relevant embassy before making any travel plans.

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The post How to Get a Travel Visa & Best Visa Services appeared first on 52 Perfect Days .

When you are planning your next vacation, make sure to research to see if the country you plan to visit requires a visa of any sort and which visa services are quickest and cheapest.  The list of countries that require visas for Americans includes some travel hot-spots, including; Australia, China, India, and Kenya. Even though...

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Expedite Requests

ALERT:  If you are a healthcare worker or a childcare worker

If you are a healthcare worker or a childcare worker

  • Who has a pending Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, initial application, which has been pending for over 90 days; OR
  • Who has a pending Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, renewal  application and whose Employment Authorization Document (EAD) expires within 30 days or less, or has already expired:

Call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833) to request expedited processing based on your position as a healthcare worker or a childcare worker with an EAD application that meets the above criteria.

To determine whether you are a qualifying healthcare worker, see this  DHS advisory memorandum (“Healthcare/Public Health” section, pages 7-9) (PDF) .

To determine whether you are a qualifying childcare worker, see the  Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)  code 39-9011, which includes workers who “attend to children at schools, businesses, private households, and childcare institutions” and “perform a variety of tasks, such as dressing, feeding, bathing, and overseeing play.” (Note that this definition does not include preschool teachers or teaching assistants.)

Be prepared to provide evidence of your profession or current or immediate prospective employment as a healthcare worker or a childcare worker and current valid immigration status. If the evidence you provide is not sufficient, we may not accommodate your request for expedited processing of your Form I-765.

You may request that USCIS expedite the adjudication of an application, petition, request, appeal, or motion that is under USCIS jurisdiction.

We consider all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and generally require documentation to support such requests. The decision to expedite is within the sole discretion of USCIS. Expediting your case generally means that we would adjudicate your benefit ahead of others, including those who may have filed earlier, so we carefully weigh the urgency and merit of each expedite request.

Relevant criteria or circumstances that may be considered in determining whether to grant an expedite request include, but are not limited to, the below:

  • Severe financial loss to a company or person, provided that the need for urgent action is not the result of the petitioner’s or applicant’s failure to timely file the benefit request or to timely respond to any requests for evidence;
  • Emergencies or urgent humanitarian situations;
  • Nonprofit organization (as designated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)) whose request is in furtherance of the cultural or social interests of the United States;
  • Government interests, including cases identified by the government as urgent because they involve the public interest, public safety, national interest, or national security interests; and
  • Clear USCIS error.

Not every circumstance that fits under the criteria or examples above will result in expedited processing. See more information below on expedite criteria and circumstances. For USCIS’  expedite policy guidance , see Volume 1 of the USCIS Policy Manual.

Note:   The processes and requirements for requesting expedited adjudication are different for some application types and circumstances. Refer to the chart in the Specific Procedures section of this page for more information about expedite requests related to:

  • Appeals or motions
  • Refugee status
  • Petition for refugee/asylee relative
  • Humanitarian parole
  • T nonimmigrant status
  • U nonimmigrant status
  • Other benefit requests pending with offices outside the United States

A company can demonstrate that it would suffer a severe financial loss if it is at risk of failing, losing a critical contract, or required to lay off other employees.

Job loss may be sufficient to establish severe financial loss for a person, depending on the individual circumstances. The need to obtain employment authorization, standing alone, without evidence of other compelling factors, does not warrant expedited treatment.

Examples may include:

  • A medical office that may suffer severe financial loss if a gap in a doctor’s employment authorization would require the medical practice to lay off its medical assistants.
  • A person who would lose critical public benefits or services.

In the context of an expedite request, an emergency or urgent humanitarian situation is a pressing or critical circumstance related to human welfare. Human welfare means issues related to the well-being of a person or group. Examples include, but are not limited to, illness, disability, death of a family member or close friend, or extreme living conditions, such as those caused by natural catastrophes or armed conflict.

NOTE:  Certain benefit requests, such as asylum applications, refugee applications, and requests for humanitarian parole, by their nature involve urgent humanitarian situations. Therefore, filing a humanitarian-based benefit, standing alone, without evidence of other time-sensitive or compelling factors, generally may not warrant expedited treatment under this criterion.

Examples of emergencies or urgent humanitarian situations may include:

  • A vulnerable person whose safety may be otherwise compromised.
  • Healthcare workers who are needed during a pandemic.

Travel-Related Requests

USCIS considers expedited processing of an Application for Travel Document ( Form I-131 ) when there is a pressing or critical need for an applicant to travel outside the United States.

Expedited processing of a travel document may be warranted when there is an unexpected need to travel outside the United States for an unplanned event, such as for a funeral. Expedited processing of a travel document may also be warranted when there is a pressing or critical need to travel outside the United States for a planned event, but processing times prevent USCIS from issuing the travel document by the planned date of departure. When there is a request to expedite processing of a travel document for a planned event, we will consider whether the applicant timely filed  Form I-131 or timely responded to a request for evidence.

NOTE:  A benefit requestor’s desire to travel solely for vacation generally does not meet the definition of a pressing or critical need to travel.

We generally require documentation to support an expedite request. Examples of evidence that may support travel-related expedite requests are outlined in the following table.

Examples of a pressing or critical need to travel outside the United States may include:

  • A requestor who has a pressing or critical need to travel outside the United States to obtain medical treatment in a limited amount of time.
  • A requestor who has a pressing or critical need to travel outside the United States due to the death or grave illness of a family member or close friend.
  • A requestor who applied for a travel document 5 months ago when they learned of the event, but their case remains pending, and they must travel for a pressing or critical professional, academic, or personal commitment, which is now in 45 days.

A nonprofit organization seeking to expedite a beneficiary’s benefit request must demonstrate an urgent need to expedite the case based on the beneficiary’s specific role within the nonprofit in furthering cultural or social interests (as opposed to the organization’s role in furthering social or cultural interests).

  • A professional who is urgently needed for research related to a specific U.S. social interest.
  • A university professor urgently needed to participate in a specific and imminent cultural program.
  • A religious organization that urgently needs a beneficiary’s specific services and skill set to continue a vital social outreach program.

This includes cases identified as urgent by a federal, state, tribal, territorial, or local government of the United States because they involve public interest, public safety, national interest, or national security interests. The request must be made by a person who has authority to represent the agency or department, such as an official, manager, supervisor, or tribal leader, on the matter for which expedited treatment is being requested. The request must demonstrate that the interests are pressing and substantive.

Where a federal agency or department is able to state a federal government interest in accordance with these criteria, we generally defer to that federal agency or department’s assessment.

If the request relates to employment authorization, the request must demonstrate that the need for the applicant to be authorized to work is critical to the mission of the requesting agency or department, and goes beyond a general need to retain a particular worker or person.

  • A noncitizen victim or witness who is cooperating with a federal, state, or local agency and needs employment authorization because the respective agency is seeking back pay or reinstatement in court proceedings.
  • A noncitizen scientist whose contributions are needed by a government lab or grantee.

USCIS may consider an expedite request based on clear USCIS error when a requestor establishes an urgent need to correct the error.

An example may include:

  • An applicant who receives an Employment Authorization Document with incorrect information that prevents them from being able to work may request a replacement document on an expedited basis if we caused the error.

You generally may request we expedite your case after you receive a receipt notice. (The process to request an expedite is different in some circumstances. See the Specific Procedures section below.)

Before submitting an expedite request, you should:

  • Check current  case processing times to determine whether you need an expedite.
  • Check your  case status online . If there is an action on your case pending with you, such as submitting biometrics or evidence, you should complete these actions before submitting an expedite request.
  • Check whether  premium processing service is available. We will not consider expedite requests for petitions and applications where premium processing service is available, unless the petitioner is designated as a nonprofit organization by the IRS and filing for a beneficiary whose services are needed to further the cultural or social interests of the United States.

Please make only one expedite request to reduce duplicate efforts and help us use our resources for quicker processing. Multiple requests may delay USCIS’s ability to expedite processing.

Expedite Requests for Travel Documents

If you are requesting expedited processing of a  travel document , you generally need to apply for and obtain the document before you leave the United States. You should make your expedite request on your pending application at least 45 days before you plan to leave the United States. (If you must travel within the next 15 days, see the  Emergency Travel page.)

For most cases, you may request an expedite by contacting the  USCIS Contact Center or by asking Emma.  (You can access Emma by clicking on the Ask Emma icon on the top right of this page). You need to explain why you need expedited processing. You also generally need to provide your receipt number to the USCIS Contact Center so they can send your request to the office that has your application or petition. If you have a USCIS  online account and have access to secure messaging, you may select “expedite” as the reason for your inquiry and submit your request there.

You generally need to justify your expedite request with evidence. When communicating with the Contact Center, you will be asked about supporting documentation. You should be prepared to supply this to the office processing your case.

If you have a USCIS  online account , you should upload evidence through your online account to support your expedite request in addition to calling the USCIS Contact Center. If you send a secure message, we will ask you to confirm that you have uploaded evidence in your account. If we receive an expedite request without evidence to support it, we will send you instructions on how to submit the evidence.

Note: The processes and requirements to request expedited adjudication are different in some circumstances. Refer to the chart under Specific Procedures below for expedite requests related to:

  • Appeals/Motions

Some programs and circumstances have their own processes and requirements for requesting expedited adjudication and may have different expedite criteria. You should follow the specific procedures referenced below for requesting an expedite in the following circumstances:

We receive a large number of expedite requests. We generally send a response to expedite requests that are submitted through the Contact Center. However, to increase efficiency in processing expedite requests, we generally do not provide justification for expedite decisions.

A decision on an expedite request is not an approval or a denial of your underlying benefit request. The expedite decision simply determines whether we will take your benefit request out of order and try to issue a decision (approval or denial) faster than the normal processing time. We cannot make a decision on your benefit request until all processing requirements have been completed.

Some circumstances may prolong or inhibit our ability to expedite certain benefit requests. Examples include, but are not limited to, when:

  • The benefit requestor must perform a certain action or submit additional documentation or evidence related to their benefit request, such as attend a biometric services appointment, be interviewed, or complete any required   immigration medical examination ;
  • There is a required background check that remains pending with a third-party agency;
  • An application or petition requires an on-site inspection; or
  • An application or petition depends on the adjudication of a principal’s application or petition.

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COMMENTS

  1. DS-160: Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application

    The DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form, is for temporary travel to the United States, and for K (fiancé (e)) visas. Form DS-160 is submitted electronically to the Department of State website via the Internet. Consular Officers use the information entered on the DS-160 to process the visa application and, combined with a personal ...

  2. Visitor Visa

    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 ...

  3. Nonimmigrant Visa

    The first step in applying for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa is to complete your application. It takes approximately 90 minutes to do this. After you submit your application, you can move on to the next steps such as scheduling your interview. Types of Visas.

  4. Consular Electronic Application Center

    Welcome. Welcome to the Consular Electronic Application Center! On this website, you can apply for a U.S. Nonimmigrant Visa; apply to renew an A, G, or NATO Visa; apply for an Immigrant Visa; or check the status of your visa application. On this website, you can also pay certain fees associated with your Immigrant Visa application. Please note ...

  5. Visas

    Nonimmigrant visas allow people to visit the United States for short periods and for specific purposes. If you want to move here permanently, please see the information below on immigrant visas. 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.

  6. DS-160: Frequently Asked Questions

    Once you have electronically submitted your DS-160 online application, you must contact the embassy or consulate at which you wish to apply to confirm whether you need to be interviewed by a consular officer, and to schedule an interview. You can find a list of U.S. embassies and consulates here, with links to their websites where you can find ...

  7. Visas

    A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler's passport, a travel document issued by the traveler's country of citizenship or nationality. Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet ...

  8. How to apply for or renew a U.S. tourist visa

    The process to renew a visitor visa is the same as getting one for the first time. Follow the process to apply for a visitor visa from the Department of State. Find the contact information for your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and contact them for visa renewal information. LAST UPDATED: December 6, 2023.

  9. USTravelDocs

    Apply for a U.S. Visa. At this website, you can learn about obtaining a visa, as well as applying for your visa. How to apply for your nonimmigrant visa for travel to the United States. What documents, photos and information you need to apply for your visa. How to access visa application forms and instructions.

  10. Visas

    Embassy Addis Ababa has resumed processing of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. We appreciate your patience as there are significant backlogs in most visa categories. Diversity Visas: Embassy Addis Ababa is scheduling a limited number of Diversity Visa cases. IMPORTANT- As of May 12, Nonimmigrant visa holders will no longer need to show proof ...

  11. Visas

    When planning travel abroad a U.S. citizen may need a visa issued by the embassy or consulate of the country they wish to visit. What Type of Visa Do You Need? For short-term visits to the United States (for tourism, business, education, and more), you can go directly to the online application (form DS-160). For immigrant visas, which are ...

  12. Entering the U.S.

    The Visa section of this website is all about U.S. visas for foreign citizens to travel to the United States. (Note: U.S. citizens don't need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit.). Customer Service Statement. The Department of State manages the visa ...

  13. Visas

    Visas. The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying. See our Directory of Visa Categories on usvisas.state.gov to determine ...

  14. Visas

    The application fee for visitor and certain other non-immigrant visa categories will increase from $160 to $185, effective June 17, 2023. Similarly, the application fee for certain petition-based nonimmigrant visas for temporary workers (H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories) will increase from $190 to $205. The fee for a treaty trader, treaty ...

  15. U.S. Visa Services

    When planning travel abroad a U.S. citizen may need a visa issued by the embassy or consulate of the country they wish to visit. What Type of Visa Do You Need? For short-term visits to the United States (for tourism, business, education, and more), you can go directly to the online application (form DS-160). For immigrant visas, which are ...

  16. Visas

    Important Notice: Nonimmigrant Visa Processing Fee Increases. Effective June 17, 2023, the application fee for visitor visas for business or tourism (B-1/B-2) and other non-petition-based nonimmigrant visas, such as student and exchange visitor visas, increased from $160 to $185. The application fee for certain petition-based nonimmigrant visas for temporary workers (H, L, O, P, Q, and R ...

  17. Nonimmigrant Visas

    1. Gather all documentation pertaining to your E-visa application. Complete and submit the Online Visa Application (DS-160) along with your uploaded photo. 2. Print the bar-coded DS-160 confirmation page which must be submitted with your application. Complete and submit Form DS-156E (not required for dependent family members) 3.

  18. South Korea Tourist Visa: Requirements and Application Process

    South Korea's tourist visa application process is partially online. You will have to fill out an online form but you will have to visit the embassy in person after to submit your documents. Below is the general process of applying for a South Korean tourist visa at the embassy. Step 1: Complete the e-form online.

  19. How to apply for a U.S. Tourism or Visitor Visa (the B-2 visas)

    If you are applying for a visa for the first time, or are applying to renew a visa, you are required to take the same steps. Step One: Complete the online DS-160 and print the confirmation page for each person applying for a visa, regardless of age. Answer the questions to the best of your ability; we cannot assist you in completing the form.

  20. U.S. Visas

    A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler's passport, a travel document issued by the traveler's country of citizenship. Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet the ...

  21. Visas

    When planning travel abroad a U.S. citizen may need a visa issued by the embassy or consulate of the country they wish to visit. What Type of Visa Do You Need? For short-term visits to the United States (for tourism, business, education, and more), you can go directly to the online application (form DS-160). For immigrant visas, which are ...

  22. Visas

    For short-term visits to the United States (for tourism, business, education, and more), you can go directly to the online application (form DS-160). For immigrant visas, which are issued to foreign nationals who intend to live and work permanently in the United States, you can visit the U.S. citizenship and Immigration Services site for the ...

  23. U.S. Visa Services

    For short-term visits to the United States (for tourism, business, education, and more), you can go directly to the online application (form DS-160). For immigrant visas, which are issued to foreign nationals who intend to live and work permanently in the United States, you can visit the U.S. citizenship and Immigration Services site for the ...

  24. Visas

    Visas. Effective May 30, 2023, the application fee for visitor visas for business or tourism (B1/B2s and BCCs), and other non-petition based NIVs such as student and exchange visitor visas, will increase from $160 to $185. The fee for certain petition-based nonimmigrant visas for temporary workers (H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories) will increase ...

  25. Visas

    When planning travel abroad a U.S. citizen may need a visa issued by the embassy or consulate of the country they wish to visit. What Type of Visa Do You Need? For short-term visits to the United States (for tourism, business, education, and more), you can go directly to the online application (form DS-160). For immigrant visas, which are ...

  26. Visas

    Applicants may now direct any visa-related inquiries to [email protected]. Important Notice: DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. When booking your visa appointment, you must ensure that you, or your representative, submit a properly completed DS-160 form (online visa application).

  27. Apply for your Student Visa

    Valid student visas are required to apply to the Department of Homeland Security for admission into the U.S. To begin, go to the Australian page on USTravelDocs.com . Start with step two at the bottom of the page, which will help you fill out the visa application, also called the DS-160.

  28. How to Get a Travel Visa & Best Visa Services

    Even though holders of a United States passport can currently travel to 183 countries and territories without a travel visa, or with a visa on arrival according to Wikipedia.org it's vital to ...

  29. Expedite Requests

    Refugee Travel Documents for Refugees Who Have Traveled Outside the United States: Submit requests directly to the address indicated for individuals currently outside the United States on the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-131, Application for Travel Document page under the "refugee travel document applicants" section. Include a written ...

  30. Form DS-5535 Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants

    Please only complete Form DS-5535 Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants if a visa officer has requested you to at the time of your visa interview. Please follow the instructions mentioned on the 221 (g) letter you received and submit the form by email. The subject of your email to submit requested information or documents should be ...