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Just Visiting: Documents You Need for a Visit to the United States

Our law firm represents clients seeking documentation and status to travel and live in the United States. As a visitor to the United States, you need different documents than those needed by an individual beginning the immigration process.

If planning a trip stateside, you may be eligible to visit the U.S. through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The VWP allows eligible participants in 37 identified countries to visit the United States for 90 days without a visa for reasons that include:

  • Business: Meet with business contacts, attend a conference or symposium, attend defined training programs and participate in business projects such as preparing or negotiating a contract
  • Visiting: Tour or visit the country, attend short-term, non-credit educational courses, receive medical treatment, participate in social or amateur sports or hobby events

In order to utilize the VWP, you must receive authorization to travel through the Electronic System for Travel Authentication (ESTA). ESTA authorization is obtained online after you submit an application with your personal information including if you have any communicable diseases or a criminal record. Points about an ESTA authorization include:

  • The authorization is valid for approximately two years.
  • Application can be made before your travel plans are finalized.
  • Group applications can be made for up to 50 individuals.

When visiting the United States, Customs and Border Protection (CPB) stamps your passport upon entry into the country. Earlier this year, CPB began using an electronic I-94 form required of all non-immigrant visitors to the United States. A paper copy of the I-94 can now be printed from the CBP website.

Doing the advance work on documentation needed to visit the United States saves time and maybe your trip. If you have questions about visiting or immigration requirements, speak with our law firm.

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