United States visas are not for U.S. citizens looking to travel outside the United States. Instead, they are for citizens of foreign countries who wish to enter the United States. Generally, for someone to come to the U.S. legally, he or she must first obtain a U.S. visa.
Once a foreign citizen obtains a U.S. visa, it is placed in his or her traveler’s passport, which is issued by the person’s home country. However, not all international travelers are required to obtain a U.S. visa. Depending on their place of birth and citizenship, some travelers are eligible to travel to the U.S. without a visa.
Note: If you are a U.S. citizen, you do NOT need to obtain a U.S. visa for you to travel abroad; however, you may be required to obtain a visa issued by the embassy of the country you are planning on visiting. If you are a U.S. citizen who wishes to travel abroad, you can learn more about the country’s requirements by clicking here.
Entering the U.S. With a Visa
Once a foreigner obtains a U.S. visa, he or she can enter the United States on an airplane, through a port of entry, or through a land border crossing. However, having a U.S. visa does not automatically guarantee you’ll be allowed into the United States. First, you must obtain permission from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection
“DHS/CBP inspectors, guardians of the nation’s borders, are responsible for admission of travelers to the United States, for a specified status and period of time,” according to travel.state.gov. “How many U.S. visas are there?” In the U.S., we have two types of visas: 1) nonimmigrant visas for travelers who wish to come to the U.S. temporarily, and 2) immigrant visas for travelers who wish to live in the U.S. permanently.