General Information and Requirements for All Travelers

Valid U.S. Visa

The visa stamp in the passport indicates the type of visa, the expiration date, and number of entries permitted. As long as the visa matches the status of your entry, is multiple-entry and has not yet expired, you do not need to apply for a new visa if planning to re-enter the U.S. in the same status.

Always check with the U.S. consulate in the country in which you will apply for a visa.  Each post follows U.S. laws and regulations, but has its own procedures in issuing visas.

Please consider:

  • Non-immigrant visa applicants (except H-1-B) must prove to the visa officer they will return home and show sufficient ties to their home country.  People applying for non-immigrant visas must show non-immigrant intent.
  • The DS-160 (electronic visa application) is currently $160.00
  • Some countries have additional security checks that will take 28 days or more before visas can be issued. It is important that scholars consider their research and employee obligations before traveling because administrative processing for visas may take a long time. These security checks are based on a variety of things. Unfortunately, DISSA cannot speed up the visa process.
  • Visas are denied for a variety of reasons.  If denied, ask for the reason in writing. Individuals frequently assume the visa was denied for the wrong reason.  The most common visa denial is based on 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act: the visa officer is required to assume every visa applicant is an intending immigrant until the applicant proves otherwise. People applying for non-immigrant visas must show non-immigrant intent. Other reasons for visa denial include incomplete applications, inadmissibility, false documentation, etc.

Canadian Citizens

Canadians entering the U.S. need a passport and an endorsed I-20/DS-2019 and must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. Canadians re-entering the U.S. in F-1/J-1 status do not need a visa. F-1/J-1 students will need an endorsed I-20/DS-2019 and valid I-94 (for re-entry).

Travel to Contiguous Territory (i.e., Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands other than Cuba)

See the U.S. Department of State Automatic Revalidation information.

Important: Applying for a U.S. visa in Canada or Mexico

Anyone applying for a U.S. visa in Canada or Mexico cannot use automatic visa revalidation.  If you apply for a U.S. visa in contiguous territory, you must wait in that country until the visa is issued before you can enter the U.S. If the visa application is denied, you should be prepared to return to your home country directly from Canada or Mexico.

Airport Transit Visas

Several countries in the European Union and Canada require airport transit visas from some nationals. This information often changes.  Check the consulate website of the country where you will transfer planes.  DISSA cannot advise.