Entering the US – what you’ll need

Something for everyone

USA flag in the wind

The United States of America is home to many fascinating destinations for people coming from all over the world. On the one hand, the US is known for its big cities, dotted all over the country: New York and Philadelphia in the east, Los Angeles and San Francisco in the west, Chicago and Detroit in the northern areas or Miami in the south. All of these cities have their own character and represent the diversity of the American culture and lifestyle. On the other hand, the US is famous for its natural sights, such as the Grand Canyon, the Yosemite National Park, the Everglades National Park in Florida, the Niagara Falls, Death Valley and many more.

The American Dream

In short: The huge area of North America offers something for everyone and is therefore among the top destinations for tourists in the world. Apart from that, the country is closely associated with the American Dream which is believed to promise hardworking people success in life, no matter where they come from and what their background. For this reason, Europeans, Asians, Africans and many others dream of starting a new life in the “country of unlimited opportunities.” Before travelling or immigrating to the US, however, people have to fulfil entry requirements, differing somewhat depending on your country of origin and the purpose of your visit.

Tourist or immigrant?

Depending on your individual plans, there are different requirements which need to be satisfied in order to be granted entry into the US. As a tourist, you either need a visa, or must carry a passport from a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program. As the United Kingdom participates in this program, all UK citizens are able to enter the USA without a visa for a maximum of 90 days. Rather than carrying a visa, citizens of participating countries must get authorisation from the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) in order to enter the US as tourist. If you come to the USA for business purposes, however, you’ll need to apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa which allows you to stay for a maximum of 180 days.

Extended stays – the Green Card

If planning to stay in the USA for an extended period of time for living and working over there, you will need an immigration visa. With high qualifications and professional experience, you can apply for an EB-1A, an EB-1B or an EB-1C visa, depending on the level of your qualifications and your professional status. For non-UK citizens, it is also possible to participate in the Green Card Lottery mentioned on the same site. People holding a different nationality but currently living in the UK may however apply. Here you would only need a school leaving certificate comparable to a US high school diploma or two years of work experience in a job requiring two years of training. So why not prepare a trip to the USA as a tourist to get a first impression on the American way of life? It may well become a life-changing experience.

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