Visa for Texas, USA

Published on: Jun 24, 2015, Last Edited: May 23, 2018 | Tags: USA Visa, USA Visa Application, USA Visa Requirements

Introduction

This article contains information intended to help foreign nationals obtain the right visa for Texas, or visa waiver, depending on their country of citizenship, travel purposes and total duration of stay in the United States.

Visa and ESTA Overview

If you are a non-US citizen and want to visit Texas, then it may be worth your while to learn more about The Visa Waiver Program. This allows citizens of participating countries to travel to Texas without a visa if they stay for 90 days or less. However, it is important to know that certain requirements need to be met.

This opportunity to travel to Texas without a visa for the 90 day or less stay is subject to you meeting very strict standard requirements. One of these requirements is that you need to be a citizen or National of a VWP-participant country. The good news is that there are 38 countries across the globe which are Visa Waiver Program participants.

One of the other most popular ways that non-US citizens visit Texas is by obtaining a visitor or tourist visa. Visitor visas refer to non-immigrant’s who wish to enter the United States on a purely temporary basis. The category choices are B-1 for business, B-2 for tourism, pleasure and visiting purposes or B-1/B-2, which is a combination of both purposes.

There are several steps which you will need to take, should you wish to apply for a visa. The way you need to complete these steps, as well as the specific order of these steps may differ depending on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you decide to apply.

If apply for a B-type visa, you will be able to complete an online visa application, called the DS-160. You will also be required to attend an interview and all your documentations will need to be taken with you to your interview. Remember, there are no guarantees that you will you will be issued a US visa; it is therefore highly recommended that you don't make final travel plans or purchase your tickets until you have received your visa.

The Visa Waiver Program and ESTA

Known as the VWP, the visa waiver program was originally designed to make entry into the country easier for people with certain passports. Although a full visa application must be made for certain travelers, under the VWP entry may be granted without one. In order to be able to come into the US, an Electronic System for Travel Authorization, otherwise known as an ESTA, has to be obtained in place of a visa. The idea is that this is simpler to process than a visa and 38 countries around the world are deemed to have citizens fit for ESTAs. Essentially, an ESTA covers travelers to the US who do not want to stay any more than 90 days. As such, both tourists and most business visitors will find an ESTA as the best way of authorizing their travel. Once an ESTA has been granted, it is valid for a two-year period so long as the holder does not need to apply for a new passport in that time. Lastly, short transit stops and some visits for medical treatments are also suitable for ESTA applications under the VWP.

What Sort of Travel is a VWP Valid For? 

For business travelers, a VWP should only be used for:

  • Consulting with colleagues and other commercial contacts 
  • Taking part in a conference about science, education, trade or commerce 
  • Business training sessions which must be short-term and not funded from within the US 
  • Travel to conduct negotiations of a contractual nature

For leisure travelers, a VWP should only be used for:

  • Tourism, i.e. being on vacation 
  • Paying a visit to family or friends 
  • Having a medical procedure carried out 
  • Taking part in a social event by an organization 
  • Playing in an amateur sporting contest 
  • Performing in an amateur production or concert

A VWP does not cover travel to the US for:

  • An educational course unless it is part of leisure visit, such as a short cookery class 
  • Employed work 
  • Employment by the foreign press including radio and TV broadcasts and other media 
  • Residency

Other Noteworthy Regulations

  • Persons intending to head to the US without a visa must obtain an ESTA by logging on to the automated internet-based system developed by the Department of Homeland Security and the Customs and Border Protection. Entering their details will allow the US authorities to make a decision on the applicant's right to enter without the need for a visa.
  • Visitors arriving with an ESTA will need to demonstrate that they have a return trip booked either by sea or air travel.
  • Applicants with a prior visa refusal are not likely to be able to gain an ESTA via the online process.
  • ESTA applicants must hold a valid e-passport which has an electronic chip stored within it.


The Three Common Types of Visa 

Most people for whom an ESTA is inappropriate - for example, people who would like to visit the US for more than 90 day – will need to apply for a visa. There are three common types which cover most of the reasons people wish to gain entry into the US. Both business and tourist travelers are covered by their own visa classes and a third category is generally the best option for other types of visit. You must apply for the right one given the stated purpose of your visit.

The visa types are:

  • Class B1 – This is a business visa that is issued for people who will be holding business meetings or handling the settlement of an estate. 
  • Class B2 – This is a tourist visa that is issued for vacations over 90 days and for those on shorter pleasure trips who do not have the right sort of passport. 
  • Class B1-B2 – This is a visitor visa that is issued for other types of visit or when business and a leisure trip are to be combined.

Making a Valid Visa Application 

There are usually four steps to obtaining a visa. Remember that these can differ depending on where in the world you are from.

  • Fill out a Visa Application Form DS-160 online. Once completed, the website will direct you to a confirmation page which you should print out as documentary proof. 
  • Make a request at the US embassy or consulate in your home country for a visa application interview. At a time of his or her choosing, a Visa Officer will call you to come in for an interview. 
  • You will be expected to keep your mandatory documentation with you safely while you wait to be called for an interview. Ensure your passport, your DS-160 confirmation page, your application fee receipt and a photo are ready for inspection and valid. 
  • Once called, you must attend your visa interview at the specified time. Not that the Visa Officer may decide your application is unsuccessful at this time or could ask you to produce further paperwork. Once approved, you will have to pay a fee for your visa to be issued.

Texas Travel Information

Texas is the second largest and second most populous state in the USA. The state of Texas offers travelers with a taste of different cultures, outings and experiences. Austin is the state capital and is known as the "live music capital of the world".

Houston is one of the most popular Texas cities and is world renown, due to it being the home of NASA's mission control center. San Antonio is a 'must-see' city due to the popularity of its nightlife spots.

A few more top tourist destinations in Texas include: Austin City Limits in Austin, Houston Space Center in Houston, Sea World in San Antonio, The River walk (Paseo del Rio) and Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, amongst various other fantastic places.

Conclusion

Wherever you decide to explore, make sure you obtain an ESTA or visa for Texas. Travelers are advised to apply for an ESTA or a visa at least four weeks before their date of departure.

Get the right travel authorization for your trip to Texas

If you hold a passport from a visa waiver country such as the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or other Western European Country, and wish to obtain an ESTA for tourist, business, medical or transit purposes through Texas, get started on your application now:

Apply for ESTA

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ESTA is a mandatory travel authorization for travelers visiting the United States either by Sea or Air for tourism, transit or business visits under 90 days.

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