COVID-19 Operations Update
Due to additional pandemic restrictions enacted by the German government beginning Wednesday, December 16, 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Berlin and consulates in Germany are closed for routine passport, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, visa, and notarial appointments. Please use our online appointment system to make a visa appointment once we resume routine services.
Per Presidential Proclamation 10143, noncitizens, other than U.S. lawful permanent residents, may not enter the United States if they were physically present in the 26 countries of the Schengen Area, the U.K., and Ireland, among other countries. (The Schengen Area includes: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.) If you have been or will be physically present in any of the above-referenced countries—including transit—within the 14 days prior to your planned trip to the United States, you will need a national interest exception to enter the United States in addition to a valid visa or ESTA. For more information, please see the following links: Presidential Proclamations and Frequently Asked COVID-19 Questions.
The Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) allows citizens of participating countries* to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less, when they meet all requirements. New Information regarding ESTA: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/
Don’t be Early – Do Not Arrive More Than 15 Minutes Before the Visa Interview Appointment
In order to facilitate speedy entry into the building, please read our security notice on prohibited items (PDF 137 KB).
The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying. See our Directory of Visa Categories to determine which visa category might be appropriate for your purpose of travel to the United States.
Travel to the United States on a temporary basis, including tourism, temporary employment, study and exchange.
For foreign citizens who want to live permanently in the United States.
What is a Visa?
A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.
Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel. The Visa section of this website is all about U.S. visas for foreign citizens to travel to the United States.
(Note: U.S. citizens do not need a U.S. visa for travel but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit.).
Customer Service Statement
The Department of State manages the visa process strictly but fairly in order to best protect the United States. We are committed to the essential openness for which the United States has always been known. Travel to the United States is welcomed and encouraged.
We promise to you, the visa applicant, that:
- We will treat you with dignity and respect, even if we are unable to grant you a visa.
- We will treat you as an individual and your case as unique.
- We will remember that, to you, a visa interview may be a new or intimidating experience and that you may be nervous.
- We will use the limited time available for the interview to get as full a picture as possible of your travel plans and intentions.
- We will use our available resources to fairly assist all applicants to get appointments to allow travel in time for business, study, and other important obligations.
- We will post detailed and accurate information on visa requirements and application procedures on every Embassy and Consulate website.
- We will provide information on non-immigrant appointment waiting times at every Embassy and Consulate posted on http://travel.state.gov.
- We will explain the reason for any visa denial to you.
Furthermore, if you are a:
- Student, we will make every effort to ensure that you get an appointment and, if qualified, a visa in time to start classes.
- Medical and humanitarian emergency traveler, we will expedite processing for those dealing with life threatening emergencies.
- Business traveler, we will establish appropriate mechanisms to facilitate business travel and expedite cases of particular concern to American business.
At the same time, we expect you, the visa applicant, to:
- Plan your travel and visa application as far in advance as possible.
- Complete your application fully and accurately.
- Be forthcoming about your purpose and plans.
- Prepare for your interview by being able to clearly and concisely describe your intentions.