An official website of the United States government

Visa Services

Traveling to the United States

Thank you for your interest in traveling to the United States.  The Visa Section of the U.S. Embassy in Paris is responsible for providing visa services to those seeking to enter the United States for a temporary period and for those wishing to take up indefinite or permanent residence in the United States.  Travelers born in the United States and those who hold dual citizenship with the United States must enter and depart the United States on their U.S. passports.

Nonimmigrant visas (also called visitor or tourist visas) are required for all citizens of countries not under the Visa Waiver Program who intend to enter the United States temporarily for business, tourism or study.  The type of nonimmigrant visa you will need and the requirements to apply for that visa depend largely on your purpose of travel to the United States.  A visa entitles the holder to travel to the United States and apply for admission; it does not guarantee entry.  An immigration inspector at the port of entry determines the visa holder’s eligibility for admission into the United States.

Anyone who wishes to enter the United States to reside there permanently must apply for an immigrant visa, whether or not that person plans to seek employment in the United States.


Apply Early

The Embassy strongly encourages intending travelers to apply for visas well in advance of their proposed journey.

IMPORTANT: Travelers are advised to refrain from making irrevocable travel plans until the visa has been issued and they are in receipt of their passport and visa.

It takes about one week after the interview for your visa to be processed and returned to you via La Poste.

Please note: there is no need to bring a Chronopost envelope to your interview.

Visa Wait times in Paris


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 nonimmigrant appointment waiting times at every Embassy and Consulate (http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/general/wait-times.html/ posted).
  • 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 describe your intentions clearly and concisely.


A message to B1/B2 applicants not resident in France or Monaco

To qualify for B1/B2 visas, you need to overcome the consular officer’s presumption that you are an intending immigrant as outlined in section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It can be difficult for a consular officer located in Paris to determine if you overcome this presumption if you are not habitually resident in France or Monaco.

Embassy Paris does not exclude applications from applicants, but please keep the above information in mind as you decide where to apply for your visa.