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  on  to determine which visa category might be appropriate for your purpose of travel to the United States.

If you have additional questions related to visa eligibility, please email

Nonimmigrant Visas

Travel to the United States on a temporary basis, including tourism, temporary employment, study and exchange.

Immigrant Visas

For foreign citizens who want to live permanently in the United States.

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
  • 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.
  1. Why do some countries only receive single entry visas?

A: Current visa validities are based on reciprocity for U.S. citizens traveling to an applicant’s home country (example: a Libyan’s visa validity to the United States is 3 months, just as a U.S. citizen traveling to Libya’s visa validity is 3 months).  To learn more see the Reciprocity Tables by country

  1. How long may I stay in the United States on my student visa?

A: When you enter the United States on a student visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status.  That means you may stay as long as you are a full-time student, even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in the United States.  For a student who has completed the course of studies shown on the I-20, and any authorized practical training, F-1 students are allowed an additional 60 days to prepare for departure from the United States or to transfer to another school.

  1. If I am a student with a single entry visa or my visa has expired, will I be able to renew my visa to continue my studies if I leave the United States for a trip?

A: If you depart the United States during the course of your studies, with a single entry visa or an expired visa, you will need to be interviewed again by a consular officer and qualify for a new student visa.  Generally, continuing students who can show that they are in good standing in their academic programs should be able to qualify for new student visas to return and resume their studies.  Continuing students should be prepared to provide evidence of progress in their program, along with evidence on continuing ability to cover tuition and living expenses.  You should make an appointment for your interview as early as possible, so any additional processing required can be completed before your next academic term begins.

  1. Can I pay for my visa appointment in Libya?

A: At this time, there is no process for Libyan applicants to pay for their visa appointments in Libya.  Please visit the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate where you wish to apply for additional details on making the payment.  If applying in Tunis, please visit this link to find more information about paying fees.

  1. How do I request an expedited appointment?

A: To request an expedited appointment, please visit the following link. Applicants should plan to apply well in advance of their scheduled travel.  We suggest several months in advance when possible.  We are able to expedite visa appointments only rarely in the following circumstances, such as in the case of a personal or family medical emergency requiring travel to the United States, the death of an immediate family member in the United States (spouse, child, parent, or sibling), urgent business travel for a specific meeting date in the United States, to begin study in the United States (interview appointment is past the start date for study on the Form I-20), or to return to the United States to study or work (re-issuance of F1, M1, J1, H1B, L1 or other work visas).

  1. How do I apply for a diplomatic or official visa?

A: You should submit the application at least two weeks in advance of expected departure date.  The Consular Section typically processes diplomatic and official visa applications within two business days, but certain cases may require special administrative processing.  If this occurs, the Consular Section cannot guarantee prompt issuance of the visa application.

There is no visa fee.

No personal appearance or interview is required.

Documents required, delivered via courier to the Consular Section:

Diplomatic Note or Official Note that must include principal applicant’s name, date of birth, position and title, place of assignment or visit, purpose of travel, brief description of duties, travel date, anticipated length of stay or tour of duty in the United States and the names, relationships, and dates of birth of any dependents and other members of household who will be accompanying or joining the principal.

DS-160 Form, for each applicant, filled out here: CEAC.  The DS-160 Form must include all the information required for the diplomatic note/official note.  After completion, please print the confirmation page, and submit with application package.  Please be advised that you will have to upload your photo in order to complete the DS-160.

Valid Passport

One 5×5 cm Photo

More Q&A can be found here: