As a USA visitor, you may need a visa in order to gain entry to the United States. Whether or not you’ll need a visa is determined by your country of citizenship. The type of visa you’ll need is dependent on the purpose of your travel.
In addition to a valid passport, application, and application fee, some visas require proof of visitor health insurance for approval (the J-1 visa is one such visa). However, even if your visa does not require proof of insurance, it’s important to consider health coverage for your travels to and within the USA.
Read on to learn more about visitor visas requirements and exceptions – and to discover your visitor visa health insurance options.
Types of USA Visitor Visas
- B-2 Visa for Tourists and Leisure Visitors: A tourism and visit visa, also known as a B-2 visa, is a visitor visa for nonimmigrants wishing to enter the U.S. for tourism or leisure purposes.
- F-1 Visa for Student Visitors: The F-1 visa is for international students attending a university, college, high school, private elementary school, seminary, conservatory, or a language-training program in the U.S.
- J-1 Visa for Work-and-Study-Based Exchange Program Visitors: A J-1 visa allows approved J-1 visa holders to enroll in a work-and-study-based exchange program in order to teach, study, conduct research, or receive on-site job training in the USA.
- B-1 Visa for Temporary Business Visitors: B-1 visa holders may consult with colleagues, negotiate a contact, attend a conference or educational seminar, or take part in a short-term training program in the United States.
- H-2A Visa for Temporary or Seasonal Agricultural Workers: H-2A visa workers may enter the U.S. for agricultural work, such as crop harvesting, on a seasonal or short-term basis.
- H-2B Visa for Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker: H-2B visa holders are permitted to work temporarily in the U.S. in fields such as hospitality, retail, service, construction, and maintenance.
- L-1 Visa for Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager: The L-1 visa allows executives or managers from foreign offices to transfer to an affiliated office in the United States.
Learn more about temporary work visas for U.S. visitors.
How to Get a Visitor Visa for the USA
Before you apply for your visa, it’s important to understand that the application steps may vary slightly by U.S. Embassy or Consulate. To see specific instructions for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest to you, visit USEmbassy.gov and find the country in which you will apply.
For a general overview of the tourist visa application process, note the following steps:
❑ Obtain a passport that is valid 6 months after your planned departure from the U.S.
❑ Take a color photo which meets the photograph requirements found here.
❑ Fill out and submit the online nonimmigrant visa application, Form DS-160 (the form will require you to upload your photo).
❑ Print the Form DS-160 confirmation page to bring with you to your visa interview.
❑ Schedule an appointment for your visa interview with a U.S. consular officer in the country in which you reside. To find the nearest embassy or consulate and its contact information, search for your country of residence at USEmbassy.gov.
❑ Check the typical wait time for your embassy or consulate at travel.state.gov.
❑ Pay the non-refundable visa application fee (if the fee is required before your interview).
❑ Gather the required documents.
❑ Practice for your visa interview. For visa interview tips and practice questions, see Visa Interview Tips.
❑ Attend your visa interview.
❑ Upon visa approval, pay your additional visa issuance fee (if applicable). To determine whether you’ll owe an issuance fee, select your nationality under “Prepare for Your Interview” at the travel.state.gov Visitor Visa page.
Required Documents for USA Visitor Visa
Prior to your visitor visa interview, ensure you have the following:
- Passport that is valid for 6 months after your planned departure from the United States
- Nonimmigrant visa application Form DS-160 confirmation page
- Application fee payment receipt (if payment is required prior to interview)
Supporting Documents for USA Visitor Visa
Note that the U.S. Embassy or Consulate may request additional documentation which serves as evidence of the following:
- The purpose of your trip – Evidence could include your itinerary, travel plans, or proof of family ties in the United States.
- Your intentions to leave the U.S. when your visa expires – You can show this incentive by providing evidence of real estate that you own back home, family members you’ll want to return to (birth certificates and marriage certificates may apply here), or proof that a job is waiting for you upon your return.
- Your financial means which allow you to travel to the U.S. – Evidence could include bank statements, credit cards, or pay slips. A visitor visa health insurance policy could help demonstrate your ability to pay for medical expenses by showing that you have coverage for unexpected injury or illness.
Are There Any Visitor Visa Exceptions?
Yes – the U.S. Department of State notes that citizens of Canada and Bermuda do not typically need a visa for tourism and visits.
You can also bypass the visa process if you qualify for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This program allows non-U.S. citizens who meet specific requirements to travel to the U.S. for approved business or tourism purposes – without first obtaining a visa.
The Visa Waiver program is only available to individuals of an approved VWP country who are traveling for 90 days or less and have authorization under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
To learn more about eligibility and enrollment, visit our “Visa Waiver” page.
Visitor Visa Health Insurance for USA Travel
Visitor visa health insurance is travel medical insurance for individuals and groups visiting the USA from abroad. Visitor health insurance is not a requirement of all United States visas, but it is recommended for travelers whose domestic health plans offer little or no international coverage. After all, you never know when you may encounter a travel mishap, injury, or illness that results in unexpected expenses.
Did You Know? According to healthcare.gov, the average cost of a 3-day hospital stay is around $30,000. In the face of a medical emergency, visitor visa health insurance can provide quality care and financial assistance for eligible illnesses and injuries.
What Does Visitor Visa Health Insurance Cover?
A visitor visa health plan like WorldTrips' Atlas America insurance can provide coverage for eligible illness and injury, emergency medical evacuation, trip interruption, accidental death, and more. Here are a few simple scenarios that illustrate how a visitor health plan can assist you in an emergency:
- You come down with an unexpected illness or incur an injury that requires admittance to a hospital. A visitor health plan like Atlas America can provide you with access to first-rate hospitals, quality doctors and specialists, and coverage for the necessary emergency transportation. You will be covered for the cost of a local ambulance, the intensive care unit, and hospital room and board for covered injuries or illnesses that result in hospitalization.
- After you’ve arrived in the U.S., you receive the devastating news that a member of your immediate family has passed away. Under Atlas America’s Trip Interruption benefit, you will be covered for the cost of one economy, one-way air or ground transportation ticket to the terminal serving the area where you live.
- You’re at the airport ready for you initial departure – and storms cause your afternoon flight to be delayed until the following morning. Under Atlas America’s Travel Delay benefit, you will be reimbursed up to $100 a day for reasonable accommodations and meals if your covered, 12-plus-hour delay requires an unplanned overnight stay.
- You discover that your U.S. rental has been broken into and your luggage has been stolen. You have no idea how to go about acquiring a new passport and the language barrier is making it difficult for you to file a police report. With Atlas America, you’ll have access to a full line of travel assistance services via On Call International. On Call’s dedicated team can provide you with translation services, legal assistance, and help replacing stolen travel documents. These services are available in multiple languages 365 days a year.
To learn more about these benefits and exclusions, see the Atlas Description of Coverage.
Who Might Benefit from Visitor Visa Health Insurance?
- USA tourists and leisure travelers
- Parents visiting their children in the U.S.
- Temporary workers and business visitors
- International students and exchange program participants
What Are My Visitor Visa Health Insurance Options?
Atlas America insurance from WorldTrips offers several policies to international visitors:
- Atlas Travel: Flexible and generally affordable, this balanced plan offers high coverage limits for single international trips.
Learn more about Atlas Travel or get a FREE Atlas Travel quote.
- Atlas Premium: This elite plan offers exceptional-quality coverage by providing even higher coverage limits for a number of important benefits.
Learn more about Atlas Premium or get a FREE Atlas Premium quote.
- Atlas Group: This plan provides the same great coverage as Atlas Travel – at a 10% discount for groups or families of 5 or more!
Learn more about Atlas Group or get a FREE Atlas Group quote.
Atlas America policies are available to individuals of most countries who are at least 14 days old and looking for coverage for up to one year. To be eligible for Atlas America insurance, part or all of your international travel plans must include the United States.
Atlas America Highlights:
- 100% coverage for eligible medical expenses inside the Preferred Provider Network (after the deductible and up to the overall maximum limit)
- Choice of deductible and overall maximum coverage limit
- No health screenings required for immediate online fulfillment
- Wide provider network that covers the majority of the United States
- Travel assistance services available in multiple languages 365 days a year
WorldTrips international travel medical insurance products are underwritten by Lloyd's. WorldTrips is a service company and a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies. WorldTrips has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by HCC Underwriting Agency, Ltd.