The U.S. must find ways to ensure a safe, efficient visa experience for international visitors while maintaining the highest national security standards.

Quick Facts

Our visa process is an important element in welcoming international visitors.

THE VISA WAIVER PROGRAM

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) combines a strong security process with our nation’s long-standing desire to attract both business and leisure travelers to our shores. Eligible applicants who are residents of 38 allied countries are vigorously pre-screened and vetted against multiple law enforcement and security databases before they are approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for visa-free travel to the United States for up to 90 days.

VISA REFORM

While many international travelers to the U.S. arrive from countries participating in the VWP, millions of visitors come from expanding markets such as China, Brazil and India, which are not VWP members—and therefore must obtain a U.S. visa before their trip. While progress has been made to reduce the average wait time of visas, if the process remains cumbersome the U.S. risks losing qualified international travelers.

U.S. Travel is continually working with our federal partners to make obtaining a visa to the U.S. more efficient and accessible.  

Recommendations

Expand the Visa Waiver Program

Establishing a process for more qualified countries to join the VWP will help the U.S. welcome more international visitors whose spending grows the economy and creates U.S. jobs while also improving national security and diplomacy

Set Goals for Visa Processing

Expanding opportunities for legitimate international travelers to obtain U.S. visas, and ensuring that consulates are appropriately staffed so that visa applications can be processed expediently, will greatly benefit both the U.S. economy and national security effort

Protect J-1 cultural and work exchange visa programs

These programs give U.S. attractions, parks and hotels in remote areas a valuable source of seasonal staffing, enabling them to serve more visitors.

Research, News and Commentary on Visa Reform / Visa Waiver

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Travel Community Reacts to U.S. Government’s Open Skies Decision

May 14, 2018

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on the Department of State’s announcement that the U.S. has reached a deal with the United Arab Emirates regarding the two countries’ Open Skies aviation agreement.

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Passport

U.S. Travel Applauds Senate Confirmation of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State

April 26, 2018

"The U.S. Travel Association commends the U.S. Senate on its confirmation today of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. We congratulate the new secretary and look forward to working with him on policies and programs that help grow our economy, advance our diplomacy and protect our security."

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U.S. Travel Association Reacts to Supreme Court Hearing on Trump Travel Ban

April 26, 2018

“The Supreme Court’s eventual decision will provide clarity for federal agencies and travelers alike, no longer leaving doubt as to the effect of the travel ban on select countries."

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Key Issues Stand to Impact Travel

April 13, 2018

The National Travel and Tourism Office announced last week that it will suspend the release of overseas arrival data to the U.S. pending the resolution of a data collection issue. 

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Passport

Travel Community Concerned by Proposed Social Media Requirements for U.S. Visa Applicants

April 03, 2018

Strong national security is vital to travel. But the effectiveness of this proposed measure is questionable—and it could harm efforts to regrow America’s share of inbound international travel.

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Bringing International Travelers Back to America

March 09, 2018

America’s share of the international travel market has been declining since 2015. The Visit U.S. Coalition, formed by leaders from multiple industries, aims to reverse that trend.

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