Our visa process plays a critical role in advancing economic opportunity while ensuring our national security and protecting the traveling public. While much progress has been made in reducing wait times to obtain visas, we should always look for opportunities to continue to make the process more efficient and accessible.

Quick Facts

Nearly 36 million overseas travelers visited the U.S. in 2015, spending an average of $4,400 per trip. While many of these travelers arrive from countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program, millions of visitors come from expanding markets such as China, Brazil and India. In fact, between 2013 and 2019 the number of visitors from countries needing visas to come to the U.S. is expected to grow dramatically, including China (171%), Colombia (72%), India (47%) and Brazil (43%).

An important element in welcoming these valuable visitors is our visa process, which protects America and the traveling public. U.S. Travel is continually working with our federal partners to make our visa process more efficient and accessible so America can reap the benefit of these high value travelers who benefit our economy and local communities, and return home with a more favorable view of our country.

Recommendations

Set Goals for Visa Processing

With a statutory commitment to faster visa processing worldwide, a climate of certainty would be created for future personal and business travelers, thus ensuring increased and sustained demand for travel to the United States.

Use Secure Technology to Expedite Visa Interviews

Due to the lack of access to a U.S. consulate in geographically-larger countries, the in-person interview requirement remains a major hurdle for many potential visitors in high demand markets. In order to reduce deterrents for potential visitors, the U.S. should use technology to minimize the burden of traveling to obtain an in-person interview.

Quick Facts

  • 100M

    Projected int'l visitors to the U.S. by 2021.
    These travelers are projected to spend $250 billion annually, benefiting local communities and help support critical programs by generating increased tax revenues.
  • 1.2

    B

    Total number of international travelers in 2015
    The world travel market measured at more than one billion in 2015; the U.S. was the second-largest destination with 77.5 million international visitations.
  • 38.4

    M

    Number of overseas visitors to the U.S. in 2015
    At 38.4 million, half of total international visitations to the U.S. came from overseas in 2015; the U.K. and Japan were the top overseas inbound travel markets.

Research, News and Commentary on Visa Reform

The American flag, DHS flag, and Border Patrol flag flying high in McAllen, Texas.

U.S. Travel Salutes Departing DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

October 05, 2016

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on the Department of Homeland Security’s announcement that Alejandro Mayorkas will step down as deputy secretary.

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Visa Reform Issue

House Homeland Gets it Right with Visa Security Bill

June 08, 2016

The U.S. travel community supports H.R. 5253, which codifies efforts to properly vet international visitors.

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Policy: Image of the Capitol, Washington, DC

TSA Screening Lines, PreCheck Expansion and U.S. Visa Security: Legislation We’re Watching

May 26, 2016

With just a few days left before more than 38 million travelers embark on their Memorial Day Weekend trips, members of Congress have introduced multiple pieces of legislation aimed at both travel facilitation and security. Here are the bills we’re watching.

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U.S. Travel Reacts To Brussels Terror Attacks

March 22, 2016

America’s travel community is outraged and saddened by the despicable terror acts in Belgium.

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Changes to Visa Waiver Program Go Into Effect

January 29, 2016

The U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security jointly announced the implementation of measures that will require a relatively few number of individuals applying to visit the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program to meet new security requirements.

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The State of the Travel Industry

January 27, 2016

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow shares his outlook for the travel industry in the year ahead.

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