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Critical Information for All Visa Applicants

Due to a variety of procedural factors, U.S. Consulates are unable to guarantee the issuance of a U.S. visa before a fixed travel date. You should never pay for travel arrangements before you have a visa in your possession. The U.S. Consulate General accepts no responsibility if you do so.

  • Immigrant Visas - For those intending to become permanent residents in the United States.
  • Non-Immigrant Visas - For those intending a temporary stay.
  • Visa Waiver Program - For information about travel to the United States without a visa and the 'ESTA' program.

Important Reminder on the Visa Waiver Program/ESTA and Travel to the United States:

The U.S. Consulates General in Australia wishes to remind all applicants who are able to travel to the United States via the Visa Waiver Program that as of 01 April 2016, they must have a valid electronic passport.  This rule applies even to those who possess a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).  The U.S. Consulate strongly recommends that all travelers check to ensure their passports are valid electronic passports before they make arrangements to travel to the United States on the Visa Waiver Program.

Electronic passports have this symbol on their cover:

You can check if your passport is valid for travel under the VWP by carefully reading the following page:

Any traveler who does not have a valid electronic passport is still eligible to travel to the United States with a valid nonimmigrant visa issued by a U.S. embassy or consulate. Such travelers will be required to appear for an interview and obtain a visa in their passports at a U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling to the United States.  Information on visa applications can be found at:

For information about U.S. visas for same-sex spouses, please see:

Customer Service Statement to Visa Applicants

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. Read more.

Safety & Security of U.S. Borders:  Biometrics  

The United States is committed to “secure borders, open doors,” by welcoming and facilitating legitimate travel to the United States by international visitors while maintaining the integrity and security of our borders and our nation. The U.S. continues to work to ensure that access to our country is not impeded for legitimate international travelers. Read more

Further Information:

Department of State homepage

United States Government

Department of Homeland Security (DHS):

DHS has various agencies. Please refer to these websites for assistance with a DHS-administered program.

  • US-VISIT - Supports the Department of Homeland Security's responsibility to protect the nation by providing biometric identification services that help federal, state, and local government decision makers accurately identify the people they encounter and determine whether those people pose a risk to the United States. US-VISIT supplies the technology for collecting and storing biometric data, provides analysis, updates its watchlist, and ensures the integrity of the data.
  • USCIS - Provides information on immigration to the United States:
  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has a responsibility for securing the border and facilitating lawful international trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws and regulations, including immigration and drug laws.
  • The Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) is a single point of contact for individuals who have inquiries or seek resolution regarding difficulties they experienced during their travel screening at transportation hubs—like airports and train stations—or crossing U.S. borders. DHS TRIP is part of an effort by the departments of State and Homeland Security to welcome legitimate travelers while still securing our country from those who want to do us harm.

Travel & Tourism in the U.S.

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