Visa for New York

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    One of the most iconic cities in the world, New York City beckons travelers with its skyline, culture, and endless possibilities. But before you can bite into the Big Apple, there’s the matter of securing the appropriate travel documentation. For most international travelers, this means either applying for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) or a visa.

    If you’re interested in a visa for New York, or an ESTA visa waiver, this guide will provide you with the information needed for your relevant application.

    ESTA or Visa: What Do You Need?

    ESTA (Visa Waiver Program)

    The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) was designed to make it easier for passport holders of certain countries to enter New York without applying for a visa. Currently, there are 41 countries that are members of the Visa Waiver Program. Individuals wishing to visit New York for under 90 days for tourism, business, transit, or medical treatment purposes may be eligible. The ESTA visa waiver is valid for up to two years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.

    Approved Business Purposes with ESTA

    • Consulting with business associates
    • Attending scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions or conferences
    • Attending short-term training (you may not be paid from any source in New York except for expenses incidental to your stay)
    • Negotiating a contract

    Approved Tourism Purposes with ESTA

    • Tourism
    • Vacation (holiday)
    • Visiting friends or relatives
    • Medical treatment
    • Participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
    • Participation by amateurs in music, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating
    • Enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation)

    Travel Purposes Not Permitted Under the Visa Waiver Program

    • Study for credit
    • Employment
    • Work as foreign press, radio, film, journalists, or other information media
    • Permanent residence in the United States

    How to Apply for ESTA

    1. Submit your ESTA application online: This usually takes 20-30 minutes per applicant.
    2. Fill in the required details: Including biographical information and passport data.
    3. Pay the ESTA government fee.
    4. Wait for approval: This can sometimes be instantaneous but can also take up to 72 hours.

    U.S. Visa

    If you are not eligible for an ESTA Visa Waiver, or wish to stay in New York for more than 90 days, you will need a B1 Business Visa, B2 Tourist Visa, or B1-B2 Visitor Visa. These visas are classified according to the purpose of the visit.

    Visa Categories

    • Category B1: For business purposes, conducting meetings, settling an estate.
    • Category B2: For tourism, holiday, leisure, and other visiting purposes.

    How to Apply for a U.S. Visa

    1. Fill up the online visa application: Complete the DS-160 form. After filling it out, print the confirmation page, which is mandatory for your interview.
    2. Schedule an interview: Book an appointment for your U.S. Visa interview at the US embassy or consulate in your country. Call times for interviews can vary, so apply well in advance.
    3. Maintain the mandatory documents:
      • Valid Passport
      • Form DS-160 confirmation page
      • Application fee payment receipt
      • Photo
    4. Embassy Interview/Appointment: After examining you during the interview, the consulate or embassy representative will decide whether you are qualified. Be prepared to provide additional documents if asked.
    5. Obtain approved U.S. Visa: Once approved, you will receive your passport and visa via courier or can pick up your documents at a nearby U.S. embassy.

    Must-See New York Attractions

    Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

    No visit to New York would be complete without seeing these symbols of American freedom and immigration. You can take a ferry from Battery Park to both islands. Tickets can be bought in advance online.

    Times Square

    This bustling commercial and entertainment hub is famous for its theaters, shopping, and the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop. It’s a must-visit, at least once.

    Central Park

    An oasis in the midst of Manhattan‘s concrete jungle, Central Park offers a multitude of recreational opportunities, from boating to attending live performances.


    For theater lovers, catching a Broadway show is practically a requirement. From classics like “Phantom of the Opera” to modern hits like “Hamilton,” there’s something for everyone.

    The Museums

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) are just two of the city’s outstanding cultural institutions. Both offer comprehensive collections of art and artifacts from around the world.

    Empire State Building

    For panoramic views of the city, head to the top of this iconic skyscraper. The observatory on the 86th floor offers unparalleled vistas, especially at sunset.


    Whether it’s your first time visiting or you’re a seasoned traveler, New York City has something to offer everyone. However, before embarking on your journey, it’s crucial to secure the appropriate travel documentation through either an ESTA or a visa. Once that’s in place, the city’s array of iconic landmarks, cultural institutions, and unique neighborhoods await your discovery. With proper planning, your trip to New York can be an unforgettable experience.

    Visa for New York