Customs Regulations and Visa Requirements of United States

Visa application

There are several types of visas for entering the United States. For tourists, the most relevant tourist and guest visa – “B2”.┬áCheck a2zdirectory for history of United States.

When planning a trip, it is advisable to contact the Consular Section of the US Embassy no later than 30 days before the planned date of departure. To obtain a US visa, you must provide the following documents:

  • Statement “DS-160”. Must be completed electronically in English. You will need to upload a photo with your application. It should be done in color on a white background. The size of the photo should be 5×5 cm. The head is placed in the center of the picture. The size of the head in the frame (from the chin to the top of the head) is within 2.5-3.5 cm. For the eyes, a level of 2.8-3.5 cm from the lower border of the photograph is determined. All applicants must have such a photo, including children included in the parents’ passport. You should pay attention to the fact that the photograph must be taken no earlier than six months before the intended trip. After filling out the DS-160 form, you must receive a confirmation page.
  • Passport with an expiration date not earlier than 6 months after the submission of the visa application. The passport must have the signature of the true owner, at least one blank page for affixing a visa, explanatory documents about questionable marks, if any.
  • Consular fee. For a nonimmigrant visa from June 2010, the fee is $140. Paid at the same time as the visa application is submitted.
  • Documents to be submitted in support of the visa application. Certain documents may have a positive impact on the consular officer’s decision to issue a visa. These are, first of all, old passports, which can be attached to other documents.

It is desirable if the applicant has information about work: a certificate from the place of work, filled out on a letterhead and certified by a seal, which indicates the name of the organization, address, telephone number. The certificate informs about the position occupied by the applicant, the date of entry to work, annual income, the date of vacation, which coincides with the date of the trip, that the applicant retains a job during the vacation. You can also attach a business card to the employer’s organization. Information about close relatives – spouses, children is also provided.

Information about the financial well-being of the applicant has a direct impact on the decision to obtain a visa:

  • certificate (extract) from the bank on the state of the bank account of the applicant;
  • a letter certified by the seal describing the successful activities of the organization where the applicant works;
  • if the applicant is the founder or co-founder of the company – official documents about the company (certificate of registration, licenses, etc.);
  • documents certifying the existence of ownership (contracts of sale, certificate of privatization, documents for a car).
  • Sometimes it is necessary to provide information about the salary of a spouse.

Tourists who are schoolchildren, students, pensioners and the unemployed present a copy of the relevant document (a certificate from an educational institution, a copy of a pension certificate) and a special sponsorship letter with a certificate from the place of work of the sponsoring relative who pays for the trip.

To obtain a visa to the United States, persons under the age of majority must have the consent of the parents to leave the child with an accompanying person, certified by a notary. The period for creating a power of attorney should not exceed three months from the date of filing an application for a visa. A copy of the parents’ internal passport is attached to this document.

After submitting a set of documents for a visa, the applicant is informed about the date of visiting the embassy for fingerprinting and interview. Approximate visa processing time is 2-3 weeks.

Customs regulations

Allowed for duty-free import/export to the USA:

  • Items for personal use, such as clothes and shoes, toiletries, jewelry, cameras, devices for hunting and fishing, radios, if at the end of the trip the tourist takes them back.
  • Persons over 21 are allowed to import and export up to 1 liter of alcoholic beverages – beer, wine and others for individual consumption. Drinks over the limit are subject to duty. When importing alcoholic beverages, you should take into account the laws of the state where you plan to travel. In some states, the limit on the importation of alcohol is less. Absinthe is banned from entering the country.
  • Tourists are allowed to import duty-free no more than one pack of cigarettes (200 pieces) or 50 pieces of cigars, or 2 kg (4.4 pounds) of smoking tobacco. In addition, 100 cigars can be imported duty-free as a gift. Cuban cigars are not allowed to be imported.
  • Gifts up to $100.
  • Cash amounts up to 10 thousand dollars (including banknotes, traveler’s checks, bank documents and others). If the amount to be transported is more than the specified norm, you need to fill out the relevant documents at customs.

As luggage, 2 bags each weighing up to 22.6 kg (50 lbs) and one bag as hand luggage weighing 5.9 kg (13 lbs) can be used, which is placed under the seat. When making a flight to and from the country, tourists do not have the right to seal luggage and lock it. It is forbidden to take piercing and cutting objects, including knives, scissors, blades, nail files, tweezers, clippers, as well as aerosols and shaving creams, lighters, matches, into hand luggage. See United States import restrictions.

It is forbidden to import and export from the USA:

  • narcotic substances and potent drugs. If you need to transport medicines for personal use, you must have a prescription or doctor’s prescription;
  • explosive and flammable materials;
  • pornographic materials (articles, publications);
  • materials related to rebellion for political purposes;
  • dangerous objects (poisonous, toxic substances, fireworks);
  • items made by persons in prison or sentenced to community service;
  • lottery tickets;
  • spring knives;
  • animal and human tissue samples that are not sterile;
  • live cultures of viruses, bacteria and similar organisms;
  • animals, if they are suspected of being infected with diseases dangerous to humans. For the transportation of animals, it is necessary to have an international veterinary certificate with a vaccination certificate and a seal of control of the veterinary service affixed at the exit from the country of origin;
  • biological materials produced from animals or their metabolic products. Importation may require permission from the Animal and Plant Health Inspectorate (APHIS).
  • soil samples;
  • illegal copies of licensed products;
  • firearms and ammunition, if they are not intended for hunting and sports activities (special permission is required);
  • many vegetables, fruits, plants, seeds, cuttings, raw plant products, and endangered plant species require a permit or are prohibited from importing. Each individual plant must be declared to the customs inspector and presented for inspection;
  • the import of animal products, including meat and poultry, is prohibited or restricted for import into the United States;
  • trademarked products. No more than one product of a separate registered brand is allowed for import (for example, one bottle of perfume, one watch, one coat and others);
  • products made of tortoise shell, ivory, crocodile skin and others;
  • animal skin items made in Haiti;
  • any items made in Iran.

United States country