Step 1 — Learn more about the non-immigrant visa process
What is a visa?
A visa is issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. A visa is a sticker in your passport that entitles you to travel to the United States and 'apply for admission', i.e. present your passport to a U.S. immigration inspector at a port of entry. Citizens of the Netherlands and of other visa waiver program countries do not require a visa for most tourist and business visits shorter than 90 days. The immigration inspector, however, is by law still required to determine a visa holder's eligibility for admission to the United States. Although the vast majority of visa holders are admitted, it is possible to be refused admission even with a visa. This could happen if the type of visa you carry does not match the purpose of your trip. You cannot study or work with a tourist visa, for instance. It is therefore very important to check all visa information and apply for the correct category of visa.
Who requires a visa?
All visitors who are unable to use the visa waiver program require a visa to travel to the United States. Furthermore, certain Dutch citizens and other visa waiver program nationals also require a visa. This includes: any business traveler or tourist who wishes to stay in the U.S. more than 90 days, airline crew members, crew members of commercial, private or maritime vessels, students, interns, exchange visitors, temporary workers and intra-company transferees, treaty traders, religious workers, performers and artists, representatives of foreign countries on official business, and journalists/media representatives.Click here for information on the different types of visas.
If you require a visa you do NOT need to apply for an electronic travel authorization through ESTA. This Electronic System for Travel Authorization is only for travelers who can visit the U.S. without a visa.
Who must apply in person?
All non-immigrant visa applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 must appear in person at the Consulate General in Amsterdam for an interview and finger scanning as part of the application process. All applicants, including those who wish to request an emergency appointment, must schedule an appointment. A, G and NATO visa applicants (official and diplomatic visa applicants) are exempt from both of these requirements. We do not accept walk-in applicants nor is it possible to make an appointment by contacting the Consulate or the Embassy directly.
How long does it take to get a visa?
Due to the requirements of biometric processing, we cannot provide same-day issuance. Please plan to be without your passport for at least three working days after your interview to allow for visa issuance and return. Some applicants may be subject to additional clearances or administrative procedures that may add additional processing time. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview. When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case. In these cases passports will be returned at the time of the interview and the applicant will be contacted when their case has reached conclusion. A more detailed explanation of additional administrative processing requirements can be found on the State Department website.
Prospective travelers should apply early for their visa, well in advance of the anticipated travel date.
The Consulate General advises applicants not to make travel commitments or purchase tickets until the visa has been received.
Frequently asked questions
Please take some time to read our frequently asked questions page.
The I-94 Form
Until this process is completed the following still applies:
All travelers, with or without visa, will be a sked to complete an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record form before landing in the U.S. Note that visa-free travelers must obtain an Electronic System Travel Authorization prior to their departure for the U.S. Click here for more information. Note that even when you have received your ESTA you are still required to complete an I-94W green arrival/departure record. It is important you return the departure part to a U.S. immigration officer when leaving the U.S.
ATTENTION! Even when you have received your ESTA for visa-free travel, you are still required to fill out a green I-94W and must return the departure record part upon leaving the U.S.
The departure record part you must hand back to the immigration authorities when leaving the U.S. If, upon your return from the U.S., this departure part is still in your passport you must fix this as follows: click here for instructions.