The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs processes visa applications through its embassies and consulates worldwide. Consular officers review applications, conduct interviews, and make determinations on visa approvals.

An approved visa gives a foreign citizen permission to apply to enter the United States. However, a visa by itself doesn’t authorize entry to the U.S. It means that the visa holder is eligible to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry for a specific purpose. The port-of-entry can be an airport, a seaport or a land border crossing.

Permit to enter the United States

Only a U.S. immigration officer has the authority to permit travelers entry into the United States. At the port-of-entry, a U.S. immigration officer of the Department of Homeland Security reviews the visa and request for entry, then decides whether to allow you to enter. The officer also determines how long you can stay for any particular visit, as part of the admission process.

It is important to note that the U.S. State Department only processes visas for citizens of foreign countries. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for travel within the country. However, when planning travel abroad, individuals must check with the embassy of the country they wish to visit to determine if a visa is needed. To prevent travel mishaps, check requirements several months before your planned travel dates.

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