Foreign nationals traveling to the United States must follow the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for providing 1) proof of COVD-19 vaccination status (or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days) and 2) a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than 1 day before travel. Air passengers will also be required to confirm in the form of an attestation that the information they present is true.
- Non-U.S. Citizen, Non-U.S. immigrants: Air Travel to the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Frequently Asked Questions / Overview (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Vaccinations and Testing for International Travel (Department of State)
Status of Non-Immigrant Visa Services
Embassy Helsinki continues to work through a significant backlog of nonimmigrant visa services and capacity for interviews remains extremely limited, including for applicants with pending emergency appointment requests. You may check the guidance below to see if you qualify for an interview waiver or mail-in renewal. Please check ustraveldocs.com for scheduling or rescheduling interview appointments.
Expanded Interview Waiver
The interview waiver for Students (F and M visas) and Exchange Visitors (Academic J visas) has been extended until December 31, 2022. Interview waiver may now also apply for first-time applicants for petition-based employment visas including H-1, H-3, H-4, L (individual petitions only, blanket L petitions do not qualify), O, P, and Q visas. Petition-based visa applicants must have been previously issued a visa in any class or they must have traveled to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. Please find more information on the expanded interview waiver guidelines here and visit ustraveldocs.com to see if you qualify for interview waiver.
Mail-in Renewals and Interview Waiver Processing Times
If you were issued a visa in the same class in which you are applying and your previous visa expired within 48 months, you may be eligible to renew your visa by mail. Our current estimated processing time for mail-in renewals and interview waiver applications is 3-4 weeks. Please do not contact us to check up on your case until after 3-4 weeks have passed or you may further delay processing time. Applicants are also responsible for the type of postage or tracking service they choose to use for their return envelopes, which may affect delivery time.
Visa Application Fee
We will extend the validity of your payment (known as the MRV fee) until September 30, 2023 to allow all applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment as a result of the suspension of routine consular operations an opportunity to schedule and/or attend a visa appointment with the already paid fee. Please continue to monitor this site for information about when we will resume routine visa operations.
If You Reside Outside of Finland
The U.S. Embassy in Helsinki is offering limited nonimmigrant visa appointments for those who are not Finnish residents but are currently in Finland. Please check ustraveldocs.com for scheduling or rescheduling interview appointments.
The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.
See our Directory of Visa Categories on usvisas.state.gov to determine which visa category might be appropriate for your purpose of travel to the United States.
Travel to the United States on a temporary basis, including tourism, temporary employment, study and exchange.
For foreign citizens who want to live permanently in the United States.
What is a Visa?
A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.
Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel. The Visa section of this website is all about U.S. visas for foreign citizens to travel to the United States.
(Note: U.S. citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit.).
To contact a customer service representative, please visit the GSS Contact Us page for full information or use contact information below:
- General visa inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Case-specific inquiries: HelsinkiNIV@state.gov
- In Finland: +358 942 451 555 (11am-3pm, Mon-Fri)
- In the U.S.: +1 703-520-2571
Customer Service Statement
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.
We promise to you, the visa applicant, that:
- We will treat you with dignity and respect, even if we are unable to grant you a visa.
- We will treat you as an individual and your case as unique.
- We will remember that, to you, a visa interview may be a new or intimidating experience and that you may be nervous.
- We will use the limited time available for the interview to get as full a picture as possible of your travel plans and intentions.
- We will use our available resources to fairly assist all applicants to get appointments to allow travel in time for business, study, and other important obligations.
- We will post detailed and accurate information on visa requirements and application procedures on every Embassy and Consulate website.
- We will provide information on non-immigrant appointment waiting times at every Embassy and Consulate posted on http://travel.state.gov.
- We will explain the reason for any visa denial to you.
Furthermore, if you are a:
- Student, we will make every effort to ensure that you get an appointment and, if qualified, a visa in time to start classes.
- Medical and humanitarian emergency traveler, we will expedite processing for those dealing with life threatening emergencies.
- Business traveler, we will establish appropriate mechanisms to facilitate business travel and expedite cases of particular concern to American business.
At the same time, we expect you, the visa applicant, to:
- Plan your travel and visa application as far in advance as possible.
- Complete your application fully and accurately.
- Be forthcoming about your purpose and plans.
- Prepare for your interview by being able to clearly and concisely describe your intentions.