This series of Everyday Conversations is about a family traveling to each of the 50 states in the U.S. Join the family members as they learn about local pastimes and history. These conversations are for intermediate-level English-language learners or higher.

In this conversation, the family discusses the steps needed to apply for a U.S. tourist visa.


Sam: Did we book our flights yet for our trip to the U.S.?

Claudine: Sam, first we need to get our visas. When do we go to the U.S. Embassy for our tourist visa interviews?

Gina: We have a lot to do before going to the interviews. First, we need individual pictures of each of us. There are photo requirements, so we probably should go to a photography studio that takes passport photos.

Sam: What else do we need to do?

Paul: There’s a form to fill out. After we complete the form, we must print the confirmation page. We need to bring that page to our interviews.

Gina: And we have to schedule our interviews at the U.S. Embassy.

Paul: And I’ve checked our passports. All of our passports are valid for at least six months after our trip.

Now let’s review the vocabulary.

To book something means to make arrangements to have or use something at a date in the future. In the conversation, to book a flight means to buy airline tickets in advance.

A tourist visa is an official stamp or mark put in your passport by officials that gives you permission to enter a country as a tourist (someone traveling for pleasure).

An interview is a formal meeting at which a person is asked questions.

Photo requirements are the detailed rules about how the photo must be taken. These requirements often include the size of the photo, the position of the person’s face in the photo, the background in the photo, etc.

To fill something out means to complete something (such as a form) by providing information.

A confirmation page is a response that shows information was received. In the conversation, the confirmation page shows that the form was completed and received.

Valid means legally or officially acceptable.

The American English website offers a variety of free resources for learners and teachers of English. The American English Facebook page posts learning materials for English-language learners daily. The American English for Educators Facebook page posts teaching materials for English-language teachers daily.

Everyday Conversations are developed by the State Department’s Heidi Howland, a senior program officer in the Office of English Language Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Learn more about planning a trip to the U.S. and applying for a tourist visa.