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Visa for New Orleans, Louisiana USA

Updated: Aug 24, 2023  | Tags: ESTA, USA Visa

Information on visiting New Orleans and needing a visa for New Orleans.


One of the United States' most vibrant and culturally rich cities, New Orleans offers a unique blend of historical heritage, mouth-watering cuisine, and diverse musical traditions. Whether you're interested in touring the French Quarter, partaking in the annual Mardi Gras celebrations, or exploring the various jazz clubs, there's something for everyone. But before you can soak in the charm of New Orleans, you'll need to navigate the entry requirements, either by applying for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) or a visa.

ESTA vs. Visa: What's the Difference?


If you're a citizen of one of the 41 Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries, such as the United Kingdom, Japan, or Australia, you can apply for an ESTA for short visits (up to 90 days) for tourism, business, transit, or medical purposes. The application process is online and typically quick, often with approvals within minutes. However, it's recommended to apply at least 72 hours in advance to account for any delays.

To apply for an ESTA, you'll need:

U.S. Visas

If you're not from a VWP country, or you plan to stay for more than 90 days, or you intend to work or study in the U.S., you'll need to apply for a visa. The visa application process is more detailed, involving an in-person interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and can take several weeks or even months to complete.

To apply for a tourist visa, you'll need:

  • A valid passport
  • One passport-sized photo
  • Payment of the U.S. visa application fee
  • Completed DS-160 Form
  • Supporting documentation, including details of your travel plans

Which should you choose for New Orleans?

Essentially, the choice between an ESTA and a visa primarily depends on your citizenship, the purpose of your visit, and the length of your stay. ESTA is simpler, quicker, and cheaper, but it's only available to citizens of VWP countries for short-term visits. A visa is necessary for longer stays and for citizens of non-VWP countries.

Don’t know if you need an ESTA or a visa for New Orleans? If you intend on visiting New Orleans for business, pleasure, a family visit or to work, you must obtain a valid travel authorization which will grant you entry to the U.S. for the purpose set out in the visa classification for which you have applied. The only exception to the visa rule is extended to citizen or nationals of a select number of countries by way of the Visa Waiver Program or VWP. The Visa Waiver Program used to be administered manually upon entry to the US but this process has now been automated via registration of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA, to properly security clear travellers prior to leaving their port of origin. The Visa Waiver Program is only available for visitors intending to visit the US for tourism, business, transit or medical purposes.

Main Tourist Attractions in New Orleans

Once you've sorted out your entry requirements, you can start exploring the captivating city of New Orleans. Here are some of the main tourist attractions you won't want to miss.

French Quarter

The historic heart of the city, the French Quarter is famous for its vibrant nightlife, colorful buildings, and ironwork balconies. Bourbon Street is the hub of the district, buzzing with live music, bars, and clubs.

Mardi Gras

This iconic annual festival is a spectacle of parades, costumes, and celebrations. Though the event typically occurs in February or March, you can visit Mardi Gras World any time of the year to get a behind-the-scenes look at the floats and costumes.

Jazz Clubs

New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, and you'll find plenty of live performances across the city. Frenchmen Street is a popular choice for jazz aficionados, featuring several renowned clubs like The Spotted Cat and Blue Nile.

Garden District

A picturesque neighborhood renowned for its well-preserved antebellum mansions and beautiful gardens, the Garden District is perfect for a leisurely walk or a historic home tour.

Swamp Tours

For an adventurous outing, consider a swamp tour to explore the surrounding bayous. These tours offer an opportunity to see the local wildlife, including alligators, up close.

Museums and Art Galleries

The city is home to several notable museums like the National WWII Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Art. For those interested in the local culture, a visit to the New Orleans Jazz Museum or the Voodoo Museum can be intriguing.

Culinary Delights

Your trip wouldn't be complete without tasting the local cuisine. From beignets at Café du Monde to Creole and Cajun dishes like gumbo and jambalaya, New Orleans offers an array of delectable treats.


Visiting New Orleans is a memorable experience, filled with music, culture, and delectable food. Before you go, however, make sure to sort out your entry requirements by either applying for an ESTA or a visa, depending on your individual circumstances. Once that's taken care of, all that's left is to soak up the unique atmosphere of this captivating American city.