What is a Visitor Visa?
As defined by the United States Department of State, a visitor visa is a nonimmigrant visa for individuals who want to enter the United States temporarily. The type of visitor visa which can be issued by the Department of State varies, depending on the purpose of the visit. B-1 visas are issued for business, B-2 visas are issued for tourism.
Purposes Which are Not Permitted for a Visitor Visa
If an individual is interested in travelling to the United States for a purpose other than business or tourism, then a B1 or B2 visa is probably not suited for their needs. For example, if an individual seeks to enter the United States to attend school, a student visa would be required. Or individuals who considered to be extraordinarily talented in the fields of science, education, business or athletics may be interested in an O-visa. It is important to consult with an immigration lawyer if you want to enter the United States for a purpose other than business or tourism.
Who Qualifies for a Visitor Visa?
Almost anyone can qualify for a visitor visa. The individual will need to prove to U.S. immigration officials that they meet the criterion set out in the Immigration and Nationality Act 22 C.F.R. § 41.31. Every applicant will have to demonstrate that the purpose of their trip is for business, pleasure, or to seek medical treatment. They will have to show that they have strong ties to their country of origin, thereby demonstrating that they plan to remain within the U.S. for a limited period of time. Additionally, the applicant will have to demonstrate that they have the ability to cover their expenses while they are in the United States.
How Long Can Someone Stay in the U.S. on a Visitor Visa?
On a B-1/B-2 visa, an individual will normally be allowed to stay in the U.S. for a period of up to six months. Sometimes, an individual may be eligible to extend this time period if they are granted the proper authorization by immigration officials.
How Do I Apply for a Visitor Visa?
The application process for a B-1 or B-2 visa is very straightforward. The process is initiated by submitting paperwork to the U.S. Department of State and providing any applicable fee for the application. Next, the applicant will need to schedule an appointment for their consular interview with their country’s closest consulate. Every country has different wait times for a consular interview, so it is best to begin the process early.
Digital fingerprints are usually taken prior to the consular interview. On the day of the interview, it is important to bring all mandatory and supporting documents. This normally involves the individual bringing their passport, a photograph, the confirmation page of their visa application payment and their interview appointment letter, along with other supporting documentation.
Is a Consular Interview Required of Me?
Consular interviews are a requirement for any applicant who is between the ages 14-79. Outside of this range, interviews are not generally required. The purpose of the interview is to determine whether an individual qualifies for a visitor or tourist visa.
Depending on the nature of your intended visit to the United States, it would be wise to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer to determine what type of documentation will need to be provided to your local consulate at the time of your visa interview. An immigration attorney would be able to complete your visa packet and provide you with detailed instruction on how to attend your visa interview.
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