Do you know a friend or a loved one living abroad who would like to come visit the United States? It may be possible for them to enter the United States for a short period of time for the purpose of visiting family, friends or other attractions. This can generally be accomplished in one of two ways: enter under the visa waiver program or obtain a visitor visa.
The Visa Waiver Program is a program of the United States Government which allows citizens of certain designated countries to travel to the United States for tourism, business, or while in transit for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa. Citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries still have to fill out an online application and provide biographic and national security information before being allowed entry into the United States. If there is derogatory information that comes up in the application process, the person can be denied entry. A person who enters the United State as a visitor under the Visa Waiver Program is usually allowed to remain in the United States up to 90 days. However, the immigration officer at the border may limit entry time in his discretion.
If someone would like to enter the United States to visit for longer than 90 days, they can apply for a visitor visa even if they are a citizen of a country that qualifies for the Visa Waiver Program. The visitor visa process is more complicated than the Visa Waiver Program. An applicant must complete an online application and pay a visa application fee. A visa attorney can assist you with this. Then, the applicant must appear for a visitor visa interview at the embassy or consulate in their home country. During this interview, the applicant will meet with a US immigration official and will have to be prepared to answer questions regarding the nature and purpose of their trip. If the immigration official believes that the applicant has sufficient ties to their home country and will leave the United States at the designated time, the officer may issue the visitor visa. It is wise to have a visa attorney assist the applicant with the preparation of the application and the interview.
Visitor visas are usually valid for a period of 10 years. A person may use the visitor visa to enter the United States for periods of time up to 6 months. The immigration officer at the border may limit the duration of visitation in his discretion. The visitor visa may be used for subsequent visits of up to 6 months until the expiration of the visa.
When coming to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program or with a visitor visa it is imperative that the visitor follow the timeframe granted them and leave as instructed. A visitor is also not allowed to work while visiting the United States. It is also important that a visitor maintain their permanent residence in their home country. The US government could terminate the person’s ability to visit the United States, if it appears the person is actually living in the United States.
The visa attorneys at Vanderwall Immigration can help your loved one obtain a visitor visa to come and visit you. Contact us today at 503-206-8414 to set up a consultation to discuss your case.