What does it take to help your family member, loved one, or friend a U.S. tourist visa to come for a visit? How can you help smooth the process? Recently, AdviseHub, the leading provider of immigration solutions, CEO Sanjay Yadgirkar, was describing that parents and friends visiting the United States for the first time find the process overwhelming and asked me to simplify the Visitor visa process. So here are the tips which can help you determine the qualification process and how we can help you.
The B-2 Visa is available for individuals who want to come to the United States. Some countries have treaties with the U.S. that make tourist visas valid up to 10 years. When a tourist comes to the US, if granted admission, the tourist typically will be permitted to stay 6 months, with the option of applying for a 6 month renewal for a maximum validity of 1 year.
Some of the things it is OK for a B-2 tourist to do are visit friends and relatives; tourism; engage in recreational activities; rest and relax; seek medical treatment; participate in service and volunteer activities;, and, attend conventions. If the tourist wants to conduct business activities the proper status is B-1 Visa.
Tourists are not allowed to work or get paid in the U.S. Also, tourists must have “nonimmigrant” intent: they must not intend to remain in the U.S. through adjustment of status to become a permanent resident (having a “green card”) or to overstay the B status and become illegal. If the consular officer at the interview, or the CBP officer at the airport or other port of entry, suspects the applicant has immigrant intent, the visa or entry will be denied.
It is important for the tourist to show strong ties to his or her home country as evidence of nonimmigrant intent. Large amounts of savings, property ownership, employment, business ownership, or close dependent family members, could be evidence of nonimmigrant intent.
What happens if the tourist isn’t rich? One thing he or she could consider is having a person who has legal immigration status in the U.S. file an optional “Affidavit of Support” on the tourist’s behalf. This is a form that the visa applicant would bring to the consular interview for the tourist visa. It shows that a U.S. sponsor has promised to make certain commitments for your visit such as providing room, board, round-trip airplane tickets, and/or spending money. That person can also guarantee that they will ensure that the potential tourist returns home at the end of the visit.
An experienced immigration attorney can help you figure out the B-2 process: provide advice about which documents to gather; write a cover letter to notify the Department of State that the U.S. person is represented; prepare Form I-134; create a PDF package for the visa applicant that includes an attorney cover letter, Form G-28 Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney, Form I-134, a letter of support from the sponsor with supporting documents; and, advise you as needed.
If you are the visa applicant, an attorney could write a letter on your behalf and help you gather supporting documents to bring to your interview, even if a U.S. sponsor is not necessary for your situation.
Sophie Alcorn is a Silicon Valley immigration lawyer focused on founders, talent and investors. She is an active member of the AdviseHub Immigration Lawyer Network. Her firm handles H-1B visa for a startup or an E-2 investor visa. If you are thinking about founding a startup in Mountain View or getting a visa for an incubator program, her firm can assist you with obtaining a B-1 visitor for business visa. Also experienced in O-1s, J-1s and J-1 waivers, and L visas, they give you step-by-step guidance on this U.S. immigration law process-and helps you maximize your chance of receiving your desired immigration status.