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Tourist Visa Rules and Process

Tourist visas are short- term non work related visas issued for holiday or recreational visits. Many people opt for this type of visa due to the simplicity of it. Below are the more commonly asked questions regarding tourist visas and the rules that apply to them and have been answered by Experts.

Can a Tourist Visa to the U.S. be converted into a Student Visa?

There is a way for a person to change a B-2 visitor's visa to an F-1 student visa. To do this, you will need to complete an I-539 Application to change Non-immigrant Status. You can find this form on the USCIS (United States Citizen Immigration Services) website. You will also be required to have an I-20 Form which is issued by the university, proof of a SEVIS payment (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) and proof that you will have the financial funding to pay for your course studies. Another important piece of information required it proof that you intend to return to your homeland when your studies/schooling is complete. You should also attach a letter explaining your reasons for wanting the educational experience, a copy of your passport and I-94. There will be a filing fee of $300.

There are a couple of issues with this approach.

1. If you attempt to change the status of your visa as soon as you enter a country, you will draw attention and speculation as to what your intent is. The USCIS may think you have ulterior motives for the status change and have plans of staying longer than they had expected. It is normal for a person to change their status after being in the country for awhile (60-90 days) but changing your status before this time may draw undo attention from USCIS.

2. Your application for change of status must be with the USCIS before your I-94 expires. Furthermore, your I-20 should run concurrent with your I-94 with no gaps in between or before the expiration of the I-94. You will have to have your application approved before you can begin your studies.

If an individual is married and is on a tourist visa from the Philippines and must get a divorce then apply for an extension because the individual needs to have a 6 months residency before being able to marry an American citizen, is it possible for both individuals to get married in the U.S.?

If you and your fiancé attempt to marry under this type of action, your fiancé lose any chance of having a green card. You would be in violation of the immigration law by having your fiancé enter the states on a tourist visa with the intent to stay in the states for 6 moths then marry. While your fiancé is in the country for 6 months on their tourist visa, he/she is not considered as residing. If you wish to comply with immigration law, you must first get the divorce out of the way, have your fiancé return to their homeland, and you will then petition for a fiancé visa. This will allow your fiancé to enter the country legally without pretense and you will be able to marry them without delay.

This option may require more time for you and your fiancé to be apart, however, if you do this your way, your fiancé will more than likely lose any chance of re-entry to the states.

If an individual came from Australia to the U.S. on a tourist visa and I am a green card holder of the U.S., can the individual from Australia become a resident of the U.S. after getting married to an U.S. citizen?

If you were to get married and you have a green card, your spouse would have to apply to adjust their status. However, your spouse would have to remain outside of the United States while he/she waits for their visa. When marrying a U.S. permanent resident, there is a 5-6 year wait for a visa and your spouse would be "out of status” before the waiting period was finished.

You can try to obtain your citizenship first, and then marry your fiancé. By doing this, he/she could remain in the United States while he/she applies to adjust their status.

If you are on a tourist visa and you get arrested for petit larceny what happens legally?

The process is like any person in the U.S. who is arrested. You will pay your fines and then leave the country. Your charge is a misdemeanor charge which shouldn't affect any future attempts to get a tourist visa. You may want to speak with the prosecutor handling your case and see if he/she is willing to work with you. You may be able to have the charges expunged once you pay your fines and complete any community service/probation etc. In many cases, the prosecutor will dismiss a case involving a tourist as long as all obligations to the case are met.

Tourist visas are very popular with foreign visitors who enter the U.S. for leisure and fun. Many people use this type of visa without issue. However, there are times when a person may come up against issues regarding their tourist visa and need help. If you have questions or concerns about your tourist visa, you should ask an Expert for legal insight and assistance.
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Recent Tourist Visa Questions

  • My friends from Russia wanted to get EB5 visa in the United

    My friends from Russia wanted to get EB5 visa in the United States, but didn't know how to go about it. They did not seek an attorney, but rather met a woman in LA, California, who asked them for $120,000 to help them get EB5 visa. They signed the contract and wired the money to her so-called financial consulting services. They have a contract with her for one year which will expire in a month. She hasn't provided the services that were in the contract and my friends want to sue her. Meanwhile, they are on a tourist visa In Miami, Florida for three months and then they are going back to Russia. They can come back to the United States anytime without restriction. They want to sue this lady to get their $120,000 back but don't know how to go about it. What kind of attorney do they need ? Criminal attorney? Does that attorney have to be in LA California? How can they find the best attorney in LA? They don't know anyone there. Thank you very much!
  • My girlfriend cannot register a vehicle in her name because

    My girlfriend cannot register a vehicle in her name because she is on a tourist visa. what are the legal implications if I register the vehicle in my name but she gets her own insurance policy and is the primary driver of the vehicle?
  • Can I marry on a travel visa?

    I met my girlfriend through a matrimonial site. She is an Iranian who lives in the USA (She is not a citizen but just applied for her green card). I am an IndXXXXX XXXXXving in India. We have never met in person but I did meet her sister and nephew who are residing in India at the moment. After her elder sisters approval of me, we have come to the conclusion that we are ready to get married but before that we need to spend at least a couple of months together. She wants me to come to the USA and stay with her. I too want to go to the USA and be with her as she is more accustomed to the standard of living in the USA. Saying that I also want to get married to her in the USA and reside with her to make things easier for her at the moment. What visa would be appropriate for me to apply for at the moment? If I do go on a travel visa to be with her and decide on getting married on a travel visa, what are my chances of staying back? Because if we do get married on a travel visa then there is no point in me returning back as she is not comfortable on coming to India so soon because she does not want to quit her job in the USA or the lifestyle. Nor would I want to depart from her. Please help. Thanks.

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