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Questions on Visitor’s Visa Laws

Foreign nationals who want to enter the United States for a short period of time as tourists, to meet friends/relatives, get medical treatment, or to do business must get a visitor’s visa. B-1 visas are for business and B-2 visas are for medical treatment or pleasure. These are non-immigrant visas and are usually issued for a validity period that extends from three months to ten years. An additional approval from the USCIS can help a visitor extend their visa by six months after reaching the U.S.

Listed below are a few questions answered by immigration lawyers on visitor visa related issues.

I overstayed my visitor’s visa and have now started my own business in the U.S. Can I get a Green Card without leaving the country?

Unfortunately, the only option a person in your position has to stay in the U.S. legally is to get married to a U.S. citizen. Also, your marriage has to be legitimate, meaning it must be for love and not just a desire to immigrate. In your present state, you can’t change your status, get employment status, or even get a new status. Also, if you have overstayed for over 180 days and you exit the country, you will face a ten year ban on re-entering.

I have a friend in Romania who is applying for a visitor’s visa to the U.S. The consul needs her to prove that she will not immigrate. She owns an apartment but it’s listed under her father’s name. Can she buy a round trip ticket and put the apartment in her name as proof that she will return?

The consular agent will insist on plenty of proof that your friend will return to her country so that he/she is convinced that your friend won’t stay on in the U.S. past her visa expiration date. This proof could consist of:
  • Employment in an organization
  • Bank account details
  • Affidavits give by family/friends that say she is an honest person and won’t overstay
  • Responsibilities of a familial/civic nature
  • Attachment of a romantic nature to someone in Romania
  • Any other proof that she intends to return
Therefore, simply transferring the apartment into her name may not be enough proof.

My nephew from Jamaica came to the U.S. on a visitor’s visa at the age of eight. Now that he is thirteen, his parents want to take him back to Jamaica. Will this hurt his chances of getting another visa to re-enter the country when or before he turns 18?

If your nephew is under 18 years of age, all the time he has spent in the U.S. illegally won’t stand against him. If he goes back to Jamaica, it shouldn’t affect his chances of getting a U.S. visa in the future.

Can a person who has a criminal record get a visitor’s visa to the U.S.?

This may be possible. But it depends on what the person has been convicted of and how old they are now. They would most definitely need a visa because they would be excluded from the Waiver Program.

Visitor visa applicants need to qualify under the provisions laid down under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The law works under the assumption that every visitor to the U.S. could be someone who wishes to immigrate there eventually. Therefore, applicants need to prove that they have a residence in their home country that they will not abandon, that they desire to come to the U.S. for a limited time only, and that the purpose of their trip involves travel for business, tourism, or medical treatment.
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