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Most temporary visitors to the United States have to apply for non-immigrant visas such as tourist visa (B-2) or business visa (B-1) in order to be able to come to the United States. The B visa is the most common type of non-immigrant visas. B1/B2 visa is often referred to as visitor visa, either for business (B-1) or for pleasure (B-2). Other types of non-immigrant visas include F-1 student visa, H-1B work visa, and J-1 exchange visitor visa. The application for visitor visa is usually made at a United States embassy or consulate in the applicant’s native country. The applicant has to appear for a visa interview before a tourist visa can be issued.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) under 214(b) considers all visa applicants, including those applying for visitor visas, to be immigrants until they prove to the consular officer that they qualify for non-immigrant status (with the exception of H-1B, L, and V visas, which allow for dual intent). In order to be classified as a non-immigrant, you must prove to the satisfaction of the consular officer that you are entitled to a non-immigrant status under section 101(A)(15). Thus, you must provide the consular officer a credible showing that you are entitled to non-immigrant status and that your intended activities are consistent with the status for which you are applying. The consular officer assesses your credibility and the evidence submitted to determine qualifications. The consular officer must be satisfied that you will credibly engage in the activities authorized under the particular non-immigrant visa classification, that you will abide by the conditions of that non-immigrant category, and that you will thereby maintain lawful status.
Generally, to be granted a non-immigrant visa, including a visitor or tourist visa (B1/B2), you have to show to the consular officer that:
- You are coming to the United States for a legitimate purpose;
- You have a permanent residence in your home country;
- You have no intention to immigrate to the United States; and
- You have sufficient funds for the duration of your trip to the United States.
During your visa interview, the officer will address all of these issues in one way or another, by asking you questions or looking through your documents. If it appears to the officer that you have not satisfied the requirements, you will be denied visa.
It is crucial to carefully prepare for your non-immigrant visa interview, including preparing a document package to present to the consular officer. Your visa interview is likely to be very short, and it is essential that the officer can quickly find all necessary information. It is also very important that you answer all questions on the application and at the interview truthfully. If you are found to have misrepresented any fact on your visa application or at your visa interview, you may be found permanently inadmissible to the United States.
If you have a relative in the United States, you should prepare even more thoroughly and provide even more documents to show that you do not intend to remain in the United States permanently. If you are denied visitor visa, it will be very difficult to obtain a visa in the same classification unless there is a material change in your circumstances. For that reason, it is especially important to carefully prepare for your initial tourist visa interview. At all subsequent interviews, you are likely to be denied as soon as the officer sees in the system that you have been recently refused a visa.
Attorneys at I.S. Law Firm have helped many international visitors to successfully obtain non-immigrant visas such as B-1 business visa, B-2 tourist visa, and F-1 student visa. We are thoroughly familiar with non-immigrant visa procedures all around the world, including from the most difficult countries and consulates. We guide our clients every step of the way, including:
- Preparing non-immigrant visa application;
- Preparing evidence of home country residence, required to demonstrate eligibility for non-immigrant visa;
- Preparing invitations, letters of intent, travel itinerary, and evidence of events to be attended during the stay in the United States;
- Preparing affidavits regarding maintaining home residence and travel plans;
- Preparing affidavits of support, income verification, and evidence of availability of financial support;
- Preparing for the interview;
- Continuously consulting throughout the process, including telephone and Skype conferences with the applicant.