If a foreign national wishes to enter the United States, he or she must obtain permission from the U.S. government before arriving. This permission is gained through a successful visa application process. It is important to understand that individuals must obtain visas before entering the U.S., even if they only intend to stay for a short visit, a brief business engagement or to receive medical treatment before returning home. When nonimmigrants wish to enter the U.S. for any of these short-term purposes, they may usually request permission to come to America by applying for so-called visitor visas.
It is important to understand that not everyone is eligible to obtain a visitor visa. If you are looking to study in the U.S., live or work in America, engage in a paid performance or set up a business on U.S. soil, you will need to apply for a different kind of visa. Visitor visas are available exclusively to those individuals interested in behaving as tourists, seeking medical treatment, attending a conference/event and/or engaging in specific kinds of business-related social and legal work.
Visiting the United States as a Tourist or Patient
If you are interested in visiting the U.S. as either a patient seeking medical treatment or as a tourist, you will want to submit an application for a B-2 visa. In addition to permission for tourist-related opportunities and receiving medical treatment, as a B-2 visa holder, you will be granted permission to participate in amateur events and competitions, provided that you are not compensated for your involvement. You will similarly be able to enroll in brief, recreational courses of study not completed for credit or progress towards obtaining a degree.
Visa Options for Business-Related Purposes
If you are interested in visiting the U.S. for certain short-term business purposes, you may be eligible for a B-1 visa. This is not the correct visa option for individuals hoping to work in the U.S. for an extended period of time, set up a business, perform professionally before a paying audience, operate as a paid member of the media and work towards an educational degree. Instead, this visa is appropriate for those seeking to travel to the U.S. to attend professional, educational or business-related conferences and events, consult with other professionals or associates, negotiate contracts, settle estates, meet with attorneys, etc.
It is worth noting that if you plan to visit the U.S. for both tourist/medical treatment purposes and business-related purposes, you will likely need to seek out a hybrid permission commonly referred to as a B-1/B-2 visa.
Applying for a B-1 or B-2 Visa
When applying for a visitor visa, you will generally need to fill out an application, submit required documentation and attend an interview. It is worth noting that the application process does vary somewhat depending on where you live and which U.S. Consulate or Embassy you are working with. As a result, it is important to discuss the proper progression of your petition process with your attorney before submitting information online, via postal mail or in-person.
When submitting an application, you must fill out all requested information completely and accurately. You will also be asked to submit a photo. Once complete, make sure to retain a printed copy of your application so that you can reference it during your interview. Unless you are younger than 14 or older than 79, you will almost certainly need to schedule a visa-related interview at the American Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Some exceptions may apply and such exceptions may be discussed with your attorney.
In addition to your application and interview, you will need to submit a fee related to the process and present a valid passport. Prior to your interview, it is a good idea to prepare yourself to answer questions related to the purpose of your trip, how you will pay for your trip and when you plan to return home.
Immigration Guidance Is Available
The process of applying for visas can be both complex and time sensitive. Please consider connecting with an immigration attorney at LawTrades in regards to any questions you may have about obtaining a visa or sponsoring a visa applicant. We look forward to assisting you with your legal needs.