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TOURIST / VISITOR VISAS

A Visitor Visa is a 'nonimmigrant visa' for people who want to come to the USA temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure or medical treatment (B-2), or people from certain 'eligible' Countries can visit the USA without a visa on the ‘Visa Waiver Pilot Program’ (see below).

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Proposed Changes to Visitors Visa

QUALIFYING FOR A VISA
To apply for a visitor visas you must show that you qualify under provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. All applicants for visitor visas must show that:

-- The purpose of their trip is to enter the U.S. for business, pleasure, or medical treatment;

-- That you plan to remain for a specific, limited period; and

-- That you have a residence outside the U.S. as well as other binding ties which will insure you return abroad at the end of the visit.

INELIGIBILITY FOR a VISITOR VISA
The nonimmigrant visa application Form DS-156 lists classes of persons who are NOT eligible to receive visas under U.S. law. In some instances an applicant who is ineligible, but who is otherwise properly classifiable as a visitor, may apply for a waiver of ineligibility and be issued a visa if the waiver is approved.

HOW TO APPLY FOR A VISITOR VISA
You should apply for visitor visas at the American Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence (see links below). Although you may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad. However, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of your permanent residence.

DOCUMENTATION YOU WILL NEED
Every applicant for a visitor visa must pay a nonrefundable US$45 application fee and submit:

1) An application Form OF-156 (see links below), completed and signed. Blank forms are available without charge at all U.S. consular offices;

2) A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the United States. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must make an application;

3) Two photographs 1 and 1/2 inches square (37x37 mm) for each applicant, showing full face, without head covering, against a light background.

Optional Documentation
You should demonstrate that you are properly classifiable as visitors under U.S. law. Evidence must show;
· the purpose of the trip,
· intent to depart the United States, and
· arrangements made to cover the costs of the trip may be provided.

If you are traveling to the U.S. on business, you can present a letter from the U.S. business stating the business purpose of the trip, the intended length of stay and the companies intent to defray travel costs.

If you are traveling to the U.S. for pleasure, you can use letters from relatives or friends in the U.S. whom you plan to visit, or confirmation of participation in a planned tour.

If you are traveling to the U.S. for medical treatment you should have a statement from a doctor or institution stating the proposed medical treatment.

All applicants who do not have sufficient financial funds to support themselves while in the U.S. must present evidence that a someone in the US will provide support.
Visitors are not allowed to accept employment during their stay in the U.S.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
If your passport contains a previously issued visitor visa, you can inquire about special expedited procedures (available at most consular offices) for issuance of a new visitor visa.

Unless previously canceled, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, if you have a valid U.S. visitor visa in an expired passport, you can use it along with your new valid passport.

You should NOT typically need to hire professional help in order to prepare documents or securing access to the U.S. consular office.

VISA WAIVER PILOT PROGRAM
If you are coming to the U.S. for tourism or business for less than 90 days and you are from a ‘qualified country’, you may be eligible to visit the U.S. without a visa.
Currently, 28 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.
Visitors entering on the Visa Waiver Program cannot work or study while in the U.S. and cannot stay longer than 90 days or change their status to another visa category.

US Embassies and Consulates - Worldwide

INS FORMS & FEES
INS Forms and Fees are available online
or
by calling 1-800-870-3676
or
by requesting forms by mail

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An Important disclaimer! The information provided on this page is not legal advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt by you does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Readers must not act upon any information without first seeking advice from a qualified attorney. © Copyright 2001 H1 Base, Inc. Correspondence to H1 Base Inc letters may be edited and may be published and otherwise used in any medium.
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