Visitor visas are a type of non-immigrant visa for persons who wish to enter the U.S. on a temporary basis.  They are issued to persons who are traveling for the purpose of pleasure, tourism, or medical treatments.  There are two different types of visitor visas available:

The main aspect of visitor visas is that they’re temporary.  In any immigration application, the assumption is that the applicant is intended to relocate permanently to the U.S.  Thus, when applying for a visitor visa, the foreign national needs to demonstrate that they only intend to stay in the U.S. temporarily. 

What are the Qualifications for Obtaining a Visitor Visa?

In order to qualify for a B-1 or B-2 visitor visa, the applicant needs to prove that:

  • The purpose of their stay in the U.S. is only for business, pleasure, or medical treatment;
  • They only intend to remain in the U.S. for a specified, limited period of time
  • They have evidence of sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the country
  • They have evidence that they will not sever their  economic and social ties abroad
  • They have a residence outside of the United States, and other ties that demonstrate they will return to their country of origin once their visit is complete

In addition, the applicant will need to submit various forms, pay some fees, and submit additional documents (such as birth certificates, bank account stubs, etc.).  They may also be required to submit to an interview process.

What if a Visitor Visa Application is Denied?

In some instances, a denied visitor visa application may be appealed.  There will usually be instructions regarding the appeal process in the rejection letter.  However, the availability of an appeal will depend on the reason that the original application was denied.

For example, if the application was originally denied due to fraud or misrepresentation of facts, it is probable that an appeal won’t be granted.  Instead, the visa may be subject to a permanent denial, and the person will likely be denied entry into the U.S.

You should note that fraudulent intent in an immigration application is a serious violation that must be avoided.  It can harm the applicant’s chances of being able to apply later on in the future, and can even result in criminal consequences. 

What if I Overstay My Visa?

Overstaying a visa is another serious immigration violation.  Since the person is already in the U.S., they will face possible removal (deportation) from the country.  In addition, they may have a bar placed on them, which may prohibit them from re-entering the country until a certain number of years have passed (such as 5 or 10 years).  If this is the second or third time that the person has overstayed a visa, they may even be permanently banned from re-entering the country.

An overstay may occur even if the person is only one day past their departure deadline.  Thus, all persons entering the U.S. on visitor visa should always be aware of the time limits in which they’re allowed to stay in the country.  Overstays also have the affect of automatically voiding a current visa, even if it may have allowed for multiple entries. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With a Visitor Visa?

Visitor visas can be very helpful for persons who wish to stay in the U.S. on a temporary basis.  You should contact an experienced immigration lawyer if you or a loved one needs help with a visitor visa application.  Your attorney can help go over the application requirements with you to make sure you won’t experience any delays in the process.  Also, if you are facing any visa violations, you should speak with an attorney immediately for legal assistance and representation.