NONIMMIGRANT VISAS - Visitor Visas

Visitor Visas are known as B Visas. Visitor for business is a B1 and visitor for pleasure is B2. The B1 Business Visitor Visa does not allow the applicant to engage in employment in the United States. It only allows the holder to engage in activities such as entering into business contracts and making business deals to be concluded through the visa holder’s home country.

Although in the past Visitor visas were automatically given 6 months visas and were allowed 6 months at the United States port of entry upon arrival, now the policy is to issue the visa for the specific duration needed for the applicant and similarly at the port of entry, but short of 6 months.

The important point to remember for any visitor visa applicant is that he has to convince a consular officer at a United States Consulate abroad that he is truly a bona fide visitor and that he will leave the United States after his visit. The things he has to prove to a United States Consular Officer of this are such things as the fact that he has sufficient funds, a return air ticket, strong family ties and strong economic ties to his home country. The consular officer’s initial presumption is that every visa applicant is an intending immigrant and therefore the inclination to deny every visitor visa application unless the applicant can prove otherwise. The burden of proof is on the applicant to prove that he is indeed a bona fide visitor.

Visitors from certain countries do not need visas for visiting the United States. This is known as the Visa Waiver Program. These countries are usually the richer more affluent countries. Canada is visa exempt which means that Canadians are treated as if they have visas even though they do not need one. Visa Waiver nationals are given 90 days stay in the United States which cannot be extended and no change of status is permitted.