What Kind of Visa Will I Need?
Assuming you are not exempt from the visa requirement under the waiver program, there are two primary visa applications that may apply to your particular situation.
- B-1 Visa. This is a visa applicable to those individuals who seek to enter the US for business purposes, including consulting with business associates, attending conferences, negotiation of a contract, or settling an estate.
- B-2 Visa. This applies to tourists who are visiting the US on vacation, as well as those who come to participate in a social event, to obtain medical treatment, and to participate in amateur sporting events.
There are additional circumstances where a visa may be required for a person on vacation. They are called “Transit Visas,” and include people stopping in the US briefly on their way to another foreign destination, and members of sea vessel and international airline crews who stop in the United States.
Tourist Visa Limitations and Prohibitions
If you have successfully applied for and received a tourist visa, there are limitations on what you may and may not do while you are in the United States. Obviously, it is perfectly acceptable to use the visa for tourism, that is, visiting the United States for the purpose of vacationing and visiting places of interest. People also use tourist visas to enter the country for events with family and friends, such as baby showers, weddings, seeing relatives, graduation, shopping, and similar activities. On the other hand, there are activities that are prohibited while in the country on a tourist visa.
The following are just some of the activities that are not permitted while in the country on a tourist visa:
- You may not work, even if you are not getting paid.
- Journalists (radio, film, etc.) in the US on a tourist visa may not engage in their vocation while here. This includes those who travel using the visa waiver program. To do so, you must enter using a nonimmigrant media visa.
- Future Students. You are not permitted to enter the country on a tourist visa, and then switch to a student visa after you have settled on a school to attend. On the other hand, it is perfectly legal to enter on a tourist visa to visit institutions of higher learning (colleges, universities, graduate schools) to plan for future studies.
These are just a few of the more common prohibitions and limitations on what you may and may not do while in the US on a tourist visa.
Phoenix Tourist Visa Attorney
The visa process can be complex, and the laws governing visas, including student visas, are often confusing. Mistakes can cost you the ability to enter the United States. If you have questions or concerns about a tourist visa (or a business visa), or regarding any immigration matter, feel free to contact Castañeda Immigration Law at 602-560-3131.