How to get a tourist visa to the United States

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Hannaford Immigration Law

Boston, MA

How to get a U.S. tourist visa

Are you looking to come to the United States? If yes then a toursit visa might be right for you. There are two main types of visas available: they are either as a tourist for business or pleasure. These visa are also known as a B visa and a B visa is a non-immigrant visa. This means that when you apply for and get this visa you cannot intend to stay in the U.S. permanently but rather for a short period of time, sometimes up to 6 months, for business purposes, tourism, medical reasons or visiting friends and/or relatives. As I said you cannot have the intent of staying in the U.S. permanently when seeking a non-immigrant visa. Sometimes your intent may change when you are on a non-immigrant visa and you may apply to change your status or adjust your status but you must have the intent to return home at the conclusion of your legal stay when you apply for a toursit visa. When applying to change your status or adjust your status in the U.S. if the immigration officer adjudicating your application suspects that you had the intent of staying in the country permanently when you first applied for your tourist visa they will deny your application. If you would like any help or assistance in doing so please contact us at

As I mentioned there are two main types of B visas available. The one that you will need to apply for would be dependent on the purpose of your trip and what you would like to do on it as is the case with any visas. The main tourist visas are:

B-1 visa:

You can apply for this type of visa if you want to come to the U.S. temporarily for business. For example, if you needed to consult with business associates, attend a conference, settle an estate, or negotiate a contract. However you cannot be employed by a US entity on this type of on this visa. You can find out more about the exact activities you are and are not allowed to do on a B-1 visa here. Depending on your activities you may want to consider getting a visa that allows you to obtain work authorization. Please visit our website and contact us at for more information.

B-2 visa:

You can apply for this type of visa if you want to come to the U.S. temporarily for pleasure or tourism. For example, if you wanted to holiday in the U.S., visit with friends or family, enroll in a short recreational course (not for university credit), receive medical treatment, attend a social event hosted by a fraternal, social or service organization, or participate in an amateur music, sports or similar event if you will not receive remuneration that is. If you will be paid there are different types of visas that will do that and please contact us to find out the right type of visa for you.

Please keep in mind that it is never guaranteed that you will get a visa just because you apply for it. You need to meet all of the visa requirements and you may find it helpful working with an immigration attorney.

To apply for your non-immigrant visitor visa you generally need to fill out the Form DS-160 online and follow its instructions. They will ask you to do things such as upload a photo of yourself, print out the application confirmation and bring to your visa interview at the appropriate U.S. consulate or embassy. You will then need to schedule your interview. Wait times for visa interview appointments can be lengthy but vary by location and other factors. You can see the current wait times by entering your city under Appointment Wait Time on the Department of State Website. You will also likely have to pay a non-refundable visa application fee. Don't forget to gather your documentation to bring with you to your interview. These might include your passport, your DS-160 confirmation, application fee payment receipt, a photo, your travel itinerary, etc.

Visa Waiver Program:

If you are from certian countries (indicated below) you may be entitled to participate in the visa waiver program. Which will waive the requirement of getting the actual visa at the consulate or embassy. If you want to use the visa waiver program you do need to first obtain a valid Electronic System for Valid Authorization also referred to as an ESTA. You also must not have any U.S. visa ineligibilities and must have the right type of passport (such as having a passport that is valid for at least another 6 months from the planned departure date). The countries participating in the visa waiver program include:

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom

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