Visitor's Visa Overview
A citizen of a foreign country, wishing to enter the U.S., generally must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. The type of visa you must have is defined by immigration law, and relates to the purpose of your travel. When in doubt, check the State Department Website at: http://www.state.gov/
The following purpose would qualify for B-1/B-2:
- consult with business associates
- attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference
- settle an estate
- negotiate a contract
Tourism and Visit (B-2):
- vacation (holiday)
- visit with friends or relatives
- medical treatment
- participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
- participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating
- enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation).
B-1 in Lieu of H-1B:
A B-1 Visa may not generally be used in lieu of an H-1B. However, we are routinely asked about this little known provision because of several conflicting directives and communications between the State Department and Diplomatic and Consular Posts. It is important to understand that at no time can an individual in B-1 status be "employed" in the U.S. Also, the individual may not be deployed at a client site and perform, albeit temporarily, the duties normally associated with a regular employee. In rare instances, the Consulate may issue a B-1 Visa that can be used in lieu of an H-1B, but the Visa must be properly "annotated" for this classification to work, Specifically, it must carry the following annotation, "B in lieu of H, 9 FAM 41.31 N11.". A normal B-1 Visa is not meant for H-1B type work. For additional guidance, please see http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/87206.pdf
B-1 Visa – Infosys Settlement:
Infosys Limited civil settlement agreement of allegations of systemic visa fraud and abuse of immigration processes including a record settlement of $34 million, which is the largest payment ever levied in an immigration case. (U.S. v. Infosys Limited, 10/30/13).
What can we do when a visitor's visa is denied?
Consulates usually follow a certain procedure when visas are refused. However,
- Consular Officers should not refuse visa applicants on substantive grounds without first giving the applicant an opportunity to be interviewed in person
- When refusing a visa application, consular officers should inform the applicant of the section of the law under which the visa was refused, as well as the underlying factual basis for the refusal, unless the facts are classified
- When the refusal is based on substantive grounds (i.e., other than 221(g), the explanation should be provided in writing.
You should seek a review of the rejection. Make your Congressman aware of this memo and follow up with him. Unfortunately, there is very little one can do to appeal Consular decisions. Gentle persuasion through Congressmen, Senators and the Department of State does help.
Please see Dept of state page for the details of the new fee structure for Non Immigrant Visa applications.
The Department of State offers extensive information about the various visa categories available to enter the U.S. as a visitor.