California B-2 Visa Lawyer
Traveling to the United States for a vacation opens the door to experiencing different landscapes, theme parks, and cultures. There are many visa programs that foreigners and their families can apply for to travel to the United States.
Foreign travelers looking to visit family in the United States, go on vacation, or plan to see a future spouse can do so with a B-2 visa. A B-2 visa serves multiple functions covering business trips, educational studies, or tourism. It can also permit family members to visit for a short time with individuals otherwise ineligible to have their families join them during their trip.
Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law, a California B-2 visa lawyer, know that visiting the United States with a B-2 tourist visa is only possible with comprehensive planning and completing a sometimes-complicated process. With many years of experience and expertise, our legal team can help applicants complete all needed forms and provide legal advice.
Whether going to see family or on a sightseeing trip in the United States, receive a confidential and no-obligation review to discuss applying for a B-2 visa when you Call (559) 878-4958 or Contact us online to schedule your appointment.
How a California B-2 Visa Attorney Can Help
Commonly known as a tourist visa, the B-2 visa serves those planning to be in the United States for short recreational purposes. B-2 visa attorneys can advise on the documents needed to complete an application and help submit them to your local embassy for evaluation.
How to Submit an Application for a B-2 Visa
Working with a B-2 visa lawyer provides guidance and assistance while applying. You will receive legal advice and assistance in completing your application online, gathering and sorting through relevant documents, and handling any communications with your local United States embassy or consulate, including your interview.
As the applicant completes their Form DS-160, they must verify which visa works best for their visit. The most common option for tourism is the B-2 visa, but Transit C and D visas are other potential options. Speaking to a B-2 visa lawyer can help determine the right visa for you.
Going through the B-2 visa application starts with determining your country of origin. Applicants must first determine if they qualify for the Visa Waiver Program. If they do not qualify for a waiver based on their country of origin, they can proceed to gather the following information to submit with the Form DS-160:
- A valid passport from the applicant’s home country
- An intended travel itinerary with dates
- A list of all dates the applicant was present in the United States and for how long. The applicant may be requested to provide a history of all international travel completed in the last five years.
- A resume or education history, depending on the purpose of applying for a B-2 visa
- A digital photo of the applicant — Applicants must complete an online application with a photo meeting requirements placed by the Department of State. To complete an application, the applicant must pay all fees before finalizing the application’s submission.
Once the application is submitted and accepted, the applicant must schedule an interview with a local United States embassy or consulate. After the interview, the local embassy or consulate may determine that additional administrative processing is needed.
B-2 visa attorneys understand that the interviewing process takes time, as appointment windows are limited depending on the applicant’s country of origin. It is recommended that applicants interview at their local U.S. embassy or consulate, as doing so in another country can lead to a rejection of their visa. Online, the Department of State provides a tool to estimate the time needed from submission of the B-2 visa application to the interview date.
What Travel Purposes Are Valid for a B-2 Visa?
All applicants must disclose why they travel to the United States under a B-2 visa. The only permissible purposes are:
- Tourism or vacation
- Visiting friends or family
- Receiving medical treatment
- Participation in social events planned by service or social organizations
- Participation in amateur musicals, sports, or similar events
- Short recreational, educational courses that do not provide credit toward a degree
Purposes Not Permitted Under a B-2 visa
Working with a B-2 visa lawyer can help determine if the B-2 visa program fits you. Purposes that are not permitted under the B-2 visa program are:
- Studying in a program to receive credit toward a degree or professional certification
- Conducting business affairs
- Conducting paid performances before an audience as an artist
- Arriving as crewmembers from a ship or aircraft
- Working as a foreign press, film, journalism, or media
- Arriving to become a permanent resident of the United States
Can I Extend My B-2 Visa?
Filing for an extension on a B-2 visa is possible. A California B-2 visa lawyer can help you gather the needed documents and prepare Form I-539.
Once your extension is filed, applicants can stay 240 days in the United States until a decision for their extension is received. Filing an extension at least two months before the B-2 visa expires is strongly recommended.
If an extension application is denied, the applicant must return to their native country as soon as possible to prevent a record of an unlawful stay in the United States. Unlawful stays can result in the denial of future visa applications.
All B-2 visa holders are encouraged to act proactively to prevent any foreseeable delays in filing an extension. If there is a delay, B-2 visa holders must submit proof detailing why a delay was unavoidable.
What Will I Receive if I Am Approved for an Extension?
B-2 visa holders granted an extension will receive Form I-797 with a new Form I-94 attached. These documents will reflect the new expiration and departure date.
What if I Qualify Under the United States Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?
Created for tourists and an alternative program for business travelers, the Visa Waiver Program was designed so that citizens of specified countries could forgo the traditional B-2 visa application and interviewing process. Applicant’s residing in pre-approved countries do not need to apply for a B-2 visa before entering the United States but instead will enter with an approved visa waiver.
While those qualifying under the VWP do not need to go through the application and interview process, the United States Customs Border and Protection (CBP) will ultimately approve entry to the United States. However, they hold the right to rescind any approved entry, even if the foreigner has an approved B-2 visa status.
Travelers using the Visa Waiver Program cannot file for an extension to their stay.
How Do I Apply for the Visa Waiver Program?
Applicants must ensure they are citizens of an approved country and file an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) through the United States Customs and Border Protection website. Once qualified residents receive approval through ESTA, they can board and enter the United States.
Although this Visa Waiver Program was designed to replace a B-2 visa, it has its limits. For instance, those traveling to the United States for employment or study at a university must opt for other visa options, as the waiver serves tourist or short business trip needs.
While the VWP process removed many nuances of a visa application, not everyone qualifies by location or immigration purposes. Working with a B-2 visa attorney can help confirm eligibility for using the Visa Waiver Program.
Studying With a B-2 Visa
B-2 visa holders must apply to an F or M visa program before applying to U.S.-based educational programs. However, suppose the B-2 visa holder wants to apply for academic certification. In that case, those generally work with international applicants on a B-2 visa since they are short-term programs and do not grant college credit.
Contact Our California B-2 Visa Attorneys for Help Visiting the United States
A B-2 visa allows foreigners to visit the United States for recreational purposes. Given its short-term nature, B-2 visas make an excellent option for those seeking a trip to see family or American tourist destinations.
Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law has years of combined experience helping applicants through the B-2 visa process. Whether you and your family qualify under the Visa Waiver Program or need to apply for a B-2 visa directly, we are here to help. Call (559) 878-4958 or Contact us online for a no-obligation consultation over the phone or in person at our local office.