Non Immigrant Visa Requirements 2022 : Is it easy to get a US visitor / tourist visa?
By: Harlan York
March 14, 2022

People often think that getting a non immigrant visa to visit or study in the United States will be easy. This is not necessarily true! The US government understands that many people try to use a non immigrant visa as a backdoor into the country, so they put measures in place to help stop illegal immigration through the B1 B2 visa.

The main thing? You must show that you have firm ties to your nation and a reason to return, such as a job, property and/or family there.

What Is A Non Immigrant Visitor Visa?

Non immigrant visitor visas (also known as tourist visas), are for foreign nationals who want to come to the US on a temporary basis for tourism, medical treatments, college/university, and certain kinds of work or business. Basically, if you want to travel to the US, and you aren’t a US national or temporary resident, you will need a non immigrant visitor visa to do so.

What are the 3 main categories of non immigrant, tourist or visitor visa?

  • Visitor Visas: Want to visit the US for business or tourism? You will need a B1 or B2 visa (unless your home country is included in the visa waiver program: see below). Visas last anywhere between 3 months and 10 years, and you can come and go during the time your visa is valid.
  • Study Visas: Students will need to apply for an F1,2 or F3 visa, M visa ( for Canadians and Mexicans), or J1 J2 visa for exchange programs.
  • Employment Visas: H1b, or H2b visas for specialty occupations and seasonal work. P visas for entertainers and artists, Q visas for cultural exchange, and C-1 visas for ships and airline employees.

What is the Visa Waiver program?

Thirty eight countries including most of the EU can travel within the US without a visa as long as it’s for less than 90 days, is for business, tourism or study, or while in transit.

Additionally Canadians can stay in the US from 6 months to 1 year without a visa as long as it’s not for work, study, investing or immigrating.

How Can I Increase My Chances Of Getting A Visitor/Tourist Visa?

The US government understands that many people try to use the visitor visas, particularly the B1 B2 tourist visas, as a backdoor into the country. With that in mind the government puts measures in place to weed out anyone they consider high risk of overstaying their visa and trying to stay illegally. That said, there are certain things that can help improve your chances when you submit your infomation to immigration.

  1. Proof of employment: Having a viable job to return to in your country of origin means it’s likely you aren’t in the US looking to work illegally under the table. Immigration will be looking at the length of time at your job, your previous work, and your salary.
  2. Proof of family obligation: This would include needing to look after elderly parents, or children back in your home country. Proof of this could be letters from doctors of the elderly parents explaining how you are needed, or from schools with proof on enrollment for children.
  3. Previous travel history: This would be proof that you have previously left – and more importantly, returned – to your home country in a timely manner (ie: not overstayed your visa).
  4. Proof of personal assets and/ or property: Documents that show you have assets in your home country you are not likely to abandoned can be a good way to show that you intend to return. Proof of a mortgage, ownership papers of a business or a house or property can be used to show intent to return after your visit to the United States.
  5. Proof of community work: If you are involved in a community project, business ( even if it’s not your own), it can be used as an indication that you would want to go back.

For the purposes of getting your visa, the more documentation the better.

Which countries have the easiest and hardest time with non immigrant (visitor) visa denial?

Check the list below, it’s not the countries you would think that have the easiest (or hardest time with non immigrant ( visitor) visa denial.

  1. You might think that with all of the poverty stricken favelas, Brazilians have a tough time getting visitor visas. Not True with only a 3.5% refusal rate
  2. On the other hand, considering its stability and high employment, you would conclude that Canadians have an easy time. Also Not True with a very high 43.1% denial rate.
  3. Egypt with its recent troubles would likely have a high refusal rate, right? But it’s 39.5% which is relatively low. Similarly, with millions displaced, Syrians who apply for visitor visa to the US are denied at a 46.1% rate. And the numbers are not much different for two other countries with similar histories: Iran 48.2% and Iraq 39.2%
  4. Great Britain And Northern Ireland – one might say “slamdunk,” but still 16.9% are denied visitor visa issuance.
  5. Haiti, still reeling from natural disaster, has a 47.1% refusal – which means more than half who apply are approved.
  6. Libya, stinging after recent events, would be unlikely to see many of its citizens allowed to visit the US? Wrong. Only 33.8% are denied visitor visa.
  7. HERE IS PERHAPS THE MOST INCREDIBLE FACT: millions have crossed the border from Mexico yet only 12.1% of those who ask to travel here legally are denied visitor visa.
  8. Norway for some bizarre reason has a variably high 19.1% denial rate.
  9. Pakistan, long on the watch lists, has a variably low 38.5% denial rate.
  10. About 90% of visitor visa applicants from Russia are granted which is pretty remarkable considering the many reasons they might choose to stay in the US.

Getting a non immigration (visitor) visa is harder than you think.

If you are applying for a non immigrant visitor visa, you might seriously consider the counsel of an immigration attorney, as preparation of the application makes all the difference.

We recently had a case of a young – unmarried man- who needed to come to the US from the Ukraine. He belonged to the highest risk group (young, unmarried, and male), trying to come in from a country in the midst of profound turmoil – and yet we were able to secure a visitor’s visa for him.

This fact is very significant considering the unrest in his homeland as well as how concerned the US government with people traveling here with no permanent ties to their country.

But it’s all in the presentation of the application. Again, getting a visitor’s visa is not as easy as submitting paperwork. If you really want to come to the US, don’t leave it up to chance. Get the help of a proven professional.

About Harlan York

The first-ever attorney in New Jersey to win “Immigration Lawyer of the Year” from Best Lawyers, Harlan York is former immigration chair of the NJ State Bar Association and former co-chair for the NY State Bar Association CFLS Committee on Immigration. He currently serves on the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) National Practice Management Committee.

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Harlan York & Associates practices law in the areas of Immigration, Deportation Defense, Family Immigration, Corporate Immigration, Naturalization throughout Essex County – Hudson County – Morris County – Passaic County – Somerset County – Middlesex County – Bergen County – New Jersey -Immigration Lawyer – NJ Immigration Lawyer – Jersey City-Newark-Paterson Passaic Elizabeth Edison Woodbridge Toms River Hamilton Trenton Camden Clifton Passaic Garfield Wallington Cherry Hill East Orange Passaic Union City Bayonne Irvington Old Bridge Lakewood North Bergen Vineland Union Wayne Parsippany-Troy Hills New Brunswick Plainfield Bloomfield Perth Amboy East Brunswick West New York West Orange Hackensack Atlantic City Kearny Mount Laurel Montclair Essex Hoboken North Brunswick Belleville. In addition to serving clients in New York, Pennsylvania, the greater United States, and Internationally.

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