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Hannaford Immigration's Blog

A Boston Immigration Attorney's Blog

Category: Non immigrant visas

How to get a U.S. tourist visa

Immigration Attorney Boston

If you would like to visit the United States as either a tourist for business or pleasure then you generally must first obtain a visitor visa.  These visa are also known as a B visa and a B visa is a non-immigrant visa. This means that when getting 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 mentioned you cannot have the intent of staying in the U.S. permanently when seeking a non-immigrant visa.  Now we all know life is unpredictable and sometimes you intent can change or you may need to extend the reason for your trip which can often be accomplished by applying to change your status or in some cases to adjust your status. Though be wary when applying to change your status or adjust your status in the U.S. as 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 non-immigrant visa they will deny your application. If you would like any help or assistance in doing so please contact us at

There are two main types of B visas available. Which one 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:

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Waiver for J1 visa two year home requirement

If you are on a J-1 visa  you may be subject to the two year home requirement. If you are  before you can get a immigrant visa you have to either complete that requirement or have it waived. You may be able to get what is known as a J-waiver which waives this home requirement.  The two year home rule is also referred to as the foreign residence requirement under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act Section 212(e), or just INA s. 212(e).

The J-1 visa is a great way to travel to the United States and learn about daily life in America.  It is a non-immigrant visa and was designed to foster global understanding through cross-cultural exchange.  The program generally involves letting an American organization sponsor a foreign national who then works or studies in the United States for a short term and upon completion of the program then returns home.  A prospective exchange visitor would need to first obtain a form called a DS-2019 from a sponsor in order to apply for the J1 visa. Here is a list of sponsors

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