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United States District Court for the District of Maryland
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Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland


International travelers visit the United States temporarily for a broad range of reasons, including business, tourism, pleasure, or a combination of these. Whether you need to apply for a nonimmigrant visa to visit the United States depends upon your country of citizenship. If you are a foreign national, the United States’ immigration and travel procedures can be complex and hard to understand. We recommend that you contact an experienced Maryland Visitor Visa Attorney.

Which Visitors Are Exempt from Visa Requirements?

Most Canadian citizens and citizens from countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) can enter the United States without a visa for stays of up to 90 days. Some of the 37 countries that currently participate in the VWP are: Australia, France, Hungary, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

Business and Tourism Visas

Those who are not from Canada, nor from countries that participate in VWP, must obtain visas for business (B-1 visa), tourism, pleasure or visiting (B-2 visa), or a combination (B-1/B-2). A B-1 visa may be issued when a traveler plans to visit for reasons such as consulting with business associates, attending a conference, or negotiating a contract. A B-2 may be issued when a traveler is going on holiday, visiting relatives or friends abroad, obtaining medical care, participating in a social event, participating in an unpaid contest as an amateur, or taking a class for fun.

Visa Application Process

If your age falls within the range of 14-79, you will be asked to interview for your visa. The Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country will make a final decision as to what type of visa you need based on your primary purpose for traveling. However, it will be your responsibility at the interview to show that you meet the requirements of the visa. Additional documentation may be required if you are going to the United States in order to obtain medical treatment. This documentation might include a letter from your physician explaining your diagnosis, a letter from a U.S. medical provider stating an intent to provide treatment, and proof (such as a bank statement) that your expenses in the U.S. will be paid.

Visa Regulations

The visa will be placed in your passport when it is issued. It allows you to request permission to enter the United States at one of its ports of entry. If you are issued one of these visas, there are a number of rules: you are not allowed to go to school, become employed, get paid for a performance, arrive in the U.S. as a crewmember for a ship or airplane, work in any kind of journalism, or take up permanent residence in the U.S.

If you are a tourist or businessperson who plans to travel based on the VWP, you must be authorized to do so based on the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before traveling. ESTA is an automated web-based system that determines your eligibility to travel. Your passport must be valid for six months after your departure date from the United States.

An experienced Maryland Visitor Visa Attorney at the office of Anthony A. Fatemi, LLC can help you visit the United States. Call us at (301) 519-2801, or submit our online contact form.

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