Requirements For Visiting The U.S. As A Tourist
''El Show Sin Fronteras''
Spanish Video Above Translated In English Below
Thank you very much to our dear audience for being with us today, we are with you as always well prepared and well prepared with a lot of information for the immigrant community.
There is a lot of news that immigration attorney Kate will be telling us today, now as all of our viewers will surely be hearing about some good things to come.
Without a doubt, after the COVID-19 pandemic established itself in our lives, one of the most common questions was how could this affect the requirements when entering the U.S as a tourist.
Traveling In Times Of Covid
Our attorney Kate tells us: ''We have new changes in the requirements to visit the United States, and this is something that applies to all citizens of the country, permanent residents, people visiting on Tourist Visas, and everyone must be updated before leaving because now they are going to have to prove that they are eligible to return.
This is a change from last month, and everything changed to be exact on December 6th under new orders from Biden based on the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.
Now all people who want to come to the United States, including U.S. citizens, will have to prove that they have been vaccinated, but they must also have a negative medical test before entering the country, one day before entry.
For example, I have plans to go out, I'm going to visit Mexico with my family and now I have to think about where I'm going to get these exams because there are specific requirements and you can't just take the exam like you can buy it at any other store.''
This test that you would have to take as a tourist returning to your country of origin, Do you have to take it in Mexico to return to the United States?
Kate tells us: ''Yes, it's up to me to do it in Mexico because for all the people who are outside the country where they are living, you have to take the test.
I imagine they're going to have to go to a clinic, but there are specific requirements they have to follow to bring them into the country, and they could at least call the airline they're going to use as they should be able to provide that information to people who have flights, what types of tests are acceptable and so on.
This is something that is going to change perhaps daily or weekly, depending on what is going on in the world with the Covid variants.
This information should also be seen by citizens or permanent residents here in the United States, they should check the requirements before leaving, and for people who want to visit the United States and live abroad, it is very important to check their requirements before arriving at the airport or the bridge if they plan to cross the border just to go shopping for Christmas, for example.
They should take this into account before leaving home because otherwise, it would be very complicated if they arrive at the bridge without the necessary documents, and everyone knows that the wait for support can be very long.''
Do I Need To Get Vaccinated To Enter The U.S.?
They are always asking us if there are ways or if there is an option to avoid getting this Covid vaccine, and there are many people who are sending us questions because they are people who do not want to get this vaccine. Would it be an option to either renew some legal status within the United States to be able to enter without having to get vaccinated?
Kate shares with us: ''Yes, it will be necessary to have all the required vaccinations, so you have to finish the process of vaccinations before coming to the country.
For example, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses and you have to wait two weeks after the second dose before you can come into the country.
For people who are in Mexico entering the country on Tourist Visas, they will need to bring proof of their full vaccination two weeks after the second dose. and also their medical exam, so there are 2 requirements, it is not only the vaccine or the negative exam, it is both.''
Vaccines Accepted By The United States
It is very important that apart from already having the vaccination without exception, they must have this card printed two weeks after their vaccination.
Kate says, "I have the list of vaccines accepted in the United States.
There's a vaccine called Johnson & Johnson and they only have one dose, but if you have Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covaxin, Covishield, BIBP, Sinopharm, or Sinovac, all those vaccines are accepted, but you have to wait two weeks after the second dose before you can come into the country.''
To enter the United States, is it necessary to have the Booster which is the 3rd dose that is being placed in the countries?
Kate says: ''From the Booster, there is no requirement, what I see is that there are two doses required. there are two doses required.
If they have received two doses of their vaccine, that is enough.
If they have the updated requirements (the negative test and their 2 doses) then all those who want to go to the United States and those who are inside and plan to go like me should check the CDC websites before their departure to make sure everything is in order.''
So remember now that without having any of the above vaccinations, it will be impossible to cross the U.S. border.
Immunizations & Exceptions
Our lawyer Kate adds: ''There is also more information to add because there are exemptions with these vaccines, and it is important to note that young people under 18 years of age do not have to be vaccinated, people who have a reason for not getting the vaccine because of an illness for example, but they are going to need a letter from a doctor explaining their situation.
People who are participating in the Covid studies and people who are from countries that don't have the ability to get vaccines because they're not eligible or not available in their own country, or people who are in the U.S. Armed Forces, and there are other exceptions as well, but for people who are not comfortable getting the vaccine and it's not for a disease and they don't have a letter from a doctor, they're not going to be able to come into the country.''
Living In The U.S. With Visa Entry
Now we come to the topic that interests us the most, which is when people cross the border and have already entered with their tourist visa, they tell us: The border is already closed, it's a little difficult right now with the Covid and I want to know if I can stay and live with my tourist visa in the United States.
Kate shares with us: ''It's a very common question because there are a lot of people who enter the country with their Visa and stay to live in the country, in fact right now it is so difficult to cross the border without permission.
The majority of undocumented people in the United States entered with a Visa, more than 60% of the undocumented immigrant community here in the United States entered with a Visa and stayed.
Regardless of the type of Visa you used to enter, there is a deadline for terminating your immigration status while in the United States.
For people who are crossing under the Tourist Visa, it is a Visa that is valid for 10 years, but each entry only has 6 months of permission, and the Border Patrol agents at the airport or the bridge will stamp your passport with an expiration date.
Many people overstay their Visas and for that, it is necessary to know the consequences, because if you decide to stay and your Visa expires, you will be undocumented and you will not have legal status in the United States, and it is possible to be caught and deported at any time.
Let's say someone came in with their Visa and they are an immediate relative of a citizen because their child was born in the United States and they are over 21, or they are married to a U.S. citizen in the United States, or maybe their parents are U.S. citizens and the immigrant is under 21, those are people who are eligible to do something called adjustment of status to permanent resident.
It only requires legal entry and a direct relationship to a U.S. citizen, which is an immediate relative relationship, but normally those people obviously already know about the relationship before entry and already have those plans, but there are still a lot of questions about how to do that, and one thing to know is that you have to take into account the restrictions.
When someone enters on a Tourist Visa or a Temporary Visa, it is a rule that the person entering on a Temporary Visa has no plans to stay permanently.
It's already different if someone changes their mind after entering and visiting the country, meets a person and decides to get married and then they apply to adjust their status, that's accepted and that's legal, but if someone is engaged and they enter on a Tourist Visa knowing that they're going to get married, knowing that they're going to apply to stay permanently, that's a violation of that Visa, so you have to be careful when you decide to stay permanently after you've entered on a Visa.''
Legal & Illegal Entries In The U.S.
We have a lot of very confused people who sometimes tell us: No, I'm legal because I have had a visa for 10 years or 5 years. I entered 3 years ago or I entered 2 years ago but my Visa is 10 years old, so I have papers. These people are not wrong, but what happens, and what is the difference between this Visa and the permission to stay in the United States?
Our attorney Kate tells us: ''Simply put, a person who entered without permission and stayed, compared to a person who entered with a visa and stayed after the time allowed in the country, have the same status in the United States because they are undocumented, they do not have a permit to be in the country and both can be arrested or caught and placed in deportation proceedings.
The difference for a person who entered with a Visa and stayed is that they're going to have more options for settlement within the United States. if they marry a U.S. citizen if their children are citizens and their parents are citizens, and without needing a waiver.
I am going to give as an example 2 types of cases, let's say I am Mexican and I entered without a Visa without being caught, I crossed the border and I have 10 years living in the United States and now I meet a citizen and I marry him and I want to apply because I entered without a Visa.
I have to go through the consulate first and they will have to ask me using the I-130 form, then I will need a waiver for presence in the country without permission based on the harm he would suffer without my presence in his life, and the third and final step is that I will have to prove in my own country's consulate that I am Mexican.
Then I'm going to have to leave the United States knowing that my I-130 is approved, knowing that my waiver is approved, knowing that the National Visa Center already has my documents and they are approved and I go to my appointment to get my permanent residency.
I'm away for two weeks and then I come back with my permanent residency, so it's possible but it's a bit of a complicated process.
In this second case, let's say it's the same situation except I entered on a Tourist Visa because I had it and overstayed it, I've been here for 10 years and I'm marrying an American citizen, but since I entered on a Visa in the second example I qualify to do an adjustment of status without having to leave, so I can put in the I-130, the I-485 and my whole package can be sent in one step.
I will receive a work permit, I will not need a waiver, and I can go to an interview with my husband here in the United States and receive my permanent residency without having to leave.
Expiration Times On Visas
In both examples, before I got married or before I received my residency I am undocumented, but the difference is how easy it is for me to arrange the difference is how easy it is for me to arrange whether or not I entered with a Visa..''
One question that our dear audience asks us is the following: Why do I have to leave the country for a day before 6 months? Would it no longer be illegal? Why am I getting a 10-year Visa?
Kate tells us: ''Good question, the reason is because of the immigration system in the United States.
We at Lincoln Goldfinch Law focus on 2 ways to settle permanently.
The first thing would be to arrange for a relative because we want to unite and reunite families in the United States, that's why U.S. citizens and permanent residents can petition for their relatives outside the United States, and about 60% of immigrants per year have arranged for a family relationship, that is the most common way to permanently settle in the United States.
The other way is by being an employee because some companies or companies want to hire employees from other countries.
Approximately 25% of immigrants have arranged for work, but there are also other humanitarian cases and we have talked in other shows about those types of cases, the Visa for Victims of Crime, the T Visa for Victims of Human Trafficking, Asylum, Domestic Violence (VAWA), among others.
There are many types of cases, but they represent only a small percentage of immigrants.
We also have options to come to visit or study in the country, and they are Temporary Visas, for example, these are some of the Work Visas H1B, H2B, L1, TM, and the Visas to study, the F1 which is the Student Visa, and the Tourist Visas are the B1, B2 which are the most common, but we also have the Visa Waiver (Visa Waiver Program) for people from countries that do not have many immigrants, they can visit the country without having a Visa, but they have a deadline for their entries.
For people who want to visit or come temporarily to the United States, they will have to apply for entry at the U.S. consulate in their home country, and they will have to prove to an official at the consulate that they deserve a Visa.
For the Tourist Visa what the officials at the consulates want to see is that this application is coming for a short time, that this person has no plans to stay permanently, that this person is applying for a Visa to visit the United States and that he or she is going to return to his or her country after entry, but it's a little complicated to process that Visa application.
You have to fill out the N-660 application, pay the fee, submit your documents and go to the interview at the consulate, and that's why they check the status or history of the person.
They want to see that you have a good job, have your property, maybe a lot of savings in a bank account of your own, and then they approve you for a 10 year Visa, but each visit is for less than 6 months and the reason is that it is a Tourist Visa, not to live in the United States.
They want to see that less than 50% of your time is in the United States.
So when someone comes with an entry permit for 6 months, they should not stay until the expiration date of their permit.
It's a good idea to leave 1 month, 2 months before your permit expires so you don't have any more questions after your second entry, and you should always stay out of the U.S. longer than you stayed in the country.''
Visa Cancellation & Timing
It is necessary to leave in time before those 6 months are up as a recommendation, 2 months before our Visa expires, and be much longer out of the country than we are spending inside, at least 6 months in Mexico (for example) to be 4 or 3 months inside the United States.
Kate says, "And if you can't have an interview, they can cancel your Visa.
We have clients who before becoming our clients were visiting for example their boyfriend every month for 2 weeks, and then after 5 or 6 entries an agent at the bridge was able to cancel their Visa and put them in deportation proceedings, then you should consult with us if you have reason to visit the United States many times. and to have a plan when they have the questions at the border that they are going to ask them.''
Many times we have calls where our customers ask us If it is true that the police can search your cell phone, your bags if they can keep any information to themselves? What is the scope of these police officers?
Kate: ''Yes, they have a lot of power to go through anything, your suitcase, your papers, your phones, your computer, etc.
I have reviewed many cases where they canceled a Visa because they found evidence of a job in the United States, and you have to be very careful with the things you bring into the country, an announcement of a marriage, a wedding the following week with your husband who is an American citizen, they see it on Facebook and they can cancel the Visa immediately just for that.
One point that is important to clarify is that you have to have enough money in an account to prove that you can support yourself financially during your whole visit, if you are coming for 5 months and your return ticket is 5 months in the future, you must have enough money for your food, for your rent, for everything necessary in those 5 months, because if not they will think that you plan to work to support yourself during that time''.
In case you have additional questions about Tourist Visas, vaccinations required for entry, or about your specific case, you can contact us at (855) 502-0555. After a short 10 minute evaluation of your case via telephone we will let you know what options you have. You can also follow us on our social networks so you don't miss our weekly broadcasts via Facebook, YouTube y Twitch.