FAQ Category: Visa Questions

Visa Waiver Program – What is the Visa Waiver Program?

Question: What is the Visa Waiver Program?

Answer: This program was spearheaded by  United States Department of State. It is an initiative that enables citizens or nationals of certain countries to enter the U.S. without a visa.  Hence, this program applies to individuals who will travel into the United States for 90 days or less. Also, this program is for  anyone from the following countries who are coming for the purposes of either tourism or business. Currently there are over 30 countries who participate in this program. Here is a list of just a few of these countries:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Czech Republic
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden and more

The Visa Waiver Program Requirements

The first major requirement of the Visa Waiver Program is all applicants must have a valid ESTA. The ESTA or Electronic System for Travel Authorization must be approve PRIOR to the date the trip begins. All applicant obtain authorization from the Department of State via the website.

Additionally, there are a number of other important requirements that a traveler must meet to be in the Visa Waiver Program. One of the important requirements is the purpose of the trip be permitted on a Visitor (B) Visa. If your trip is for the purposes of business, examples below will constitute reasons for a Visitor (B) Visa:

  • Coming to the United States specifically to consult with one or more business associates.
  • Attending a business convention or conference, or some other type of scientific, educational, or otherwise professional event.
  • Coming to the United States in order to negotiate a contract or other business deal.

If your trip is for the purpose of tourism, examples below will demonstrate the reason for a Visitor (B) Visa:

  • A vacation.
  • Medical treatment.
  • Visit with friends or relatives.
  • Enroll in a short, recreational course for the purpose of study.

It is important to note that studying for credit, visiting the U.S. for the purposes of employment, and similar travel reasons are not allow under the program.

Student Visa – Could I switch from work visa to student visa?

Passport Frequently Asked Questions and AnswersQuestion:  If I currently have a work visa, can I switch from my work visa to a student visa?


Answer:  If you are currently in possession of a B-1 or B-2 visa with non-immigrant status, and wish to enroll in classes, you can accomplish it by applying for F-1 or M-1 student visa. Of course, this is possible only if specific criteria and guidelines are met. A list of  conditions are below.

An applicant can apply for an F-1 or M-1 student visa if:

  • The individual did not enroll in classes as of yet.
  • The current status of the B-1 or B-2 visa is still valid..
  • The applicant did not partaken in unauthorized employment.

In order for an applicant to change status from a B-1/B-2 visa to an M-1 or F-1 visa, they will have to submit an application to extend/change non-immigrant status by the use of form I-539. They will need to include the fees link to the process. In addition, the documents that go along as per the filing instructions.

If an applicant was to enroll in classes before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services approves Form I-539, then they can not change the non-immigrant status of B to F or M.

If an applicant wishes to extend the length of their B1/B2 stay and they are already taking classes, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will not extend their B1/B2 visa due to status violation.

K-1 Visa – Can you recommend different sources of information pertaining to K visas?

Passport Frequently Asked Questions and AnswersQuestion:  I am applying for a K-1 Visa and I would like more information about it. Can you recommend different sources of information pertaining to K-1 Visa?


Answer:  The fiancee K-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa offer to a U.S. citizen’s fiancee who lives in another country. This visa will permit the fiancee to enter the United States. Hence, they are able to get marry within 90 days of his/her coming into the United States. When that is complete, the fiancee must apply for an adjustment of status. The adjustment of status can lead to the fiancee becoming a permanent resident. Given this opportunity, the fiancee must still fulfill the requirements pertaining to an immigrant visa. If a child is involve, then the child of a K-1 Visa holder will receive a K-2 Visa.

The fiancee and the U.S. citizen must meet a minimum of 2 years before entering into their marriage in a face-to-face manner. Both the K-1 Visa holder and the U.S. citizen must submit evidence to prove they were legitimately free to marry. Also, the marriage was within the filing time of the petitioner and will have to remain that way for the time being. In addition, the marriage must be done legally and according to the states laws in which the marriage took place.

SEVIS System – What are the benefits to using the SEVIS system?

Passport Frequently Asked Questions and AnswersQuestion:  What are the benefits of using the SEVIS system? I would like to use the SEVIS system but want more information about it first.


Answer:  The SEVIS is a component of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program or SEVP. The SEVP system is part of the National Security Investigations Division. It serves as a link for the government organizations that have a concern regarding non-immigrants. Especially, non-immigrants who enters the U.S. for the main reason of becoming a student.

Being a part of the Department of Homeland Security, SEVP will work with schools that have students under this status. Any non-immigrant students will have a M and F visa class along with their dependents. The Department of State will be the department that deals with everyone in the Exchange Visitor Programs. In addition, all the non-immigrant exchange visitors who have a  J visa and their dependents will meet with the Department of State.

Both of these agencies, D.H.S. and D.S., use the SEVIS system to keep order and monitor schools. Schools that participate with the exchange visitor programs. Also, students who have a J, F, and M non-immigrant visa attending schools.

Burroughs Visa – Is Indefinite Validity Visa or Burroughs Visa good forever? Does this visa expires?

Passport Frequently Asked Questions and AnswersQuestion:  Is Indefinite Validity Visa or Burroughs Visa good forever? Does this visa expires?


Answer:  A Burroughs Visa is good for 10 years after its issuing date. The visa is physically type into a passport book. Indefinite validity visa or Burroughs visa is usually for tourist or business.

As of April 1, 1994, every indefinite validity visas were void and cannot be use. Any traveler who is in possession of an indefinite validity visa must reapply for a new visa before attempting to enter the U.S..  Otherwise, they will not get permission to enter the country.

Any Burroughs visas that were offer on April 1, 1994, will be invalid on their 10th year. This means that all Burroughs visas are not valid as of March 31, 2004 automatically.

In addition, regarding your passport, it should be in order and up to date. Below are some requirements regarding a passport:

  • Check passport validity – All travelers will need a passport that is valid for at least 90 days after they depart. The ideal amount of valid time that should be left on your passport when you depart a country should be roughly 6 months.
  • Blank visa pages – Many states require at least two blank visa pages in your passport book when you arrive and depart that state. This will permit any necessary stamps that you may need in your passport during your travel.
  • Transit Visa – Sometimes a transit visa is necessary when traveling to a country on a connecting flight. Countries that your flight stops at overseas may need to see a transit visa when connecting to another flight.

Waiver Program – Is there any way to qualify for the visa waiver program?

Passport Frequently Asked Questions and AnswersQuestion:  Is there any way to qualify for the visa waiver program? Also, are there guidelines that need to be met before I can qualify for the program?


Answer:  The visa waiver program will allow citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States. Individuals coming will not need to obtain a visa for 3 months or less, if all conditions have been met. However, the applicants who meet the eligibility conditions for the Visa Waiver Program can come as a tourist or for business. In addition, all applicants must posses a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to their travel.

A Visa Waiver Program applicant may fall under one of these criteria:

For Business

  • an individual is here to meet with business associates
  • attend conferences or conventions associated with education, business, or professional
  • attend a short term training

For tourism

  • vacation
  • visiting friends or relatives
  • medical treatment
  • sporting events at the amateur level

So, individuals can apply for a visa if he/she fits any of the criteria above. In some other cases, applying for a regular visa may be more beneficial. Furthermore, a regular visa will have less restricts as to the waiver program. So, the best thing would be to evaluate your purpose of coming to the U.S. and determine which visa will benefit you more.

Section 214B – I have been denied my visa under section 214B and I would like to know if this would be permanent.

Passport Frequently Asked Questions and AnswersQuestion:  I have been denied my visa under section 214B and I would like to know if this would be permanent?


Answer:  Within Section 214B it states “Every alien shall be presume to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer. At the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a non-immigrant status.”

The rejection under section 214B will not be permanent. The consular office will consider the previous case when the applicant reapplies. The consular office will reconsider the case if the applicant can provide proof that convinces the office enough that the applicant has strong ties outside the United States. However, some applicants will not be able to obtain a non-immigrant visa no matter how many times they apply. The individual must change his/her circumstances by dealing with personal, professional, and financial aspects significantly.

To aid this matter, you can submit a specific letter. This letter is a letter of invitation or support. This will not completely guarantee that you will get a visa. All visa applicants will have to apply for their visa with thought of their own circumstances. This means that applicants cannot use relatives or friends in the United States as aids to their circumstances. The applicant will have to provide his/her own circumstances for evaluation. Then, it will be determine if he/she will get a visa or not.

Strong Ties – As an applicant, I was asked to provide ‘strong ties’ and I am not too sure what this means. What is considered a strong tie?

Passport Frequently Asked Questions and AnswersQuestion:  As an applicant, I was asked to provide ‘strong ties’ and I am not too sure what this means. What is considered a strong tie?


Answer:  The terminology “strong ties” pertains to whether or not the traveler has something strong enough for them to go back to in their original country.

See below for and example of  what is consider to be a strong ties. But, beware that this is just an example and other things might be consider “strong ties”.


 The Following is Consider a Strong Ties on  Visa Application

  • If you are currently engage,or have a boyfriend/girlfriend, then you will need to submit a photograph to show you are not going to marry in the United States.
  • If you are a student, then you will need to show your school identification or college identification card.
  • If you are currently employ, then provide your employment letter, pay stub, income tax returns, and bank statements to show stability within your job. Also, you can speak about how you will further that job. Finally, you will need a short-term leave sanction letter.
  • We advise you to make a family tree to show your parents, uncles/aunts, siblings, and any other close relative of yours. For each you should describe where they live, what they do, and their financial condition.
  • Evidence of family by showing photos from within the house that you live in. This will show the bonds you have with close family members that you currently live with.
  • Finally, documents from your parents such as income tax returns, bank statements, copies of passports, etc.

I 94 – I forget to hand in my I 94 form when I left the United States: What should I do?

Passport Frequently Asked Questions and AnswersQuestion:  I forget to hand in my I 94 form when I left the United States: What should I do?


Answer:  If you have exited the United States by commercial air or by sea carrier, such as a cruise ship, then you will not need to take additional action in regards to your I 94. This is because your departure out of the United States can be independently verified. If you keep your existing boarding pass, it can help to ease your entry when you return.

Next, if you exit the U.S. by land, air, or water, then you will need to take additional action to correct the record. This is because your exit from the U.S. is not verified.

If your exit was not verify and you cannot prove a timely exit, the next time coming into the U.S. will be difficult. Customs and Border Protection will assume you were in the U.S. the entire time beyond your allowable stay. If this happens, terminating your visa will be the first option. Next, you must return to your original destination.

Under the Visa Waiver Program, visitors who stay longer than usual in the U. S. must apply for a visa when trying to re-enter the U.S. again.