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What is the visa process for visitors to California?

For Californians who have family members living in other countries, visits are very precious. It is probably rare to travel out of the country to visit family, or to have relatives fly to the U.S. for a brief stay. When your relatives do fly in, you want to make sure that their stay goes as smoothly s possible.

When family members come to visit, most people prepare by cleaning house, cooking their relatives’ favorite foods and taking them out to see the local attractions. But when your foreign-born relatives are coming to the states for a visit, there are several other important things to take into consideration. This is the process that you and your relatives will need to follow when they come to visit you.

Getting the right visa

People who are coming to the United States for a brief, temporary visit need to obtain a certain visa. The B-2 visitors visa is a type of non-immigrant visa intended for foreign nationals who are visiting the U.S. for tourism, medical treatment, conventions, sports or family time. There are a few exceptions to this rule—if your family members are coming from a country that does not necessitate a visa, then there is no need to go through this step.

Your visitors will have to prove that their visit is only temporary, that they have enough money to fund their trip and that they have a permanent address outside of the country. This may involve producing certain documents like a driver’s license, passport, lease or other form of identification. Then, they can apply for a B-2 visitor visa at their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

The final step in your family’s visit is entering the border. This process takes place at the airport, where your relatives will fill out a few entrance forms, answer questions in a brief interview and have their luggage inspected. Once this process is complete, you can welcome your family members to sunny California.

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  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Avvo
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Irvine Chamber