usa – Do I qualify for US visa interview waiver if I’m switching from one visa type to another?

I’ve learned that if you have a US visa, you don’t have to book an interview to renew your visa. You can just mail your documents and they send your passport back in a few weeks. I don’t know the details so I wanted to post this question.

My F1 visa is currently valid on paper (it was given for 5 years but I graduated earlier and left the US)

I’d like to get a tourist visa (B-2).

Is it possible for me to get the visa without an interview?

Because of the pandemic, soonest interview is given 12+ months later here. So it would be great if I qualify for an interview waiver. Maybe I should call the embassy and ask?

usa – Do I qualify for interview waiver? F1 to B2

I’ve learned that if you have a US visa, you don’t have to book an interview to renew your visa. You can just mail your documents and they send your passport back in a few weeks. I don’t know the details so I wanted to post this question.

My F1 visa is currently valid on paper (it was given for 5 years but I graduated earlier and left the US)

I’d like to get a tourist visa (B-2).

Is it possible for me to get the visa without an interview?

Because of the pandemic, soonest interview is given 12+ months later here. So it would be great if I qualify for an interview waiver. Maybe I should call the embassy and ask?

usa – Do I quality for interview waiver? F1 to B2

I’ve learned that if you have a US visa, you don’t have to book an interview to renew your visa. You can just mail your documents and they send your passport back in a few weeks. I don’t know the details so I wanted to post this question.

My F1 visa is currently valid on paper (it was given for 5 years but I graduated earlier and left the US)

I’d like to get a tourist visa (B-2).

Is it possible for me to get the visa without an interview?

Because of the pandemic, soonest interview is given 12+ months later here. So it would be great if I qualify for an interview waiver. Maybe I should call the embassy and ask?

Does a visa refusal make one ineligible for the US Visa Waiver Program?

It seems to be consensus on this site that being denied a US visa makes it practically impossible to get an ESTA. I agree on the ‘practically’ part but I can’t seem to find anything definitive from official sources.

The question is not about the likelihood of being granted an ESTA after a visa refusal. It is about whether a visa refusal makes one officially ineligible.

The Ineligibility section on this VWP page ustraveldocs.com (which I understand is official, despite the dodgy name) makes no mention of visa refusals.

The State Department VWP page states only that

A recent visa refusal for any reason could result in denial of ESTA authorization, additional review at the port of entry, or denial of admission to the United States. If you are uncertain if you qualify for VWP travel, you may apply for a visa.

but does not categorically state that a visa refusal results in VWP ineligibility.

This CBP help article is more strongly worded in that it says an ESTA denial is the ‘most likely’ result given a visa refusal but still comes short of saying anything about ineligibility.

If you were previously denied a visa, or previously refused entry to the United States, or previously removed from the U.S., your ESTA application will most likely be denied.

There are claims on the Internet about having been approved for and using an ESTA successfully after a visa refusal but I won’t bother to include those for obvious reasons.

Again, the question is not about the likelihood of being granted an ESTA after a visa refusal. It is about whether a visa refusal makes one officially ineligible.

international travel – Visa Waiver Program-> Mexico -> F1 Visa

I am a New Zealander wanting to clarify some travel plans for next month regarding my F1 visa to alleviate some anxiety!

Current itinerary is:

  1. Fly NZ-US, enter on VWP ~60 days before class starts (with a return ticket) to visit friends/spend time with my partner.
  2. Refund my return ticket once I’ve arrived.
  3. Fly US-Mexico for a weekend ~25 days before class starts (such that I can re-enter on F1).
  4. Fly Mexico-US, enter on F1 visa.

My main questions are:

  • Will there be issues flying to/from Mexico? I see from many other posts
    that technically on the VWP you must not terminate your travel in Canada, Mexico or nearby Islands. Is this relevant? as I will re-enter on a F1 visa, not via the VWP.
  • I know that travel to Canada/Mexico/nearby Islands count as part of the 90 day ESTA limit, so will the days keep on accumulating once I re-enter on the F1 and eventually exceed 90? as I never technically left by this definition.
  • Will I be able to re-enter the US after only ~2days in Mexico?

Any advice would be much appreciated, thanks!

usa – Are visitors to Iran etc still ineligible for the US Visa Waiver Program?

In 2015, the US passed the “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015” that made anybody who has visited North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011 ineligible for using the US Visa Waiver Program.

On January 20, 2021, President Biden repealed the so-called “Muslim travel ban” forbidding nationals of many countries like Iran from traveling to the US:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/20/proclamation-ending-discriminatory-bans-on-entry-to-the-united-states/

Was the VWP ban also repealed? Or do VWP nationals who have been to any of those countries still need to apply for a US visa?

Is it allowed to look for a job (not work) while I’m in the US under Visa Waiver Program

Disclaimer:

  1. I know there are similar questions here already but the answers are a bit conflicting and I didn’t find quite the same question I have. Most were also quite old.
  2. I know that during current COVID-19 times getting work VISA is pretty much impossible for foreigners but let’s please focus on the case when the country opens up more.

Question:

I have been thinking about working in the US (among couple of other options) in the near future (when COVID permits hehe) but would like to also make a round trip for couple of months to see the country before. If I do decide for the US as my next work destination then can I continue using my free time during tourism as a time to also research job offers?

So, is it allowed to look for job (NOT WORK) while visiting the US under the Visa Waiver Program? What I mean is that a person has a ticket to fly back home bought and is planning to switch to work VISA before starting.

I’d imagine no-one can prohibit the person to explore the positions while searching the internet as it isn’t different from researching positions online from anywhere else? How about interviews? Online? In person?

Additional question:
If the case above is allowed then is it possible to switch from using VISA Waiver Program to work visa while being abroad? Not really seeing this case happening even if possible but would give a better picture of possibilities.

Thanks! 😊

usa – Is it permitted to look for a job while visiting the US under the Visa Waiver Program?

So there are really two questions here:

  1. What do laws and regulations say about VWP visitors looking for work during their stay in the US?
  2. Practically speaking, if I want to visit the US to look for work, should I apply for a B-1/B-2 visa instead of trying to use VWP?

To the first question, the answer is that the allowed activities on VWP are exactly the same as the allowed activities on a B-1/B-2 visa. However, one may not apply for an extension of stay, change of status, or adjustment of status while on VWP. (There are some exceptions to this rule.)

If you don’t believe me on this, here are the legal sources.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) §217(a) lists the requirements that are imposed on the visitor themselves. There are various requirements that don’t apply to B-1/B-2 visitors (e.g. must be in possession of a round-trip ticket, must not have visited Iraq or Syria, and so on). However, the sole requirement on the allowed activities while in the US is:

(1) The alien is applying for admission during the program as a nonimmigrant visitor (described in section 1101(a)(15)(B) of this title) for a period not exceeding 90 days.

The Foreign Affairs Manual, while not binding, reflects the State Department’s official position regarding the appropriate uses of various visas. Regarding VWP, it mentions here:

An alien who is a national of a participating VWP country does not require a visa, provided the alien:

(1) Is applying for admission as a nonimmigrant visitor, as described in INA 101(a)(15)(B);
(2) Seeks to enter the United States for a period not to exceed 90 days;

and:

Nature of VWP Travel:

(1) Maintenance of Status: An alien admitted to the United States under the VWP:

(a) Is admitted as a visitor for business or pleasure for a period not to exceed 90 days;
(b) May not engage in activities inconsistent with status as a visitor;
(c) Is not eligible for an extension of stay in the United States;
(d) Is not eligible for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident alien (other than as an immediate relative as defined under INA 201(b) or under the provisions of INA 245(i); and
(e) Is not eligible for change of nonimmigrant status.

The CBP Inspector’s Field Manual may be more directly relevant to this situation since most ESTA applications are not manually reviewed by someone at the State Department but the determination of admissibility will be made at the port of entry. Regarding VWP, it says:

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) permits nationals from designated countries (listed in 8 CFR 217.2(a)) to apply for admission to the United States for ninety (90) days or less as nonimmigrant visitors for business or pleasure without first obtaining a U.S. nonimmigrant visa (USNIV).

“Business or pleasure” is the same as a B-1/B-2 visa.

It also mentions:

An applicant for admission shall not be admitted under the VWP unless the alien convinces the examining immigration officer that he or she is clearly and beyond doubt entitled to be admitted and is not inadmissible under section 212 of the Act. The conditions for admission are specified in section 217 of the Act and 8 CFR 217. All VWP admissions are for 90 days unless the applicant’s passport is valid for a lesser period, in which case the period of admission would be until the expiration date of the passport for those countries on the 6-month list. In the cases of those countries not on the 6-month list, the applicants would not meet the documentary requirements in Chapter 15.7(b), Documentary Requirements, and would be inadmissible under the VWP.

This doesn’t add anything beyond the statute and regulations which already specify that VWP applicants may engage in the same activities as B-1/B-2 applicants. The “clearly and beyond doubt” standard applies to all nonimmigrant applicants for admission.

In short, if you believe that B-1/B-2 visa holders are allowed to enter the US to look for work, you should believe the same about ESTA holders.

Regarding the second question, my opinion is that you should just try to enter under VWP. It’s very unlikely that they will tell you “no, you have to apply for a B-1 visa for that” since they are supposed to know that the allowed activities are the same. If they do refuse you admission under the VWP, you are unlikely to be approved by ESTA in the future. However, that would also be the case if you were refused admission under a B-1 visa. So, to preemptively apply for a B-1/B-2 visa now would be pointless in my opinion. If you are reading this during the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to apply for a visa would needlessly inconvenience you because many consulates are not operating at full capacity anyway.

us visa waiver program – US Marriage ESTA

My fiance and I are currently seperated on different sides of the Atlantic thanks to the Covid travel restrictions and we are trying to plan for the future. We want to be married (even if we end up living apart while we apply for a US Spousal Visa so that I can join her in the states).

My question is this; Assuming the currently travel restrictions are lifted; Can I visit my fiance in America on a ESTA/VWP, get married, return to the UK, then apply for a Spousal Visa so that I can join her at a later date?

Is it legal to go to the US on a ESTA/VWP to get married if I have every intention of leaving the States at the end of my holiday?