What Your Visa Lawyer Needs To Know Before You Apply For Entry

If you're planning to apply for a visitor visa to the United States, you need to be very careful about your application, especially in light of the travel bans and border-denial controversies now occurring in the country. Obtaining a visitor visa doesn't have to be difficult, but it's certainly involved. An immigration lawyer can help you through the process, ensuring you put together the best possible application in your situation, but there are pieces of information that you have to give the lawyer to avoid pitfalls later on.

What Is Your Entire Itinerary?

Where are you going, and what are you doing there? Tell the lawyer everything because the better you can account for all of your activities in the United States, the better the chances that you'll be able to adequately show that you're really just going to be whatever the visa you're applying for says you'll be. If you're applying for a tourist visa, for example, you need to be able to show that you're doing only tourist activities.

A recent case in point is that of an Italian rock band on their way to Texas to perform for free at the SXSW festival. Normally, tourists from Italy don't need visas, but anyone intending to earn money does. Since the band was performing for free, they figured they did not need special visas. However, Customs and Border Patrol agents found out that in addition to SXSW, the band was playing a couple of other shows in locations that charged entry fees. Even though the band itself wasn't receiving money, CBP officers decided the entry fee counted, and that the band was coming into the U.S. without proper documentation. The band members were detained and deported.

If you're in a country that needs a visa for even minor tourist activities, then, your job is even more crucial -- give the lawyer your entire itinerary and let him or her know exactly what's going to happen, to the best of your ability.

Has Anyone in Your Family Been Detained or Denied Entry Before?

If anyone in your family has been denied entry to the United States, the lawyer needs to know who they are and why they were denied. For example, someone who was denied because they tried to (truly) enter using the wrong visa could mean that your name might be flagged as a risk as well. If someone was deported due to a crime he or she committed, your name could trigger extra requirements or even a denial of your visa. If the lawyer knows about prior family history ahead of time, he or she can work to counter potential negative effects.

What Ties Do You Have to Your Country of Residence?

This is an issue that sees plenty of visas denied outright. If you don't have strong ties to your country that indicate that you want to return after your visit to the United States, you could be seen as an "immigrant intent" risk -- someone who plans to enter on a temporary visa and then disappear into society and not return home. Tell the lawyer about your job, your family ties, your home if you own one, and anything else that could show you have stronger reasons to return home after your trip than to try to stay illegally in the U.S.

It is possible to get a visitor visa; you just have to be really careful. Let a good immigration lawyer like Law Office of Daniel Smith help you through the process.