compiled from several sources
Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner James W. Ziglar announced a significant proposal for change in the tourist visa regulations. In testimony given March 19, 2002 before the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims, the Commissioner stated that the INS is considering regulatory changes that would result in most holders of tourist visas being allowed entry for a period of 30 days. This is a dramatic reduction from the previously generous provisions, whereby the INS routinely granted tourists the right to remain legally in the U.S. for up to 6 months.
Mr. Ziglar also announced significant changes with respect to persons requesting a change of status from B-2 (tourist or visitor for pleasure) to F-1 or M-1 (student). These issues were confirmed in a meeting on March 20, 2002 between senior officials of INS and the Washington D.C.
Currently, most individuals entering on B-2 visas are allowed to remain in the U.S. for six months. The INS inspector at the Port of Entry determines the length of the authorized stay. Unless there are reasons to limit the stay, such as recent, multiple prior visits, permission to remain in the U.S. for six months has been given fairly routinely. The proposal would limit this "routine" period to one month.
Minimum Six-Month Visitor For Pleasure Period Eliminated
Changes to Requirements for Extensions of Stay
Individuals planning to attend school in the U.S. are expected to enter on student visas, not as visitors or tourists. However, there are times when prospective students need to enter the U.S. as tourists to interview for admission or simply visit prospective schools. The proposed rule will allow only persons who state their intention to become students at the time of their admission in the B category to change from B to F. Their I-94 admission documents will be noted "prospective student." This rule will not affect current cases where applications for change of status are pending; it will only affect individuals who enter the U.S. after the rule becomes effective.
If you wish to voice your concerns about the shortened timeframe for tourists to enter the U.S., the interim rule will contain a name and address for sending your written comments. Also you maycontact your elected representatives. They could influence the administration to consider the importance of the ability for everyone living in the U.S. to spend time with loved ones, maintaining family bonds, as well as facilitating continued tourism and educational opportunities. Websites like www.petitiononline.com are currently taking signatures on this issue
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