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Myths and truths about immigration to the United States

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“I intend to go to the United States on a student visa: will I be allowed to work?”

“May I live in the USA for up to 6 months on a tourist visa?”

It is common that questions like these arise when someone is planning to move to the United States. In that stage, people usually seek information online or with friends and acquaintances, and these are not always the most accurate and trustful information sources, since “no two cases are alike” within the immigration process. 

On that note, the immigration team of Drummond Advisors gathered a few MYTHS AND TRUTHS for a special series on the matter.

Check out herein:

To enter the USA, my visa has to be valid for at least 6 months after the entry date.

MYTH!

The visa must be valid when you enter the USA. The CBP official (the counter we go through at the airport that is the authority responsible for authorizing or not the admission of people in the USA) will assess if the purpose of your entry corresponds to that is allowed by your valid visa and will ask for how long you will be in the country (they might ask to check your return airplane ticket and hotel reservation). Tourists are allowed a stay in the US of up to 6 months at a time, which may extend beyond the expiration of the visa stamp. However, it is important to note that a CBP officer can always authorize a stay of less than 6 months in their discretion. A reduced period of stay may be connected to the date of expiration of one’s visa stamp or passport, or a period deemed sufficient to complete the intended purpose of travel.

This is because the visa is a document required for admission into the USA, but the authorization of how long you can stay in the country is given by the CBP officer by stamping your passport with a date or entry of such date in the system I-94.

Let`s have an example: your tourist visa expires on August 1st, 2022, and your intention is to enter the USA on July 20, 2022, to stay for 15 days in Orlando visiting the Disney’s theme parks. Your return airplane ticket is booked for August 3, 2022 (therefore, 2 days after your visa expires), hotel reservation and everything else needed. The CBP Officer may authorize you to stay until August 3, by stamping your passport with such date, so that you will be authorized to stay until the date on the stamp.

Keep in mind that the CBP Officer may ALWAYS deny your entry, even with a valid visa, if there are evidence that the purpose of your visit does not comply with what your visa authorizes you to do.

With my tourist visa I may live in the USA for up to 6 months and my kids may study in a public school.

MYTH!

Not at all! Each visa is granted for a specific purpose and the tourist visa (B2) is granted for people who wish to enter in the USA for short-term tourism purposes, to know the country, visit friends and family who live there. The B2 visa has a maximum validity of 10 years and maximum authorized stay period of 180 days, HOWEVER who will in fact determine how long you may stay in the USA is the CBP Officer when you ask for admission and according to what you intend to do in the USA. LIVING in the USA is definitely not authorized for this visa category. If you must not live there, then your kids must not study in the USA with a B2 status!

Note that no public school in the USA is allowed to deny studies for a child, so you will probably be able to enroll your kids, but that does not mean that you are allowed to from the immigration point of view.

So, if you intend to live in the USA and enroll your kids in an American school, you should apply for a visa that allows you to so! If you need support, our visa team may assist you.

If I am living in the USA on a student visa, I’m allowed to work.

TRUTH!

HOWEVER, it is not that simple. The student visa MAY authorize you to work, but it will depend on the type of course and the authorization from both the Education Institution and Immigration. So, have a student visa doesn’t mean you are allowed to immediately accept a job offer, especially as a freelancer!

Some academic courses, not included English Language Courses, authorizes work under very specific conditions and often require you to obtain the Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is an employment authorization granted by the USCIS (the American immigration office). In any case, work activities must be expressly authorized by the Education Institution.

Also remember that if you have a business formed in the USA, but have no registered employees, it will be assumed that who is performing the work activities and generating the revenue is you! So, be careful, ok?

If I am approved by the Global Entry, I will not have to worry about renewing my visa to the USA ever again!

MYTH!

Global Entry is a program to expedite the admission of foreigners into the USA and it is useful for frequent travelers to the USA and do not want to waste time on lines to seek admission in the country entry. Through the Global Entry, the traveler will be electronically admitted into USA through kiosks located in the admission area, but they MUST have a valid visa that corresponds to the purpose of the trip. So, when you enter the USA, you must ALWAYS have a VALID and APPROPRIATE visa for your entry. In addition, CBP officers may request a second inspection to verify documents and deny admission, even to Global Entry approved travelers, if they understand that there is any evidence either of irregularity or intention.

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