NON-IMMIGRANT:According to the US immigration and Nationality Act, "an alien (other than one coming for the purpose of study or of performing skilled or unskilled labor or as a representative of foreign press, radio, film, or other information media coming to engage is such vocation) having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning and who is visiting the United States for business or temporarily for pleasure can be admitted into the United States in B status.
B-1 / B-2 VISITORS VISA / VISA WAIVER PROGRAM
Aliens who wish to enter the United States temporarily for certain business activities, and who are otherwise eligible to receive visas, may obtain B-1 visitor visas. Generally speaking, B-1 business activities are those that do not involve the performance of labor in the United States. Examples of proper uses of the B-1 visa, taken from the U.S. State Department Foreign Affairs Manual (9 FAM 41.31), include the following:
Aliens who wish to enter the United States temporarily for pleasure, and who are otherwise eligible to receive visas, may obtain B-2 visitor visas. Examples of proper uses of the B-2 visa, taken from the U.S. State Department Foreign Affairs Manual (9 FAM 41.31), include the following:
1. Tourism or Family Visits
2 Medical Reasons
3. Participation in Social Events
4. Incidental Course of Study
According to the Foreign Affairs Manual, "Aliens coming to the United States primarily for tourism who also incidentally will engage in a short course of study during their visit" may be granted a B-2 visa. The notation, "STUDY INCIDENTAL TO VISIT; I-20 NOT REQUIRED" will be noted below the B-2 visa stamp.
5. Prospective Student
In some cases an F-1 student applicant who has neither been issued a Form I-20A- B nor made a final selection of a school may desire to enter for the primary purpose of selecting a school. If this is the case the student may be issued a B-2 visa and a notation "PROSPECTIVE STUDENT, SCHOOL NOT SELECTED" will be noted below the B-2 visa stamp. If an alien enters the United States in such status, then once the school is selected he or she may apply for a change of status to F from the INS.
If, on the other hand, the alien enters using visa waiver, then he or she will have to return back to Japan for a student visa since aliens in the US on the visa waiver program may not change or extend their status.
6. Amateur Entertainer and Athletes
According to the Foreign Affairs Manual, "an amateur (or group of amateurs) who will not be paid for performances and will perform in a social and/or charitable context or as a competitor in a talent show, contest or athletic event is eligible for B-2 classification, even if the incidental expenses associated with the visit are reimbursed."
7. A Vocational or Recreational School
Citizens from Japan are generally entitled to enter the United States for up to 90 days as temporary visitors for business or pleasure without a nonimmigrant visa. The Visa Waiver Pilot Program began on October 1, 1988 and currently ends on April 30, 2000. Congress will likely extend this program prior to its current expiration date. Since most visits to the United States for B-1/2 activities normally will last fewer than 90 days, Japanese nationals with clean immigration histories are encouraged to use the Visa Waiver Program.
Upon arrival by air or sea in the United States, a Visa Waiver alien must present to the INS Officer a valid passport and a round trip ticket. If admitted for pleasure under this program the INS will write WT in your passport. If admitted for business under this program the INS will write WB in your passport.
Aliens admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program may be readmitted to the United States after a departure to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island (such as the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Saint Martin) for the balance of his or her original 90 day period of admission.
Aliens admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program are not entitled to extend their time in the United States (unless there is a severe medical emergency not exceeding 30 days), and are not entitled to change their status to another nonimmgrant status, such as F student, H professional worker, or L multinational manager/executive.
WARNING: Do not abuse the visa waiver program. Each time you enter the United States the INS could refuse your admission into the US on grounds that you have immigrant intent. Frequent trips of short duration are allowed. On the other hand, you could experience problems if you have been in the US for long periods back to back. If you have concerns that you may be denied admission with the visa waiver program due to extensive travel to the United States, you should discuss this matter with the U.S. Embassy. If you are denied admission into the United States under the visa waiver program you will be sent home on the next plane back to Japan. If the next plane is the next morning you could be detained at an INS detention center overnight.