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(#72-01/16/98)

Can I enter the US every 3 months as a visa waiver?


US Immigration US Immigration Question:w

I have a question concerning the visa waiver program. Can I enter the US without visas if my stay is less than 3 months? Please tell about the basic requirements.


Answer:

The Visa Waiver Program eliminates the need to obtain a business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2) visa for certain visitors who seek to enter the US for no more than 90 days, except that, in emergency situations, the INS may permit another 30 day extension. Approximately 20 countries, which includes Japan, have the program with the United States.

The basic requirements are the following:

  1. that you have a passport of one of the qualifying countries,
  2. that you have a return-trip ticket to any foreign port or place, except that the trip may not terminate in Canada or Mexico unless you are a resident of that country,
  3. that the US Immigration officer decides that you do not have an intent to immigrate to this country, and
  4. that you have not violated the US Immigration laws in the past.

Aliens admitted under the program are allowed to visit Mexico, Canada, and a list of "adjacent islands" and will be readmitted to he US as long as his or her original 90 day period has not expired. The list of adjacent islands include, but is not limited to thefollowing: Antigua, Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Saint-Barthelemy, Saint Maarten, and Saint Martin. You will not receive an additional 90-day period and must intend to depart under the original terms of admission.

Like all nonimmigrant visas, the key to being admitted under the program is that you must prove nonimmigrant intent. If the US Immigration officer suspects that you have the intent to immigrate you will be questioned about your family, community, and economic ties to Japan. The length of time that you have spent in the United States during the last few years is also a key element in the US Immigration officer's decision on whether or not to admit you under the program.

Many people from around the world have 2nd homes and vacation homes in the United States. This by itself does not disqualify someone from being admitted under the program, especially if you are still employed by a company back in Japan. If you have a vacation home, however, you should consider applying for a B-2 visitor visa. Upon a reasonable showing of why the visa waiver program is inappropriate, the Embassy will issue Japanese nationals a B-2 visitor visa within one week.

If the US Immigration officer determines that you are not admissible under the program, the airline that transported you to the United States will transport you back to Japan on the first available flight.

 

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