A non-immigrant visa allows a foreign national to reside in the United States on a short-term basis. Non-immigrant visas are relatively easier to apply for than immigrant visas. However, there are many restrictions associated with non-immigrant visas. For example, non-immigrant visa holders are not eligible to work in the U.S. without a work permit. One of the challenges involved in applying for a non-immigrant visa to the U.S. is that foreign nationals always have the burden of proof, the responsibility to prove, that they have no intention whatsoever to reside in the U.S. beyond the time allowed by their visa.
The Non-Immigrant Visa Application Process
Contact your sick relative in the United States and have him/her write a formal letter addressed to the U.S. Embassy in your home country inviting you to the U.S. to look after them for medical reasons.
Complete and submit Form DS-156, Nonimmigrant Visa Application, together with other supporting materials, such as the letter of invitation from your sick relative and proof of ties to your home country as evidence that you plan on returning upon finishing your stay in the U.S., to the U.S. Embassy in your country. You will find an electronic copy of Form DS-156 in the resources section.
Once the U.S. Embassy in your country receives your application packet, you will be receive directions on how to schedule a non-immigrant visa interview.
Attend and pass a non-immigrant visa interview at the U.S. Embassy in your home country. Upon successfully passing your non-immigrant visa, you will be issued a non-immigrant visa allowing you to arrive in the U.S. as a visitor.
- Be sure to obey the terms and conditions of your non-immigrant visa, as violating U.S. immigration law may hurt your chances of applying for a visa or immigrating to the U.S. in the future.
- When your sick relative in the U.S. writes the letter inviting you to the U.S. to take care of them, it is strongly advised that they attach medical records from his/her physician in the U.S. certifying that they are indeed sick.
- If possible, have your sick relative ask his/her physician to certify on a separate note/letter that your sick relative needs assistance from someone other than themselves. Also, be sure that your sick relative indicates in the letter why he or she cannot get help from some other person in the U.S. This is very important as Immigration Officers have to be sure that this is not a ploy to have you illegally immigrate to the U.S.