From listening to some members of the Administration, nonimmigrant visas for visitors, students, professors, businessmen, and tech workers are being handed out like candy abroad. But, those of us who have actually practiced immigration law for a living at one time or another know the hard truth: getting a U.S. nonimmigrant visa for a client can be a long, detailed, and often frustrating process.
I left private practice 22 years ago. But, even then, getting a business visa for a client in India, Pakistan, or the Philippines, to name just a few consulates, could be a major project. I can remember being on our basement dial phone at 3:00 AM with my files and papers spread across an ironing board as I tried to negotiate what “additional evidence” might be necessary for my business client to establish his or her bona fides, during the one-hour period that many consulates halfway around the world allocated to speak with attorneys about visa cases. And this was after the INS had approved a visa petition. I’m sure it has only gotten more difficult and exacting since then.
Here is a good step-by-step guide to the visa issuing process by Ron Nixon and Jasmine C. Lee in the NY Times. And, this is just for a “typical” visa. In countries where terrorism is a threat, this would only be the beginning of the inquiry.