This is a warning signal to you out there who have relatives thinking of visiting you for longer than three months or snow birds from northern Europe who live in Florida during the winter season. To be added to this list are people who would like to spend a longer period of time with their boy or girl friend and business people who for a long time have been visiting the United States on a regular basis but have been told that they have spent too much time here and should get an appropriate visa.
There is a certain charm with honest, blue-eyed people - and I do not refer to the color of their eyes for purely aesthetic reasons - but NOT when they visit the consular section in an American Embassy to "explain" why they need a B visa to be able to stay in the U.S., for a longer period of time. Worst case scenario is when the young girl is longing for her boyfriend and wants to spend more time with him. 'Dead on arrival'.
To be able to qualify for a B-1 or B-2 visa the applicant must be able to show among other things that he or she intends to return to his or her home country at the conclusion of the visit. This is usually done by submitting documentation evidencing domestic assets such as bank accounts, real estate holdings, tax returns and letters of employment. You should also bring letters from friends and family in the U.S., explaining the purpose of your trip. The problem is that even with this documentation your application can be denied. It is up to the consular section do decide if your documentation is good enough, that you are not plotting to immigrate to the United States, and there is virtually nothing you can do to change their minds if they decide to deny your application. And this is exactly what is happening to people at an alarming rate all over the world.
To just walk in to an Embassy trying to explain your need for a longer stay, whether you have family here, own or rent a house here or whatever the reason might be, has turned out to be a dangerous game since, as I mentioned earlier, the consular sections have increased their denials of these B applications. Guess what happens if you are denied a B visa? You loose your right to visit the U.S. under the visa-waiver program! You will be told that in the future you must apply for a visa every time you plan to visit the United States, and what kind of visa would that likely have to be? - yes "B" the very classification that you were just denied.

To avoid this satanic type of "catch 22" which in reality will make it close to impossible for you to visit the United States in the future, try to visit for shorter periods of time and not too often. Use your visa-waiver status when visiting and never, ever, visit the embassy on your own to discuss your travel plans. Everything you say WILL be taken down and may in a very real sense be used against you. If you really need to stay in the U.S. for a longer period of time, contact an immigration lawyer BEFORE you visit the embassy. However, even with the assistance of a lawyer there are no guarantees that your application will be approved, so my advice is: do not apply, stick to your visa -waiver and hope for a change in the consular attitude towards B - applicants.

Attorney Jan G. Johansson

Jan Gunnar Johansson is a practicing attorney in New York City. Mr. Johansson is admitted in New York State and in Connecticut, both state and federal. Practicing in immigration, corporate, real estate, family law and international law, Mr. Johansson has legal education and degrees from Sweden (Uppsala University) USA, (New York University) and London (Kings College - University of London). He can be contacted with questions or comments at jjlaw@msn.com Web: www.immigrationjjlaw.com