American visas need more agility. In pursuit of streamlining the process, consulates have hired more employees and implemented Saturday service hours, but the queues are still expected to only start reducing in the next semester.

During IPW 2023, a tourism event held in San Antonio, Texas, the CEO of Brand USA, Chris Thompson, stated that the waiting time for tourist visa issuance to the United States has been “unacceptable” lately. What authorities hope for is to normalize the process and establish a minimum deadline of 30 days for travelers to obtain a visa. The Department of State and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency claim to be working to normalize the process at consulates worldwide within six months.

The dream of many Brazilians to travel to the United States has become more challenging and now requires a great deal of patience due to this prolonged waiting period. The current slowdown is linked to the high demand accumulated during the pandemic. Currently, the countries with the longest waiting times for visa issuance are Mexico (647 days), Brazil (527 days), and India (406 days). In São Paulo, the waiting period is 556 days, equivalent to eighteen months. In Rio de Janeiro, it’s 442 days (or fifteen months), Brasília has 438 days, and Recife has a waiting time of 400 days (13 months).

In the pursuit of streamlining the process, consulates have hired more staff and introduced Saturday service hours, but the queues still remain significant and are expected to only begin to reduce in the next semester. According to projections from U.S. authorities, the number of Brazilian tourists in the country is expected to increase by 19% this year. Brazil ranks second among the countries with the highest number of applications for American visas.

The tourist visa (B1/B2) is intended for individuals who want to go to the United States for sightseeing, tourism, visiting relatives, or conducting business. According to immigration lawyer Ingrid Domingues McConville, with over 28 years of experience in immigration, those entering the United States with these B1 and B2 visas cannot, under any circumstances, work. The visa is a privilege granted by the U.S. government, and once the rules are violated, the punishment is deportation. The same applies to the student visa (F1).

A recent case involved a Brazilian student who was asked to leave the United States after three months in the country. According to the student’s lawyer, the reason was that she violated the work rule. The student sold adult content on an online platform, which was considered work by U.S. immigration services. In other words, engaging in any paid activity (even in digital environments) may be considered a violation of immigration rules for individuals applying for tourist or student visas.

The best way to avoid risks when planning to visit, do business, or even live in the United States is to stay informed. An immigration lawyer specializing in U.S. immigration, in addition to guiding the choice of the best visa for each case (out of over 180 visas), knows the laws and complex rules involved in the process, such as documentation, forms, fees, etc.

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  • Ingrid Domingues-McConville founded DM VISA LAW – Domingues McConville, P.A. in 1995. She has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1995 and a member of the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida. Ingrid earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, and her law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio. With 28 years of experience in Immigration Law, Ingrid has represented clients throughout the United States and worldwide, handling both business and family immigration matters. She has assisted companies and individuals in obtaining visas and permanent residency in the United States. Ingrid plays a significant leadership role in the Brazilian community in South Florida and across the United States, providing much-needed legal guidance and advice.