American Visas need more agility. In search of process normalization, consulates have hired more staff and created Saturday service hours, but the queues are expected to start reducing only in the next semester.

During IPW 2023, a tourism event held in the city of San Antonio, Texas, the CEO of Brand USA, Chris Thompson, stated that the waiting time for issuing tourist visas to the United States has been “unacceptable” lately. Authorities hope to normalize the process and establish a minimum period of 30 days for travelers to obtain a visa. The Department of State and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection say they are 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 lot of patience due to the prolonged waiting time. The current slowness 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 is 442 days (or fifteen months), Brasília is 438 days, and Recife has a waiting time of 400 days (13 months).

In the pursuit of process normalization, consulates have hired more staff and created Saturday service hours, but the queues are still significant and are expected to begin reducing only 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 demand for American visas.

The tourist visa (B1/B2) is intended for people who want to go to the United States for tourism, visiting relatives, or business. According to lawyer Ingrid Domingues McConville, with over 28 years of immigration experience, individuals 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).

The most recent case involved a Brazilian student who was asked to leave the United States after 3 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, and this was considered work by U.S. Immigration. In other words, engaging in any remunerative activity (even in digital environments) can be considered a violation of immigration rules for individuals applying for tourist or student visas.

The best way to avoid risks when intending to visit, do business, or even live in the United States is to be informed. An immigration lawyer specializing in American immigration, in addition to guiding the choice of the best visa for each case (more than 180 visas), is familiar with the laws and complex rules that involve the universe of a 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, addressing both business and family immigration matters. She has helped companies and individuals obtain visas and permanent residency in the United States. Ingrid plays a significant role in the Brazilian community in South Florida and throughout the United States, providing much-needed guidance and legal advice.