PAAIA Celebrates Bipartisan, Bicameral Introduction of the Temporary Family Visitation Act – PAAIA

PAAIA Celebrates Bipartisan, Bicameral Introduction of the Temporary Family Visitation Act

PAAIA Press Release | May 13, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact:  
Emily Pappas
Email: 
epappas@cogent-strategies.com
Phone: 
(231) 357-6330

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization serving the interests of the Iranian American community, applauded the introduction of the Temporary Family Visitation Act (TFVA) in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate by a bipartisan team of sponsors including Reps. Scott Peters (D-CA), Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Jim Himes (D-CT) and Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) and Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). TFVA will establish a new visa category to allow the loved ones of U.S. citizens and permanent residents to temporarily visit the United States – a win for American families and our nation’s economy. 

“Today’s introduction of TFVA in both the U.S. House and Senate marks a tremendous victory for our community and all Americans with family abroad,” said PAAIA Executive Director Leila Austin. “For nearly three years, PAAIA has been a lead advocate for solutions to address our nation’s deeply flawed visa system because we recognize that establishing a new temporary visa for visits will benefit families, local economies, and U.S. travel and tourism. Thanks to the efforts of Reps. Peters, Bice, Himes and Salazar and Sens. Paul and Blumenthal, TFVA offers families hope that someday soon they may be able to share weddings, holidays and much more with those they love.”     

PAAIA is joined in its support of TFVA by Emgage, Hindu American Foundation, Republican National Hispanic Assembly, United Macedonia Diaspora, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, Greater Naples Chamber, Lodging & Hospitality Association of Volusia County, Los Angeles Business Council and the Naples Visitor’s Bureau, among others – a list that underscores the bill’s appeal to ethnic communities as well as local economies. These proponents of TFVA are among those that formed Let Families Visit, a campaign aimed to raise awareness about the legislation and encourage other organizations and individuals to take action in support of TFVA. Watch the first Let Families Visit video here.  

TFVA would establish a new B-3 nonimmigrant visa category allowing U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to petition for their family members to visit them temporarily. The family members included are spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nieces, and nephews. The application requires that the petitioner sign a letter of financial support and for the applicant to purchase travel medical insurance for the duration of stay. The requirements ensure that the applicants make specific and realistic plans for the course of their visit and dissuade visa overstays by prohibiting individuals traveling under the TFVA from changing their visa status, limiting the duration of stay to 90 days, and prohibiting the petitioner from using the TFVA if they had previously sponsored a relative who overstayed their period of authorized admission. 

Currently, there is no visa specifically designed to temporarily reunite U.S. citizens and permanent residents with their relatives. Family members are obliged to apply to visit their relatives in the U.S. through B-2 visas under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). However, B-2 visitor visas lack consideration for family reunion resulting in an unnecessarily high denial rate for it is presumed that applicants with family members in the U.S. intend to immigrate.A Congressional Research Service (CRS) report found that the presumption of immigration has resulted in a very high rate of denials and pushed some to apply for immigrant visas as the only path to visit their relatives in the U.S.

“For far too long, our community has had to settle for policies that seek only to undo harmful laws that should have never been enacted in the first place,” added Austin. “TFVA advances the interests of Iranian Americans and countless other communities while also promoting a core American value – family. PAAIA will continue to be a strong proponent and vocal advocate for TFVA, and we urge Congress to move swiftly to enact this much-needed legislation.” 

According to the U.S. Travel Association, each overseas traveler spends approximately $4,200 when they visit the U.S. and stays on average 18 nights. In 2018, international travel spending directly supported about 1.2 million U.S. jobs and $33.7 billion in wages. Based on PAAIA’s estimates of potential people who could take advantage of this new visa as well as tourism spending, TFVA could significantly boost the economy through indirect spending and create a sizeable number of U.S. jobs.

Paul and Blumenthal Bill would Create Temporary Visas for Families to Reunite – Washington Examiner

Paul and Blumenthal Bill would Create Temporary Visas for Families to Reunite

by Emily Brooks, Political Reporter  |  May 13, 2021

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Sens. Rand Paul and Richard Blumenthal, introduced a bill on Thursday that aims to make a new category of temporary visas to allow family members to visit the United States for major life events such as weddings, funerals, and births more easily.

The Temporary Family Visitation Act would create a new 90-day B-3 visa category for family members of American permanent residents and citizens. Under the current system, many family members must apply for a B-2 tourist visa to attend major life events in the country or visit their family. But the current system’s measures to prevent visa overstays include assessing those with personal ties in the U.S., having the effect of high denial rates to family members and keeping families apart.

“We’ve heard constant complaints from our members that they have such a difficult time trying to get visitor’s visas for family members to come and visit them for special occasions,” said Morad Ghorban, director of government affairs and policy at the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, which was instrumental in crafting the bill. “If you have family in the United States, it weighs against you because there is a sort of intent-to-emigrate clause within the B-2 tourist visa, and that’s why you see a lot of denial rates for B-2 visas that are connected to people that have family in the United States.”

“The Temporary Family Visitation Act is a great step forward in allowing family members of U.S. citizens/permanent residents to responsibly visit the United States for memorable occasions such as weddings, births and graduations,” Paul said. “The legislation will strengthen our economy through indirect spending and has the support of a large coalition of groups who agree that it is time to allow family members to visit the United States under responsible enforcement mechanisms to ensure that applicants do not overstay their visa.”

Under the bill, a U.S.-based family member must get an affidavit of financial support for their family member for them to receive a B-3 visa. And as a self-enforcement mechanism, applicants may not create new petitions for admission of more relatives if a previous relative overstayed a visa.

“The birth of a child, and the marriage of two people, I think, are seminal moments in the lives of people. And right now, those are not qualifying criteria for a visa,” said Daniel Garza of the Libre Initiative.

Proponents of the bill argue that it would benefit the U.S. economy.

“The expanded travel opportunities that the bill enables would benefit thousands of American businesses as more international travelers visit family in the U.S.,” Garza said. “International travel indirectly supports 1.2 million U.S. jobs and over $30 billion in wages.”

Additional measures in the program to prevent visa overstays include requiring applicants to get travel medical insurance and preventing visa recipients from changing their visa status while in the U.S.

A deeply divided Congress creates a tough road ahead for the bill, but early bipartisan support makes advocates of the legislation optimistic.

“This is a small change,” Ghorban said, “but a very practical solution. And that is why we’re getting bipartisan support, not only from members of Congress but different community groups, from progressive organizations to conservative organizations.”

The bill also has support from the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, Muslims for America, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Pars Equality Center, among other groups.

Reps. Peters, Bice, Himes, Salazar Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Ease Temporary Visits to the U.S. – Press Release

Reps. Peters, Bice, Himes, Salazar Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Ease Temporary Visits to the U.S.

Representative Scott Peters Press Release | May 13, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representatives Scott Peters (CA-52), Stephanie Bice (OK-05), Jim Himes (CT-04) and María Elvira Salazar (FL-27) introduced the Temporary Family Visitation Act (TFVA) to ease obstacles for travelers looking to temporarily enter the United States to visit family.

Under the current system, travelers who plan trips to the U.S. must apply for a B-2 visitor visa. Before a visa is approved, applicants are assessed for potential intent to overstay their visit and remain in the United States permanently. Factors considered include an applicant’s financial and personal ties to their home country, as well as any indicators they would want to move to the U.S. indefinitely, such as family connections or employment opportunities within the U.S. This makes visa approval difficult for those who wish to visit their family solely for special occasions; their applications are at a higher risk of denial because they have family ties in the United States. The process can also be costly, forcing many applicants to apply multiple times, which results in a new fee with each application.

The Temporary Family Visitation Act would establish a new B-3 nonimmigrant visa category specifically intended for relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The application would require the U.S. family member to sign a letter of financial support for the applicant. U.S. family members are prohibited from sponsoring an applicant if a previously sponsored relative overstayed their visa. The bill would also require applicants to purchase travel medical insurance for the duration of their stay. This requirement would add a small amount to the overall cost of a trip but would streamline the process, ultimately saving applicants money by reducing the need for multiple applications. The TFVA would prohibit travelers entering the country on a B-3 visa from filing a change of status application while in the U.S.

“Hundreds of constituents have asked my office to help them obtain a visitor visa for family members so they can attend meaningful events such as weddings, graduations, and childbirths,” said Rep. Peters. “The bill we introduced today will make practical changes that make it easier for families to be together for these special occasions while strengthening our tourism-driven economy in San Diego.”

“Allowing family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents to temporarily visit the United States to be reunited for a funeral, a wedding, or to meet a new grandchild, is the right thing to do. There is no current visa that allows for temporary family reunification and the Temporary Family Visitation Act fills this gap. This legislation limits visitation to 90 days and ensures that the U.S. family member is responsible for the financial and medical support of the visitor during their stay,” said Rep. Bice.

“Our immigration laws should reflect our country’s values. That’s why I support making it easier for families to reunite for weddings, graduations, family reunions, and other special occasions. This pandemic has separated millions of families across international borders for over a year. When it’s safe to travel internationally, we should make it easier for families to see each other. I’m proud to co-sponsor this bipartisan legislation,” said Rep. Himes.

“We must make it easier for relatives of U.S. citizens to visit their families. The South Florida community has family members all over the world, including many that have been separated by brutal regimes in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua and unable to see their loved ones for years,” said Rep. Salazar. “The Temporary Family Visitation Act offers a practical solution to help re-unite families, has critical safeguards to prevent visa overstays, and grows our economy through increased travel and tourism.”

The bill was also introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

“The Temporary Family Visitation Act is a great step forward in allowing family members of U.S. citizens/permanent residents to responsibly visit the United States for memorable occasions such as weddings, births and graduations,” said Dr. Paul. “The legislation will strengthen our economy through indirect spending and has the support of a large coalition of groups who agree that it is time to allow family members to visit the United States under responsible enforcement mechanisms to ensure that applicants do not overstay their visa.”

“This bill is pretty simple: we want to make it easier for close family members to see their grandchildren baptized, their children married or their nieces and nephews graduate from college. As we’ve learned over the last year, it’s possible to celebrate these kinds of special occasions from afar, but it just isn’t the same as being there in person,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “I’m glad to join such a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in introducing legislation to make it a little easier for families to mark life’s big moments together.”

Family members allowed to apply for the B-3 nonimmigrant visa category under the TFVA would include spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews.

​The bill is supported by the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) and 21 other organizations.

“Today’s introduction of the Temporary Family Visitation Act (TFVA) in both the U.S. House and Senate marks a tremendous victory for the Iranian American community and all Americans with family abroad,” said Leila Austin, Executive Director of the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA). “The current system for bringing our relatives to the U.S. for a temporary visit is deeply flawed. The new, nonimmigrant B-3 visa established by TFVA will advance the interests of Iranian Americans and countless other communities while also strengthening local economies and promoting a core American value – family. Thanks to the efforts of Reps. Peters, Bice, Salazar and Himes and Sens. Paul and Blumenthal, TFVA offers hope that someday soon, we may be able to share weddings, holidays and much more with those we love. The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) urges Congress to move swiftly to enact this much-needed legislation.”

Dr. Rand Paul and Senator Richard Blumenthal Introduce the Temporary Family Visitation Act – Press Release

Dr. Rand Paul and Senator Richard Blumenthal Introduce the Temporary Family Visitation Act

Senator Rand Paul Press Release | May 13, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the Temporary Family Visitation Act that would establish a new B-3 nonimmigrant category allowing U.S. citizens and permanent residents to petition for their family members for temporary visits. The bill was also introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA-52), María Elvira Salazar (R-FL-27), Stephanie Bice (R-OK-05), and Jim Himes (D-CT-04).


Under the current system, family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents may only apply to visit their relatives through B2 visas. The current immigration law lacks a direct path for families to temporarily reunite for family purposes such as weddings, birthdays, graduations, funerals, and holidays.


If enacted, the Temporary Family Visitation Act would establish a separate nonimmigrant classification under B visa category for family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are residents of countries not included in the Visa Waiver Program for a duration of 90 days.


Additionally, the Temporary Family Visitation Act promotes U.S. national interests by supporting the principle of family reunion while strengthening the economy and reducing unintended immigrant visa applications.


“The Temporary Family Visitation Act is a great step forward in allowing family members of U.S. citizens/permanent residents to responsibly visit the United States for memorable occasions such as weddings, births and graduations,” said Dr. Paul. “The legislation will strengthen our economy through indirect spending and has the support of a large coalition of groups who agree that it is time to allow family members to visit the United States under responsible enforcement mechanisms to ensure that applicants do not overstay their visa.”
 
“This bill is pretty simple: we want to make it easier for close family members to see their grandchildren baptized, their children married or their nieces and nephews graduate from college,” said Senator Blumenthal. “As we’ve learned over the last year, it’s possible to celebrate these kinds of special occasions from afar, but it just isn’t the same as being there in person. I’m glad to join such a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in introducing legislation to make it a little easier for families to mark life’s big moments together.”
 
The Temporary Family Visitation Act requires that:

  • Each petitioner signs an affidavit of financial support.
  • Each applicant must purchase travel medical insurance for the duration of their stay.

These requirements dissuade visa overstays by prohibiting the petitioner from using the Temporary Family Visitation Act if they had previously sponsored a relative who overstayed the 90-day period of authorized admission, it will also provide financial assurance to the U.S. Government. 

The bill was also introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA-52), María Elvira Salazar (R-FL-27), Stephanie Bice (R-OK-05), and Jim Himes (D-CT-04).

This legislation is currently endorsed by:

  • Libre Initiative
  • Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA)
  • Bienvenido
  • RHNA
  • Muslims for America
  • Sikhs for America
  • U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Emgage
  • Hindu American Foundation
  • Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA
  • Iranian American Bar Association
  • Pars Equality Center
  • SEWA International
  • United Macedonia Diaspora
  • Asian Business Association of San Diego
  • Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce
  • Lodging & Hospitality Association of Volusia County
  • LA Business Council, Naples Visitor’s Bureau
  • San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Chabad of the Bluegrass
  • Frontiers of Freedom

 
“The Hispanic Family ties are very strong: The term “Familia” means honor, and respect for the traditions and values of the family. Hispanic families often gather together to celebrate holidays, birthdays, baptisms, first communions, quinceañeras, funerals , graduations and weddings. It is our pleasure to endorse the TFVA. We commend you for your leadership on this important legislation,” said Betty Cardenas, National Chairwoman, Republican National Hispanic Assembly.
 
American families, many who are Latinos, are unable under our current visa system to reunite with family for meaningful events in the US.  The Temporary Family Visitation Act makes practical changes to support families and our economy. The Temporary Family Visitation Act allows families to unify for life events while stimulating our economy during their travels. This legislation is an important step towards updating our visa system. We applaud Sen. Paul and Sen. Richard Blumenthal for showing leadership and coming together with a practical solution to support families and local economies,” said Daniel Garza, President, Libre Initiative.
 
“We believe that this bill is important because it promotes family reunions and at the same time it doesn’t simply open the borders for a flood of immigrants that we cannot possibly absorb in an organized or productive fashion. This bill will also have a positive impact on the U.S economy at a moment where is needed the most. We applaud Senator Rand Paul for his leadership on this legislation,” said George Landrith, President, Frontiers of Freedom.
 
“Today’s introduction of the Temporary Family Visitation Act (TFVA) in both the U.S. Senate and House marks a tremendous victory for the Iranian American community and all Americans with family abroad. The current system for bringing our relatives to the U.S. for a temporary visit is deeply flawed. The new, nonimmigrant B-3 visa established by TFVA will advance the interests of Iranian Americans and countless other communities while also strengthening local economies and promoting a core American value – family. Thanks to the efforts of Sens. Paul and Blumenthal and Reps. Peters, Bice, Salazar and Himes, TFVA offers hope that someday soon, we may be able to share weddings, holidays and much more with those we love. The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) urges Congress to move swiftly to enact this much-needed legislation,” said Leila Austin, Executive Director, Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA).
 
“For our community, the TFVA would be an incredible blessing for many communities who have family overseas. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, the foremost Jewish leader of the modern era, spoke about the families coming together in joy, and the heavenly blessings that brings in our faith. This Act would help enable our community to celebrate and commemorate together,” said Rabbi Shlomo Litvin, Chabad of the Bluegrass.
 
You can read the Temporary Family Visitation Act, HERE.

Guess Who Might Come to Your Next Simcha – San Diego Jewish World

Guess Who Might Come to Your Next Simcha – San Diego Jewish World

By Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO — Assume you have an upcoming bar/bat mitzvah, wedding, or another family simcha coming up, and you would like to invite some close relatives living in another country to attend. Right now it is a costly hassle for your relatives to apply for a temporary visa to visit the United States, with the possibility that they will be rejected causing you and them embarrassment, even humiliation.

Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego) in a news release explains that under the current system international travelers who wish to visit the United State must apply for a B-2 visa, then be interviewed so U.S. consular officials can determine the applicant’s “potential intent to overstay their visit or remain in the United States permanently. Factors considered include financial and personal ties to their home country, as well as any indicators a traveler would move to the U.S. indefinitely, such as family connections or employment opportunities within the U.S.”

“This makes visa approval difficult for those who wish to visit their family solely for special occasions,” a news release from Peters continued. “Their applications are at a higher risk of denial simply because they have family ties in the United States. The process also forces many applicants to apply multiple times, resulting in a new fee with each application.”

Peters said he has had “hundreds of constituents” approach his office to obtain visitor visas for relatives to attend family events. They included constituents with relatives in Iran, Latin America, Asia, the Pacific Islands and Latin America, among others.

Accordingly, the San Diego Democratic congressman joined with U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, a Florida Republican, to mount a bipartisan effort to make such family reunions easier.

Peters’ news release said a “new B-3 nonimmigrant visa category specifically intended for relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents” would be created under a proposed Temporary Family Visitors Act (TFVA) that the two members of Congress have introduced. “The application would require the U.S. family member to sign a letter of financial support and applicants to purchase travel medical insurance for the duration of their stay. The TVFA requirements would add a small amount to the overall cost of a trip, but would streamline the process which could ultimately save applicants money by reducing the need for multiple applications. It would also prohibit travelers entering the country on a B-3 visa from filing a change of status application while in the U.S.”

Among supporters of the proposed legislation is Jerry Sanders, the former mayor of San Diego who now heads the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. He said, “The Temporary Family Visitation Act would boost our local economy and promote tourism which is critical as we work to recover from COVID-19. The contributions of our immigrant communities are integral to San Diego’s labor force and economy, and we are pleased to join the U..S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in support of this legislation.”

Another in support of the measure is Jason Paguio, President and CEO of the Asian Business Association San Diego, who said, “The Temporary Family Visitation Act would help ensure loved ones can visit and share in significant life and cultural events, and at the same time, would benefit the tourism industry the San Diego region is known for.”

Under the legislation, family members eligible for a B-3 visa would include spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews.

Congressman Rooney commented, “This legislation will create a new opportunity for individuals to safely reunite with their families for important events such as weddings, graduations, and funerals while simultaneously implementing necessary measures to ensure immigration fraud is not committed. The economic impact of this bill will be immense — especially for the tourism, leisure, and travel industries that are crucial to my district in Southwest Florida.”


Donald H. Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World.  He may be contacted via donald.harrison@sdjewishworld.com

Reps. Peters, Rooney Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Ease Temporary Visits to U.S.

Reps. Peters, Rooney Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Ease Temporary Visits to U.S.

Representative Scott Peters Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) and Rep. Francis Rooney (FL-19) introduced the bipartisan Temporary Family Visitation Act (TFVA) to ease obstacles for travelers looking to temporarily enter the United States to visit family.

Under the current system, travelers who plan trips to the U.S. must apply for a B-2 visitor visa. Before a visa is approved, applicants are interviewed to assess potential intent to overstay their visit or remain in the United States permanently. Factors considered include financial and personal ties to their home country, as well as any indicators a traveler would want to move to the U.S. indefinitely, such as family connections or employment opportunities within the U.S. This makes visa approval difficult for those who wish to visit their family solely for special occasions; their applications are at a higher risk of denial simply because they have family ties in the United States. The process also forces many applicants to apply multiple times, resulting in a new fee with each application.

“Hundreds of constituents have asked my office to help them obtain a visitor visa for family members so they can attend meaningful events such as weddings, graduations and childbirths,” said Rep. Peters. “The bill we introduced today will make practical changes that make it easier for families to be together for these special occasions while strengthening our tourism-driven economy in San Diego.”

“The Temporary Family Visitation Act that I introduced with my colleague from California, Congressman Peters, is a necessary step for families that are separated by international borders,” said Rep. Rooney. “This legislation will create a new opportunity for individuals to safely reunite with their families for important events such as weddings, graduations, and funerals while simultaneously implementing necessary measures to ensure immigration fraud is not committed. The economic impact of this bill will be immense — especially for the tourism, leisure, and travel industries that are crucial to my district in Southwest Florida.”

The Temporary Family Visitation Act would establish a new B-3 nonimmigrant visa category specifically intended for relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The application would require the U.S. family member to sign a letter of financial support and applicants to purchase travel medical insurance for the duration of their stay. The TFVA requirements would add a small amount to the overall cost of a trip, but would streamline the process which could ultimately save applicants money by reducing the need for multiple applications. It would also prohibit travelers entering the country on a B-3 visa from filing a change of status application while in the U.S.

“Every day, PAAIA responds to concerns from our community about relatives looking to visit family in the United States,” said Leila Austin, executive director of the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA). “Thanks to the efforts of Reps. Peters and Rooney, the TFVA will facilitate temporary and enforceable family reunions while strengthening our nation’s economy and boosting the U.S. tourism industry. The new visa category established by TFVA will ensure that births, weddings, graduations and holidays can be shared with loved ones who live abroad. PAAIA thanks Reps. Peters and Rooney for championing this critical legislation and we look forward to continuing to work with Congress to advance this much-needed policy.”

“The Temporary Family Visitation Act would boost our local economy and promote tourism which is critical as we work to recover from COVID-19,” said Jerry Sanders, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO. “The contributions of our immigrant communities are integral to San Diego’s labor force and economy, and we are pleased to join the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in support of this legislation.”

“San Diego is made stronger by our Asian and Pacific Islander population, which includes many Filipino and Chinese Americans with family living overseas. In 2019, 18 percent of Chinese applicants, almost 25 percent of Filipino applicants, and over 25 percent of applicants from Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Samoa and Fiji, were refused,” said Jason Paguio, President and CEO of the Asian Business Association San Diego, in a statement of support. The ability for family to be together is a common value that is desired and practiced in many Asian and Pacific Islander cultures. “The Temporary Family Visitation Act would help ensure loved ones can visit and share in significant life and cultural events, and at the same time, would benefit the tourism industry the San Diego region is known for.” 

The family members included in the B-3 nonimmigrant visa category are spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews.

​The bill is supported by the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Hindu American Foundation, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Asian Business Association San Diego.

PAAIA Applauds Introduction of the Temporary Family Visitation Act

PAAIA Applauds Introduction of the Temporary Family Visitation Act

TFVA will encourage family reunions through temporary and enforceable visits.

Washington, DC – Today, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization serving the interests of the Iranian American community, welcomed the introduction of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Scott Peters (D-CA) and Francis Rooney (R-FL) that establishes a new visa category to allow family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents to temporarily visit. The new B-3 nonimmigrant visa category created by the Temporary Family Visitation Act (TFVA) will provide an opportunity for family visitations while boosting the U.S. economy. 

“Today’s introduction of TFVA marks a two-year effort by PAAIA to bring forth legislation to address policies that for decades have hindered the ability of U.S. families to stay connected to loved ones abroad,” said PAAIA Executive Director Leila Austin. “Every day PAAIA responds to countless concerns and requests for information about family visitations. Thanks to the efforts of Reps. Peters and Rooney, TFVA offers hope that someday soon, the relatives of Iranian Americans may be able to visit the United States for births, weddings, graduations, holidays, and more.”     

TFVA would establish a new B-3 nonimmigrant visa category allowing U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to petition for their family members to visit them temporarily. The family members included are spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nieces, and nephews. The application requires that the petitioner sign a letter of financial support and purchase travel medical insurance for the duration of stay. The requirements ensure that the applicants make specific and realistic plans for the course of their visit, provide financial assurances to the U.S. government, and dissuade visa overstays by incentivizing and engaging the petitioner in the process of the application and prohibiting change of status while in the U.S.

Currently, there is no visa specifically designed to temporarily reunite U.S. citizens and permanent residents with their relatives. Family members are obliged to apply to visit their relatives in the U.S. through B-2 visas under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). However, B-2 visitor visas lack consideration for family reunion resulting in an unnecessarily high denial rate for it is presumed that applicants with family members in the U.S. intend to immigrate. A Congressional Research Service (CRS) report found that the presumption of immigration has resulted in a very high rate of denials and pushed some to apply for immigrant visas as the only path to visit their relatives in the U.S.

“All U.S. communities will benefit greatly from this new visa category,” added Austin. “Not only will TFVA facilitate reunions with relatives that are both temporary and enforceable, but it will boost our nation’s tourism industry and strength local economies – a win for families and a win for our country.”

TFVA is supported by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Emgage, United Macedonia Diaspora, Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, Greater Naples Chamber, Lodging & Hospitality Association of Volusia County, Los Angeles Business Council, and the Naples Visitor’s Bureau. According to the U.S. Travel Association, each overseas traveler spends approximately $4,200 when they visit the U.S. and stays on average 18 nights. In 2018, international travel spending directly supported about 1.2 million U.S. jobs and $33.7 billion in wages. Based on our estimates of potential people who could take advantage of this new visa as well as tourism spending, TFVA could significantly boost the economy through indirect spending and create a sizeable number of U.S. jobs.