Yes. Currently, family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents apply to visit their relatives through B-2 visas, a category designated for aliens visiting for pleasure. U.S. policy regarding B-2 visitor visas lacks consideration for family reunions, resulting in an unnecessarily high denial rate of family members because of the presumption that applicants with family members in the U.S. intend to immigrate to the U.S.
A CRS report found that the most common reason for nonimmigrant visa application denials is the presumption of immigration [section 214(b) of the INA], a large portion of which come from family members who aim to visit their relatives in the U.S. This lack of consideration for temporary family reunions under the immigration policy has caused separation of relatives for far too long and pushes many to apply for immigrant visas as the only path to visit their relatives in the U.S.
TFVA will cover the family members of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who are residents of countries not included in the Visa Waiver Program. Family members include the spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nieces, and nephews of a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
No. TFVA has a pragmatic approach stemming from the current practices and procedure. Currently, anyone who wishes to enter the U.S. on a visitor visa, including B-2 used by family members, must provide evidence of adequate financial backing to support their trip. Consular officers want to make sure that visitors to the U.S. have sufficient funds to cover their trip without becoming a burden on the US economy or government while visiting. This concern stems directly from Section 214 (b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(b)) which states that every visitor visa applicant shall be presumed to be an immigrant until she establishes otherwise to the satisfaction of the consular officer that she is entitled to a visa. This requirement has resulted in a very high-level of visa denials for family members.
Nevertheless, this presumption remains the same under TFVA, however, TFVA provides an alternative that further alleviates Consular Officers’ concerns over family members’ intent to immigrate or overstay. As a result, TFVA will make it easier for family members to be temporarily reunited while providing tangible assurances to the U.S. government over its concerns.
The cost associated with TFVA comes at a fraction of the overall cost of the trip and should not impede family members from visiting the U.S. while making it easier to temporarily reunite with relatives. Furthermore, as numerous applicants are currently forced to re-apply many times for a B-2 visa, with many to no avail, the overall application cost could be substantially reduced under TFVA compared to the current available B-2 visa.
No. The period of authorized admission under TFVA is limited to a maximum of 90 days. Individuals traveling under TFVA are further prohibited from changing their visa status while in the U.S. Furthermore, the requirements under TFVA ensure that the applicants make specific and realistic plans for the course of their visit and discourage the overstaying of visas by shifting the enforcement to petitioners, the U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
The TFVA application requires that a petitioner in the U.S. sign an affidavit of financial support. The individual who signs the affidavit of support becomes the official sponsor of the applicant once the intending family member enters the U.S. An affidavit of support is a legally enforceable contract and the sponsor’s responsibility will last until the individual traveling under TFVA leaves the country.
The TFVA would prohibit a person from petitioning for a relative’s admission if they had previously sponsored a family member who had overstayed their period of authorized entrance under this visa. The legislation requires for the petitioner to certify that a relative did not overstay their period of authorized admission if they have previously used the visa to sponsor a family member or seek a waiver by providing an explanation of why the overstay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the relative. Certification is subject to criminal penalties.
Traveler’s medical insurance is a temporary medical plan that protects individuals in the event of illness or injury when traveling outside of their country of residence. Travel medical plans are focused on emergency medical and evacuation coverage. Most travel medical insurance typically covers unexpected medical and dental costs, emergency medical transportation, emergency medical evacuation services, emergency travel assistance services, accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, and travel accident benefits.
Since traveler’s medical insurance plans typically focus only on emergency medical and evacuation coverage, it’s generally inexpensive. A typical single-trip travel medical plan can range from $40-$80 total for a relatively short overseas trip of around two weeks. In general, the premium amount for a travel medical plan is based on the length of the trip, the age of the traveler, and the medical and evacuation coverage limits selected.
For example, the recommended plan from a popular traveler’s medical insurance company would cost a 45-year-old male from China who is looking to spend 93 days in the U.S. roughly $380 for the duration of his stay, which is around $4 per day. This specific plan gives him healthcare coverage of up to $500,000.
There are many other countries that require travel medical insurance in their non-immigrant visa process. The most notable ones are Canada and the countries in the “Schengen Area” (26 European countries). The Schengen Visa permits third-country nationals’ entry into the Schengen Area for the purpose of traveling or visiting Europe for pleasure. In order to receive a Schengen Visa, the applicant must have health insurance that covers medical emergencies with a minimum of €30,000for the entire duration of their stay.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, each overseas traveler spends approximately $5,000 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. In 2016, all travel spending by visitors to the U.S. amounted to $245 billion in 2016, resulting in a travel trade surplus of $84 billion.
With the inclusion of this policy in the INA, based on numbers from the CRS reports cited above, this would potentially impact over 500,000 to over 1 million future applicants per year, as well as provide a significant boost in the economy through indirect spending of billions of dollars and the creation of tens of thousands of jobs.
The Temporary Family Visitation Act has been endorsed by the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, SEWA International, the United Macedonian Diaspora, the San Diego Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Pars Equality Center, the Lodging & Hospitality Association of Volusia County, the Iranian American Bar Association, the LA Business Council, the Hindu American Foundation, the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA, the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, Emgage, the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Asian Business Association of San Diego, Bienvenido, The Libre Initiative, Sikhs of America, the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, Muslims of America, Frontiers of Freedom, the Arab American Institute, the National Immigration Forum, the Niskanen Center, and the Iranian American Democrats of California.