PAAIA Applauds Introduction of the Temporary Family Visitation Act – PAAIA

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.