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  #1  
Old 24 Sep 2008
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Uk to USA Visas

Hey People,

It has been a fair while since I posted, been spending my summer in far less hospitable climes, but I am back again now to pick your collective mind.

I am flying from the UK to Boston Mass. around Christmas time this year. I am going with a friend, on a pair of Cub C90's. Go from Boston and make a wavy line down towards Mexico, and then carry on right down Central and South America.

It was our original plan just to use the Visa Waiver Programme for the States portion of the trip, which lets Brit citizens stay for up to 3 Months, but I wanted to know what happens if we end up staying for longer that this?

The USA is a big place and full of cool stuff, and the Cub is a small bike, the possibility of over staying seems quite high. Is there any way of extending while we are on the road?

Thanks

Joel
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  #2  
Old 24 Sep 2008
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Hi Joel - they are not going to bother you while you are there (they can't track you, yet...), but you might find on exiting the US they get a bit sniffy and infact I think they are at liberty to fine you (you'd need to check the US immigration dept. to see how much this is, could be a lot...)

More importantly perhaps, they are likely to blackmark you for any future visits - certainly you'd not be allowed in under the waiver programme again (although I understand that might be coming to an end soon anyway?) and it might go against you if you ever applied for a full visa...

Talking of which, have you not considered getting a 10 year visitor visa? It costs around £75, but you can come and go as you please for up to six months at a time automatically, and this can be extended once you are there.

If you visit the US embassy website here in the UK all details are there - you need to make an appointment (typically 4-5 weeks in advance) and as long as there are no problems with your application, you should get your visa/passport returned within a further 10 days...

This is what I have done.

xxx
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  #3  
Old 2 Oct 2008
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Thanks Jmo/Piglet, that is sort of what I figured, all the time I was there, I would be safe from Big Brother. It was the exit that I thought would cause problems. Which you have confirmed! As I may want to return to the US at some point in the future, it may be best to go through with a proper Visa application. Bloody beauracracy.

Then again, I suppose it isn't too much effort/cash to make myself as legal as possible.

I looked at the Website, is it a 'C-1 Non-immigrant Visa that I need? I can't find anywhere on the site where it says how long that it is viable for.

Thanks again, much appreciated.

Joel
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  #4  
Old 2 Oct 2008
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Hi Joel

I've recently done what you want to do - the paperwork is a little bit of a pain in the arse and the waiting time at the embassy is several hours but I came away with a 10 year B1/B2 visa. When I asked them how long I could stay they said "just don't take the piss and you'll be OK". (This may not be the definitive answer).
Just make sure you've filled in all the forms (from the website) before you get there (I would list them but I can't remember).

Simon
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  #5  
Old 2 Oct 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sime66 View Post
Hi Joel

I've recently done what you want to do - the paperwork is a little bit of a pain in the arse and the waiting time at the embassy is several hours but I came away with a 10 year B1/B2 visa. When I asked them how long I could stay they said "just don't take the piss and you'll be OK". (This may not be the definitive answer).
Just make sure you've filled in all the forms (from the website) before you get there (I would list them but I can't remember).
As Simon says, it's a B1/B2 visa you need as a tourist, and they are valid for 10 years.

However, on entry to the country you are only granted 6 months (I know this, I did it last Sunday x) and you have to apply to a local NIS office to get it extended. You can apply to do this online in the US, but you must go down to a local office to do the actual paperwork. If you don't extend it with the immigration service, they will get sniffy (fines etc) again on the way out. And Visas can be revoked, so take care!

When I spoke with the US embassy in the UK before I left, she said much the same as the reply Simon got - however, that is primarily if you are coming and going regularly. If you are clearly spending more time in the USA than anywhere else (ie. over 6 months a year, and certainly if you keep extending your stay once you are there), then she said you should really apply for a residency visa - particularly as they are at liberty to say you can't stay indefinitely on a B1/B2 visa, and you must leave when the current period is up.

It is possible to convert a B1/B2 to residency, but you do have to have the (primarily financial) means to support yourself while in the USA - typically people who retire here, or spend the winter in Florida for example would have that sort of visa.

xxx
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  #6  
Old 23 Oct 2008
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Visa's

Not quiet accurate on the residency visa. That is also known as a green card, although it's pink! The mulitple entry visa can be extended by going into Canada or mexico and then back. When you leave the us you will have to hand over the little green notice of arrival card. That is how they track you leaving. When you ride into Mexico here In San Diego, there is no stopping on the Us side at all, so be carefull.
Getting a green card is almost impossible, either a company transfer or get married as I did.




Quote:
Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
As Simon says, it's a B1/B2 visa you need as a tourist, and they are valid for 10 years.

However, on entry to the country you are only granted 6 months (I know this, I did it last Sunday x) and you have to apply to a local NIS office to get it extended. You can apply to do this online in the US, but you must go down to a local office to do the actual paperwork. If you don't extend it with the immigration service, they will get sniffy (fines etc) again on the way out. And Visas can be revoked, so take care!

When I spoke with the US embassy in the UK before I left, she said much the same as the reply Simon got - however, that is primarily if you are coming and going regularly. If you are clearly spending more time in the USA than anywhere else (ie. over 6 months a year, and certainly if you keep extending your stay once you are there), then she said you should really apply for a residency visa - particularly as they are at liberty to say you can't stay indefinitely on a B1/B2 visa, and you must leave when the current period is up.

It is possible to convert a B1/B2 to residency, but you do have to have the (primarily financial) means to support yourself while in the USA - typically people who retire here, or spend the winter in Florida for example would have that sort of visa.

xxx
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  #7  
Old 30 Oct 2008
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Joel, .. I was relying on the 'Visa On Entry' system August 2008. However, flying into Seattle from Bangkok to join my bike which I'd shipped from South Korea, I was denied access to my flight. Reason: I needed a 'Return or Onwards Ticket' before any airline would accept me. In the end, I bought a forged 'Onwards Ticket' in Bangkok which China Airlines and US Customs accepted.

With hindsight, ... I would have arranged the Visa before I travelled. If I'd just been crossing a land border into USA I don't think there would have been a problem. It is just the 'Airlines' that worry about the fines they receive if your are 'Turned Back' at port of entry.

Enjoy the trip, .... Geoff
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  #8  
Old 30 Oct 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue88 View Post
It is just the 'Airlines' that worry about the fines they receive if your are 'Turned Back' at port of entry.
In addition under ICAO rules if you're refused entry it's the airline that's responsible for flying you back home. They have to pay all the costs and although they'll likely try to recuperate those from you, for them it's a risk. Much better for for everyone to sort visas before leaving really, minimises stress for one thing! The US embassy in London can also be surprisingly helpful if you need them to be. A couple years ago I needed an M1 visa for a flight out four days later... to start with it was a case of "you'll get it when you get it" but with some yessir-nosir I had it in hand on the third day. Just take a good book if you visit the embassy. You'll need it!
Enjoy your trip!
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  #9  
Old 17 Sep 2009
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Has anyone gone through the procedure of renewing their B1/B2 visa with the US immigration and can share how and what happened?

Cheers

Char
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