Visa Information for American Relatives
There are many types of U.S. nonimmigrant visas (see Visa Types); the most common is the “B-2” Tourist Visa (sometimes combined with a Business Visa into a “B1/B2”.) This visa confers the right to apply for admission to the United States as a temporary visitor for tourist purposes -- including visits to family and friends. Under U.S. immigration law, applicants for U.S. visitors visas must qualify based on their own circumstances, not on the basis of an American relative’s assurances.
Some basic information about the B-2 visa
It can be issued to Bahamian Citizens and TCI Belongers with a maximum validity of ten years; this does not mean the visitor can stay in the United States for that long. (For information about maximum validities for citizens of other countries, please see reciprocity tables.)
Each time a traveler
uses a B-2 visa to enter the U.S., a U.S. immigration officer will
determine how long the traveler can stay in the U.S. on that trip (up to
six months) and indicate it on a card inserted into the travelers
passport; if something comes up and the traveler needs to stay beyond
that date, he or she must request an extension from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services.
A visitor on a B-2 visa is not allowed to work or attend school in the U.S.
Qualifying for a Tourist Visa
Under U.S. immigration law, applicants for U.S. visitors visas must qualify based on their own circumstances, not on the basis of an American relative’s assurances. In general, applicants must be prepared to demonstrate the following:
they intend to travel to the U.S. for bonafide tourist/visitor purposes;
they are not likely to become public charges in the U.S.;
they have a permanent residence in The Bahamas or the Turks and Caicos Islands (or elsewhere other than in the U.S.)
they have strong ties to their home sufficient to compel them to return to that home after a temporary visit to the U.S.
Even if an applicant demonstrates they meet the aforementioned requirements, they cannot receive a visa if they are ineligible under the terms of U.S. immigration law (see Visa Ineligibilities.)
Some persons who apply for tourist visas are not able to demonstrate they qualify for a visa and are refused. Every person whose application is denied is informed both orally and in writing of the basis for the denial. There are a number of legal reasons why a visa may be denied (see
Visa Ineligibilities). The most common basis for a visa denial is Section 214(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as described below.
This section of law mandates that every applicant for a tourist visa is presumed to be an intending immigrant – and thus not eligible for a visitors visa – until he demonstrates otherwise. This means the burden is on the applicant to show that he does not intend to remain in the U.S. Most applicants are able to overcome this legal presumption by proving that they have strong ties to their home that would compel them to return home after a short visit. For further information, see Visa Denials.