Traveling to United States of America
Since 17th November 2008, the countries of European Union (with the exception of Romania and Bulgaria) were placed in order of Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) that means that the entry to USA is permitted without visa. The citizens who have valid visa from past, can travel to USA under existing conditions, using their valid visa, stamped in passport.
However, this visa-free programme concerns short term tourist or business trips up to 90 days of stay, As far as all study, working (job) or interchange stays are concerned, visa regime is still valid, and the interested parties for stay in the USA for above mentioned or other purposes are obliged to ask for entry visa at Consular Section of the respective American Embassy abroad.
When travelling to the USA, the visa must be kept by each passenger, including under- age children. They are obliged to fulfill ESTA Registration Form (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov) and posses its own valid e-Pas (passport with machine-made readable data and data porters containing bio-metric data). The registration within scope of ESTA (Electronic System of Travel Authorization) is recommended to be effected minimally up to 72 hours before the trip will be affected, and the registration does not undergo the charge. As a result, you receive the approval of preliminary consent with a journey, which is valid for two years or up to time period of applicant´s data changes (such as: change of travelling document or change of the name). So, this preliminary consent serves for multiple trips within validity date.
Anyway, if the registration would be refused by such system, it is necessary to ask for visa at Consular Section of USA Embassy. The respective information regarding the conditions of visa granting could be found on web-site address: www.travel.state.gov.
a) Entry Visas
The entry visa could be obtained at the USA Embassy, or independent USA Consolate abroad. The visa could be got on base of due motivated purpose of the journey, and asked for in sufficient time reserve. The personal visit of the Embassy is obligatory, which could be settled by means of Embassy internet site: www.usembassy.cz
The fee (charge) for presentation of visa application of B-2 type makes USD 131,-.
This type of entry visa is usually issued with validity date of 10 years.
The invitation to tourist journey certified by American Notary Public is not obligatory but its presentation could be useful especially for persons without standard employment, i.e. including students, fresh graduate persons or pensioners.
Since August 2003, visa duty was introduced, when travelling in transit via USA to third countries.
In connection to existing Inventions Support and Protection Agreement, direct investors, travelling to USA, could apply for visa granting in form of E-2 Visa type, enabling long-term stay in the country (up to 15 years), when the invention care could be made.
Anyway, foreign investor must have majority share there.
All branch managers of foreign companies acting in USA could travel, using L-type visa, provided this branch presents at first an application, confirmed with necessary documents, required by USA Immigration Authorities. In a moment of final approval, the American Consul will issue a visa, entitling the manager for long-term stay in USA.
Competent artists are not allowed to operate their artistic activity in the USA, using tourist visa. So, we wish to recommend you, in this connection, to cooperate with qualified artistic agency or American partner but during sufficiently advanced time period.
As far as student´s visa is concerned: it is necessary to ask for at American Embassy, before your departure to the USA. The change of visa B-type into F-type (student visa) in USA territory, could be changed in motivated cases only, and those persons only, who informed in advance (the intention to study) the respective Immigration Officer in a moment of arrival to the USA. The Officer would mark this fact into cross-border bill (Form I-94).
However, the change is impossible to be done in cases when the foreigner begun to study, so, it is necessary to wait for consent of US BCIS, and after their approval, to start to study.
The official information regarding valid conditions for the entry and stay of citizens of European Union in the territory of USA, the respective Consular Section of USA Embassy abroad is competent.
b) The Entry to USA Territory
The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection belongs to main American authorities responsible for borders protection – www.immigration.gov. So, the passengers are obliged to present at border crossing, entering the USA territory, carefully filled in Immigration Card I-94 as well as filled in Customs Declaration 6059B. The passengers obtain both forms just in plain board or directly at border-crossing.It is very important that the forms would be filled in English, correctly and in all paragraphs. Incorrect or false filled forms could cause serious troubles during decision whether the passenger would be allowed to enter USA territory and, as a result, the entry could be refused. Anyway, visa granting means only a possibility to arrive to USA border and ask for entry.
An interview with the Officer is the second stage of control. The Immigration Officer has really wide decision competences and can decide that the passenger will not be permitted to the country, despite the fact he had valid entry visa. So, no legal pretention (claim) exists for passport holder with valid entry visa. During interview, it is necessary to reply to all questions, and to be active and protect energetically the position. In case of doubts, regarding process correctness, it is possible, at any time, to ask for a presence of supervisor. The passenger is entitled to contact the respective Embassy or Consulate section at any time during the interview. If the Immigration Officer refuses the entry to USA territory, the passenger is voluntarily entitled to return by the next flight to his home country (in such case, he would sign the declaration that he would be ready to return, or he gives up the right to ask for the entry to USA territory), or ask for audience in front of Immigration Judge. Second case: the passenger would be seized in jail till the hearing term, which could be effected even within several weeks after arrival. In case of negative decision of Immigration Judge, the deportation as well as visa validity cancellation follows.
Since 2004, The USA Internal Security Ministry introduced a programme of US-VISIT, where biometric data of all persons, entering the USA territory, are taken away on border-crossing points. So, each passenger travelling to the USA, is obliged to undergone to be taken to digital photo as well as taking off all ten finger-prints.
In a moment when a passenger gets the entry permit, the Immigration Officer fastens small card I-94 to his passport, marking there a period, when the traveler could stay legally in the territory of the USA. We wish to add that it is necessary to distinguish so called Visa availability ( i.e. term stated in a visa- in case of tourist visas valid for 10 years), from the term of permitted stay ( i.e. term stated in I-94 form). Attention: the exceeding of permitted term of stay is a violence of immigration prescriptions, which could cause very unpleasant consequenses – see c) chapter.
Maximal length of stay which could be permitted to holder of tourist visa (B-2) makes six months. The stay valid for B-2 visa could be prolonged for maximal next six months, and in such cases only, when the foreigner could demonstrate that some unforseen circumstances prevent him in the departure ( such us: stay in the hospital) and proves at the same time that he has sufficient financial means for such prolonged stay.
c) Risks in case when the allowed length of stay would be exceeded
Illegal jobs in the USA
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to draw your attention to the fact that the leaving of USA territory must be dedicated an increased respect for leaving of I-94 card (it is a form regarding allowed length of stay in the USA territory) to respective Immigration Officers.
This card must be, in a moment of leaving of the USA territory always left, as the lenght of stay in the USA territory is kept in such way. In case that the leaving of this card could not be left, no termination of stay in the USA territory would be existed, i.e. that the stay would be respectably and duly finished, within scope of permitted term of stay in the country.
The person who would not be able to show (prove) that the length of stay in USA left in time, would not be allowed to enter the USA territory on the occasion of his next visit of the USA, and this person would be sent back to the country from there he arrived, and valid entry visa would be cancelled at the same time.
If the traveler does not leave the USA after stipulated term period, his entry visa is over on the first day after marked date in form I-94. It does not matter at all, if it is multiply visa valid for more years. The passenger´s stay in USA is illegal since that time period. So, since that date, after any occasional control (checking) effected, by police or immigration authorities, the passenger could be seized. After arresting, he would be placed into local prison or into so called INS centre. Here, he will be waiting for hearing in front of Immigration Judge (during several weeks or months) and expelled back to his country. Since decision date of migration Judge till expulsion date, the foreigner could spend in prison next three months.
The cases, when the passenger could spend in immigration jail more than six months, are not exceptional.
The exceeding of stay of 180 days up to one year has, as a consequence, and automatic refuse of entry to USA territory for next coming three years, and exceeding the allowed time period of more than one year, has, as a consequence, the prohibited entry into USA territory for more than ten years.
So, with regard to very severe sanctions from part of USA Authorities, we wish to draw your carefully attention for all visitors of United States that, in case of arrival to USA for purpose of tourist stay (tourist entry visa B-2) ,seeking for any type of job is absolutely illegal!
In case that the job would be arranged by means of working agency, we wish to check in advance its reliability and sufficient experience in this area. As main sense of activities of several agencies is, however, their financial profit only. The conditions, under which survive the clients of such agencies, are very tragical. As a reality, it is the accommodation in overcrowded and dirty lodges, mutual pilferages of all room-mates, 12 hours lasting working shift, six times a week, and disproportioned reductions from the earnings to living, transport, boarding, working mediation, etc. Moreover, the organizers of each illegal employment keep frequently to their employers their passports away.
United States of America
Information and warnings on travelling abroad is to be found HERE.