Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced the Temporary Family Visitation Act to create a new visitor visa category that would be referred to as “B-3.” It also was introduced in the House by Reps. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), and María Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.). B-3 visas would permit aliens who are not residents of visa waiver countries to visit their citizen and lawful permanent resident (LPRs) relatives in the United States for up to 90 days. Citizens and nationals of visa waiver countries do not need a visa to visit the United States.

The bill defines the term “relative” to mean a spouse, child, son, daughter, grandchild, parent, grandparent, sibling, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew. This is more generous than current family-based visas, which only apply to spouses, sons and daughters, parents, and siblings.

Rep. Peters acknowledges that aliens can visit their citizen and LPR relatives in the United States with the B-2 “visitor for pleasure” visa that is already available. The B-3 visa is needed because applicants for a B-2 visa are assessed for potential intent to overstay their visit and remain in the United States permanently, and this can be a problem for applicants with family in the United States.

In other words, aliens with family in the United States are more likely to remain in the United States. Creating a B-3 visa for them won’t eliminate that concern.

Statutory presumption

Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act presumes that an alien applying for a visa is an immigrant seeking permanent residence in the United States — unless he can establish that he is entitled to nonimmigrant visitor status under section 101(a)(15) of the INA.

The pertinent part of section 101(a)(15) requires the applicant to have a residence in a foreign country that he has no intention of abandoning. The State Department’s website on visa denials explains that this requires strong ties to the applicant’s home that would compel him to return to his home country when his visit is over, such as a job, a home, and family relationships.

The new bill would require the citizen or LPR relative to file an affidavit of support for the foreign relative. This is a legally enforceable agreement to support the foreign relative. This is just a guarantee that the applicant would not have to work to support himself during his visit. It is not a substitute for showing strong ties to the applicant’s home country that would compel him to return after a temporary visit.

Aliens who can do this can get a B-2 visa. They don’t need a B-3 visa.

Overstays aren’t deported


Published originally on The Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him at