9. februar 2016

Thomas Thorup Law Law Attorneys Meet with U.S. Embassy Officials for Clarification on New Visa Rules

Beau Russell

On February 9, 2016 attorneys Thomas Thorup and Beau Russell, on invitation from the Danish American Business Forum and the American Chamber of Commerce, Denmark met with U.S. Embassy Vice Consul Harry Bethke to discuss the new visa rules regarding those who have traveled to Iraq, Syria, Iran and Sudan. The Confederation of Danish Industry hosted the event.

Mr. Bethke was able to clarify that those who have travelled to Sudan, Iraq, Iran or Syria after March 1, 2011 must now attend an interview as the U.S. Embassy prior to travelling to the United States on a tourist visa. Further, individuals with dual citizenship from one of these countries must also attend an interview at the Embassy prior travelling to the U.S. Mr. Bethke reinforced that if you have travelled to these countries after March 1, 2011 or you are a citizen of these countries you must obtain a B-1/B-2 visa at the Embassy.

Previous guidance seemed to provide for an exception for those individuals who have travelled to Sudan, Iraq, Iran or Syria for legitimate business or government purposes. This, however, is not the case. Mr. Bethke explained that while having been to Sudan, Iraq, Iran or Syria on a legitimate purpose makes for an easier interview at the Embassy, the individual must still come to Embassy for a B-1/B-2 interview. He also clarified issues regarding two passports and the documents that applicants are required to being with them to the interview.

Mr. Bethke confirmed, however, the advantages of possessing a B-1/B-2 visa. Under U.S. regulations, an individual who is granted a B-1/B-2 visa may use that visa to travel for 10 years without having to renew the visa. With an ESTA the renewal period is two years. Further, there are some legal implications of possessing a “full visa” rather than simply holding an ESTA, such as the allowance of change of status, longer period in the U.S. with the ability to renew the visa and protection again deportation among others.

Lastly, the Embassy did provide a “fast-track” method of obtaining a B-1/B-2 visa for individuals who have travelled to Sudan, Iraq, Iran or Syria. If you would like to learn more about this method or have any questions about this topic or any other immigration issues, please contact our office.

Beau Russell is a U.S. Immigration attorney located in the Copenhagen Area. For the past several years in California he has helped hundreds of individuals solve their U.S. Immigration issues. Beau joined THOMAS THORUP LAW in 2015 and works from our Copenhagen Offices. His specialty is assisting businesses and families obtain non-immigrant/temporary visa and permanent/immigration visas (“green cards”) to the U.S.