A “visa” or “Machine Readable Visa” is a document issued by a United States Consulate to a foreign national which is placed into a passport.  The MRV allows someone to board an airplane or travel and present themselves to the United States and request admission.  It will usually have an expiration date and identifies how long you can stay in the United States.

When you arrive to any United States port of entry, you will be interviewed by a Customs Border Patrol (CBP) officer. This officer will determine if your planned activities are authorized under the visa class of the approved MRV.  If admitted to the country, the person is given a card which indicates date of the period of admission. The card is often referred to as the “visa” in lay terms, since it indicates the visa class and the expiration date of the authorized period of stay.  The maximum MRV depends on the visa class and where you are from originally.

A knowledgeable and experienced immigration lawyer is familiar with all of the eligibility requirements for each visa class. A lawyer can ensure that you are prepared to document your eligibility at the first interview and can guide an applicant to choose the best visa fit for their personal needs.   A visa denial has a number of negative consequences and is best avoided. First, the denial will have to be disclosed on all future applications. Second, the applicant may be subjected to a waiting period for reapplication, which will only delay the process.