Applying For A US Tourist Visa

Q#1: My family member in Mexico would like to come visit me in the United States. How can I get them a Tourist Visa?

A#1: Every Mexican citizen is required to apply for and be granted a Tourist Visa before they are allowed to enter the United States as a tourist. So, before purchasing tickets to come to the United States, the first step is to obtain a Mexican Passport, then file for a Tourist Visa online, attend a Visa Interview at the US Consulate, and assuming a successful Interview the person is granted a Tourist Visa.

Q#2: Is it hard to be granted a Tourist Visa?

A#2: It is fairly straightforward to APPLY FOR a Tourist Visa. However, it is very difficult to actually BE GRANTED a Tourist Visa. The reason it is so difficult to be granted a Tourist Visa is because the Consular Officer reviewing the application and conducting the Visa Interview has very wide discretion and needs to quickly determine on a case-by-case basis if the applicant is actually going to visit the United States for a short period of time before returning home, or if they are actually planning to come to the US to stay permanently and work illegally. If the Consular Officer is not convinced the applicant will only be a tourist, then they deny the application. 

Q#3: What specifically is the Consular Officer looking for when reviewing a Tourist Visa application?

A#3: The number one factor is based on a person’s ties to their home country. If a person has a good job they need to return to, if they own properties that they need to manage, if they have young children and family members that will remain in Mexico that they need to return to, if they have never been to the United States illegally, and if their immediate family members aren’t in the United States illegally, then this will maximize the odds of their Tourist Visa being issued.

Q#4: How will the Consular Officer know that I have immediate family in the United States?

A#4: The application specifically asks if the person has immediate family members in the United States and their legal status. They also ask generally about other more distant family members. But, just because you have a family member in the United States without status does not mean that you will be denied outright, but it will be taken into account by the Consular Officer. Additionally, lying on an application creates a fraud/misrepresentation issue that could prevent an applicant from EVER being granted any tourist, work, or immigrant visa.

Q#5: How do I maximize my chances of being granted a Tourist Visa? 

A#5: Understanding the process, preparing a strong application, and being ready for the questions during the Visa Interview helps significantly. Determining a special event or special reason for the person to come to the United States is also important. Additionally, gathering proof of ties to the home country and demonstrating why the person won’t overstay their Tourist Visa helps the Consular Officer approve a case. 

Q#6: If I hire an attorney to assist in preparing a Tourist Visa for my family member, can the attorney guarantee approval?

A#6: Having an attorney help you with a Tourist Visa application and Visa Interview maximizes your chances of approval, however we can never guarantee success given that every case is different and every approval is discretionary. However, the attorney will do all he can to help and will discuss the strategy and approach at every step along the way.  

Eamonn Roach our immigration attorney from Roach & Bishop Law

Q#7: Who should I contact if I want to apply for a Tourist Visa?

A#7: You should consult with a competent immigration attorney to discuss the facts of your case and determine the best approach for applying for a Tourist Visa for your friend or family member. 

Eamonn P.S. Roach practices Immigration Law at the law firm of Roach & Bishop, LLP in Pasco, Washington. This information does not constitute legal advice. It is possible that this information does not apply to you. Each case depends on specific facts. If you have questions regarding the immigration laws that you would like answered in this column, please send them to: Eamonn P.S. Roach, 9221 Sandifur Pkwy, Suite C., Pasco, WA 99301, phone: (509) 547-7587, fax: (509) 547-7745; or email .

To read this blog in Spanish, click here.

About Roach & Bishop

At Roach & Bishop, we are more than just a law firm. We are a team of dedicated local lawyers with over 60 years of experience, committed to serving our community with integrity, determination, and a deep understanding of the law. Our practice areas span from immigration to criminal defense, from family law to estate planning, and beyond. We’ve handled hundreds, even thousands, of cases, always striving to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients.

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