Can you obtain a tourist visa while waiting for residency?

In my Consulta Migratoria® column this week I answer a reader's question.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on each person's immigration history.

Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before starting any procedure.

This is the column:

I live in the Dominican Republic and last year my father, who is an American citizen, filed a family petition for me to immigrate to the United States. I am married and we have an 8 year old daughter. My wife and I want to take my daughter to Florida to visit Disney World. While I am waiting for my permanent residency in the United States, can I apply for a tourist visa along with my wife and daughter to travel to Disney World? My wife and I are professionals with good jobs in the Dominican Republic. We intend to return to our country to continue with our jobs and hope that my residency will be granted in the future. -Joel M.

Joel, they may be able to apply for a B-2 non-immigrant visa, commonly known as a "tourist visa," to travel to the United States.

The U.S. government grants the B-2 visa to individuals who wish to travel temporarily to the U.S. for tourism, visiting family or friends, obtaining medical treatment, among other things, as long as they believe they are eligible to receive it.

The B-2 visa generally requires that you clearly demonstrate the following:

- The reason for the trip to the U.S.

- That they reside and have work, family or social ties that tie them to their country of origin. In their cases, it would be to demonstrate that they live and have those ties in the Dominican Republic.

- That all travel expenses will be covered by you or others.

- His intention to return to his home country after his visit to the US.

To apply for the B-2 visa they will need to file the DS-160 form at the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic. On the day of their interviews they will need to present their passports and other supporting documents.

The fact that your father has asked you should not by itself disqualify you for a tourist visa. Currently, there is no visa available for your immigration case. According to the U.S. Department of State's October 2014 Visa Bulletin.The government is processing family petitions on behalf of married children of U.S. citizens that were filed before December 1, 2003.

The consular officer may grant you a tourist visa if you meet the necessary requirements, including clearly demonstrating that you only intend to visit the U.S. temporarily and return to the Dominican Republic.

Embassy officials may request a letter of support (Affidavit of Support) from your relatives in the U.S. to show that they have sufficient financial support while visiting the country.

The consular officer will review all of your documents and determine if you are eligible for a tourist visa. If their visa application is denied, they cannot appeal the officer's decision. However, they may reapply in the future, as long as they meet all the requirements.

It is extremely important not to lie during the application process for a tourist visa. Immigration fraud is severely penalized by immigration authorities and could make you ineligible for certain immigration benefits in the future, including permanent residency.

For more information and immigration tips, read my blog

Send your questions to Include detailed information about your situation to better answer your questions.

Nelson A. Castillo, Esq. is an immigration attorney and author of The Green Card: How to Obtain Permanent Residency in the United States. He is a past president of the Hispanic National Bar Association and current president of the Westlake South Neighborhood Council of Los Angeles. To contact Mr. Castillo's office, please call (213) 537-VISA (8472).

The purpose of this column is to provide general information. There can be no guarantee or prediction as to what will be the outcome of the information presented by Dr. Nelson A. Castillo. The information should not be taken as legal advice for any individual, case or situation. Consult with an immigration attorney for personalized legal advice before beginning any immigration proceedings.