United States and Pakistan: Requirements for a minor to obtain a US non-immigrant visa in Pakistan when travelling with only one parent, in particular, whether they need the official permission of the non-travelling parent [ZZZ105121.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Qualifying for a Visa

According to the US Visa Information Service for Pakistan, which is "the official visa information website of the US Mission in Pakistan" [1] (US n.d.a), "[a]ll travelers, including children, need a visa to travel to the United States or must qualify to travel without a visa through a special program, such as the Visa Waiver Program" (ibid. n.d.b). Additionally, the website indicates that if a passport contains more than one person, each person who wants a visa must submit an application (ibid. n.d.c).

The US Visa Information Service for Pakistan states that applicants for a B1/B2 visa, which is a Business/Tourist non-immigrant visa, must demonstrate the following to the consular officer:

  • that the purpose of the trip is temporary, such as for business, pleasure, or medical reasons;
  • that they will remain in the US for a "specific limited period of time";
  • evidence of funds to cover expenses while in the US; and
  • residence outside the US, "as well as other binding social or economic ties" that ensure a return abroad at the end of the visit to the US (ibid.).

The same source explains that, in accordance with the US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the applicant must overcome a legal presumption that every B1/B2 applicant intends to immigrate to the US (ibid.).

2. Documentation for an Application

Documentation required to support an application for a B1/B2 visa includes

  • a non-immigrant visa electronic application form (DS-160)
  • a passport valid for travel to the US with a validity date at least six months beyond the intended period of stay
  • one 5 cm x 5 cm photograph taken "within the last six months"
  • a receipt showing payment of the US$160 non-refundable non-immigrant visa application processing fee in local currency
  • 10-year travel history
  • list of siblings and children
  • letter confirming an appointment has been booked with a consular officer for applicant interview
  • "whatever supporting documents" the applicant believes support information provided to the consular officer (ibid.).

Additionally, the US Visa Information Service for Pakistan indicates that all applicants, including children, require an interview appointment, and must come in person for their appointment; parents must accompany all children under 18 years of age (ibid. n.d.b). At the time of the interview, applicants are required to bring a printed copy of their appointment letter, DS-160 confirmation page, one photograph taken in the previous six months and current and old passports (ibid. n.d.c).

3. Traveling with One Parent on a Non-immigrant B1/B2 Visa

In 10 April 2015 correspondence with the Research Directorate, a representative of the US Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs indicated that, in regards to the requirements for a minor to obtain a US B1/B2 non-immigrant visa in Pakistan when travelling with only one parent, in particular if the official permission of the non-travelling parent is required, US consular officers follow guidance provided in the US Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual, which states the procedure for a child accompanied by one parent as follows:

PROCEDURE IF CHILD ACCOMPANIED BY ONLY ONE PARENT OR IF ALIEN SUSPECTED OF ABANDONING FAMILY (TL:VISA-3; 08-30-1987)

If a child is immigrating to the United States with one parent and the other parent is remaining abroad, the consular officer should ask the accompanying parent whether any legal impediment might exist preventing the departure of the child. If the response is inconclusive the consular officer should defer final action on the application and direct an informal inquiry to the local authorities in an effort to learn whether a violation of local law might be involved. If so, the local authorities would probably take action to prevent the child's departure by lifting the child's travel document or by other measures. If the local authorities do not take such action within a reasonable time, the officer should proceed with the consideration of the visa application. The same procedure should be followed if the officer has reason to believe that the family of an applicant is being abandoned. (US n.d.d)

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Note

[1] Visa services in Pakistan are at the US embassy in Islamabad and the consulate in Karachi (US n.d.e).

References

United States (US). 10 April 2014. Correspondence from a representative of the US Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs.

_____. N.d.a. United States Mission in Pakistan, Visa Information Service for Pakistan. "Apply for a US Visa." <http://www.ustraveldocs.com/pk/index.html?firstTime=No> [Accessed 27 Feb. 2015]

_____. N.d.b. United States Mission in Pakistan, Visa Information Service for Pakistan. "Visas for Children." <http://www.ustraveldocs.com/pk/pk-svc-visachild.asp> [Accessed 27 Feb. 2015]

_____. N.d.c. United States Mission in Pakistan, Visa Information Service for Pakistan. "Business/Tourist Visa." <http://www.ustraveldocs.com/pk/pk-niv-typeb1b2.asp> [Accessed 10 Apr. 2015]

_____. N.d.d. Department of State. Foreign Affairs Manual, Volume 9 - Visas. <http://redirect.state.sbu/?url=http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/87901.pdf> [Accessed 10 Apr. 2015]

_____. N.d.e. United States Mission in Pakistan, Visa Information Service for Pakistan. "US Embassy: Location and Contact Information." <http://www.ustraveldocs.com/pk/pk-loc-post.asp> [Accessed 27 Feb. 2015]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Attempts to contact the following were unsuccessful within the time constraints of this Response: international immigration law firm in Chicago; United States – consulates in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar.

Internet sites, including: ecoi.net; Factiva; Pakistan Observer; All Pakistani News; International Air Transport Association – Timatic Web; United Nations – Refworld; United States – consulates in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar.