Tell Congress to Let Families Visit!
Supporting the Temporary Family Visitation Act (TFVA) is a critical step Congress can take to let families visit each other.
You can help by contacting your representative by visiting this link.
The TFVA, H.R. 5155, led by Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA), Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Jim Himes (D-CT), and Maria Salazar (R-FL) in the House and Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in the Senate, would establish a new visa category to allow family members of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to visit temporarily. The TFVA assures Americans that their family members abroad can share in the memories that make life worth living.
How it Works:
The TFVA establishes a new B-3 nonimmigrant visa category allowing U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to petition for their family members to visit them temporarily. The family members included in this legislation are spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews.
The application provides financial assurance to the U.S. government by requiring:
• that the petitioner sign an affidavit of financial support
• that the applicant purchase travel medical insurance for the duration of the stay
TFVA would dissuade visa overstays by:
• Prohibiting individuals traveling under the TFVA from changing their visa status
• Limiting the duration of the stay to 90 days
• Prohibiting the petitioner from using the TFVA if they had previously sponsored a relative who overstayed their period of authorized admission
Why it’s Needed:
Currently, there is no temporary visa specifically designed to reunite U.S. citizens and permanent residents with their relatives. Under current immigration law, family members must apply to visit their relatives in the U.S. through B-2 visas that lack consideration for family reunions. This ultimately results in an unnecessarily high denial rate for the loved ones of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The TFVA fixes this problem.
The TFVA will facilitate more family visitations and strengthen our economy while ensuring that visits would be temporary and enforceable.
Write your members of Congress today tell them to let families visit!
Temporary Family Visitation Act (TFVA) Frequently Asked Questions
Is family visitation under the temporary non-immigrant visa system a problem?
Yes. Currently, family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents apply to visit their relatives
through B2 visas, a category designated for aliens visiting for pleasure. U.S. policy regarding B2 visitor
visas lacks consideration for family reunions, resulting in an unnecessarily high denial rate of family
members because of the presumption that applicants with family members in the U.S. intend to immigrate
to the U.S. A recent CRS report found that the most common reason for nonimmigrant visa application
denials is the presumption of immigration [section 214(b) of the INA], a large portion of which come
from family members who aim to visit their relatives in the U.S.1 This lack of consideration for temporary
family reunions under the immigration policy has caused separation of relatives for far too long and
pushes many to apply for immigrant visas as the only path to visit their relatives in the U.S.
Who will the TFVA cover?
The TFVA will cover the family members of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who are
residents of countries not included in the Visa Waiver Program. Family members include the spouse,
children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, great grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nieces, and
nephews of a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
Will the TFVA merely benefit the wealthy and bar the less fortunate?
No. The TFVA has a pragmatic approach stemming from the current practices and procedure. Currently,
anyone who wishes to enter the U.S. on a visitor visa, including B2 used by family members, must
provide evidence of adequate financial backing to support their trip. Consular officers want to make sure
that visitors to the U.S. have sufficient funds to cover their trip without becoming a burden on the US
economy or government while visiting. This concern stems directly from Section 214 (b) of the
Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(b)) which states that every visitor visa applicant shall be
presumed to be an immigrant until she establishes otherwise to the satisfaction of the consular officer that
she is entitled to a visa. This requirement has resulted in a very high-level of visa denials for family
Nevertheless, this presumption remains the same under the TFVA, however, the TFVA provides an
alternative that further alleviates Consular Officers’ concerns over family members’ intent to immigrate
or overstay. As a result, the TFVA will make it easier for family members to be temporarily reunited
while providing tangible assurances to the U.S. government over its concerns.
The cost associated with the TFVA come at a fraction of the overall cost of the trip and should not impede
family members from visiting the U.S. while making it easier to temporarily reunite with relatives.
Furthermore, as numerous applicants are currently forced to re-apply many times for a B2 visa, with
many to no avail, the overall application cost could be substantially reduced under TFVA compared to the
current available B2 visa.
Will individuals take advantage of the TFVA to enter the country permanently?
No. The period of authorized admission under the TFVA is limited to a maximum of 90 days per calendar
year. Individuals traveling under the TFVA are further prohibited from changing their visa status while in
the U.S. Furthermore, the requirements under the TFVA ensure that the applicants make specific and
realistic plans for the course of their visit and discourage the overstaying of visas by shifting the
enforcement to petitioners, the U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
What does the affidavit of financial support requirement under the TFVA mean?
The TFVA application requires that a petitioner in the U.S. sign an affidavit of financial support. The
individual who signs the affidavit of support becomes the official sponsor of the applicant once the
intending family member enters the U.S. An affidavit of support is a legally enforceable contract and the
sponsor’s responsibility will last until the individual traveling under the TFVA leaves the country.
What restrictions do petitioners face?
The TFVA would prohibit a person from petitioning for a relative’s admission if they had previously
sponsored a family member who had overstayed their period of authorized entrance under this visa. The
legislation requires for the petitioner to certify that a relative did not overstay their period of authorized
admission if they have previously used the visa to sponsor a family member or seek a waiver by
providing an explanation of why the overstay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond the control
of the relative. Certification is subject to criminal penalties.
What is traveler’s medical insurance?
Traveler’s medical insurance is a temporary medical plan that protects individuals in the event of illness
or injury when traveling outside of their country of residence. Travel medical plans are focused on
emergency medical and evacuation coverage. Most travel medical insurance typically covers unexpected
medical and dental costs, emergency medical transportation, emergency medical evacuation services,
emergency travel assistance services, accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, and travel
How much does traveler’s medical insurance cost?
Since traveler’s medical insurance plans typically focus only on emergency medical and evacuation
coverage, it’s generally inexpensive. A typical single-trip travel medical plan can range from $40-$80
total for a relatively short overseas trip of around two weeks. In general, the premium amount for a travel
medical plan is based on the length of the trip, the age of the traveler, and the medical and evacuation
coverage limits selected. For example, the recommended plan from a popular traveler’s medical insurance
company would cost a 45-year-old male from China who is looking to spend 93 days in the U.S. roughly
$380 for the duration of his stay, which is around $4 per day.
What other countries require/encourage non-immigrant visitors to purchase travel insurance?
There are many other countries that require travel medical insurance in their non-immigrant visa process.
The most notable ones are Canada and the countries in the “Schengen Area” (26 European countries). The
Schengen Visa permits third-country nationals’ entry into the Schengen Area for the purpose of traveling
or visiting Europe for pleasure. In order to receive a Schengen Visa, the applicant must have health
insurance that covers medical emergencies with a minimum of €30,000for the entire duration of their
What is the potential impact of this bill on the economy?
According to the U.S. Travel Association, each overseas traveler spends approximately $5,000 when they
visit the U.S. and stays on average 18 nights. In 2018, international travel spending directly supported
about 1.2 million U.S. jobs and $33.7 billion in wages. In 2016, all travel spending by visitors to the U.S.
amounted to $245 billion in 2016, resulting in a travel trade surplus of $84 billion. With the inclusion of
this policy in the INA, based on numbers from the CRS reports cited above, this would potentially impact
over 500,000 to over 1 million future applicants per year, as well as provide a significant boost in the
economy through indirect spending of billions of dollars and the creation of tens of thousands of jobs.
Who are the sponsors of the TFVA in Congress?
The bipartisan and bicameral legislation was introduced by Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA),
Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Jim Himes (D-CT), and Maria Salazar (R-FL) in the House, and Senators Rand
Paul (R-KY) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in the Senate.
What organizations are supporting the TFVA?
The Temporary Family Visitation Act has been endorsed by Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian
Americans, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Arab American Institute, Bienvenido,
Emgage, Frontiers of Freedom, Hindu American Foundation, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA, Iranian
American Bar Association, Iranian American Democrats of California, The Libre Initiative, Muslims of
America, National Immigration Forum, Niskanen Center, Pars Equality Center, Republican National
Hispanic Assembly, SEWA International, Sikhs of America, United Macedonian Diaspora, Asian
Business Association of San Diego, Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, Greater Naples Chamber
of Commerce, Lodging & Hospitality Association of Volusia County, LA Business Council, Naples
Visitor’s Bureau, and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
For more information about the TFVA, please go to www.passTFVA.com.
1 Kandel, William A. (2018). U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy (CRS Report No. R43145). Retrieved from Congressional Research Service website: https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R43145