On November 6, 2014, AmCham members had a breakfast meeting with Mr. Phillip J. VanHorn, the Acting Consul/Chief of American Citizen Services of the U.S. Embassy, Yerevan. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the general requirements of the U.S. Consulate for obtaining U.S. entry visas, as well as to address the issue of visa rejections to many IT companies` employees.
AmCham members in the information technologies sector presented the issues they each faced recently with regard of getting U.S. entry visas for their employees, given that the same employees travelled to the U.S. for 10-12 times for the same purpose in the past. For many IT companies this issue has become so sensitive that their corporate lawyers in the headquarters are conducting a research, trying to understand the legal side of the issue.
Mr. VanHorn readily answered questions of AmCham members and shared his view on the issue. According to him, the issue relates to the fact that many IT companies` employees want to travel to the U.S. on a visa type that does not allow work in the U.S.(B1/B2). Since many interviewees conduct activities in the U.S. that may qualify as “work”, the visa type for which they are applying is thus inconsistent with the trip purpose. According to Mr. VanHorn, the companies should be very accurate and precise in describing to the interviewer the purpose of their visit, so that the latter can have a clear understanding of it.
At the end of the meeting, Mr. VanHorn and AmCham members consented, that companies and their employees would be more explicit and careful when presenting the purpose of their trips in visa applications and during interviews as well as carefully review the requirements and restrictions of the visa type for which they apply. The AmCham CEO thanked Mr. VanHorn for his time and fruitful discussion and expressed a hope that this meeting will not be the last one in the series of U.S. Consulate-AmCham meetings.