First off, the Visa Waiver Program is for foreigners who arrive and depart via scheduled airline service
through designated international airports of entry. If your friend intends to enter or exit the USA via a private vessel she needs to apply for a B1/B2 visa - NO MATTER what country she is from or how rich she is. That is both a time and money consuming project
, although getting a B1/B2 is a lot easier if you and your boat are at a high traffic cruiser island like Barbados
- - I have been through the processes for a number of years for friends who I want to bring over for some time sailing/cruising. Number 1 in the process is having "ties
" to the home country. This is laid out as having money, a permanent job, a good wage, own property and investments in the home country, etc. All these things are used to point to the fact that this is really only a "tourist" visit and the probability of the person returning to their home country is highly, if not completely assured.
- - If you get into the US Visa regulations
you will see in black and white print that the US State Department/Homeland Security
consider "everybody who is applying for a visitor visa to be lying." So overwhelming proof that you really are a "tourist" is needed. And the ringer in the whole system is another regulation that states that the consulate officer has total discretion - which is not subject to appeal - to summarily reject any applicant for a B1/B2 without cause. You can always apply again but your odds at succeeding has dramatically dropped to near zero. You want to do it correctly the first time.
- - Of course, previously approved visitor visas to the USA are a huge plus in the process and her Student Visa and demonstrated fact that she did return to Brazil
is a major plus in the process for her.
- - The choice of Embassy/Consulate to apply at - is a major critical factor. A lot of research
is necessary to find the good places and avoid the bad places. Currently in the Caribbean
the good places are Barbados
. But that is subject to change as the staffing of the Consulate changes.
- - For Brazil you would have to "network" with others to find the US Consulate (if there is more than one) that is considered "reasonable or good." And you need to present documentation
and especially physical appearance that shouts "I am well-off and have tons of assets and permanent job ties that guarantee I will have to return to Brazil."
- - Another option is to join an organized tour group or have a professional arrange a "business" tour of the same duration. The current
political climate in the USA is very "anti-illegal immigrant" so the people approving the B1/B2's are paying close attention to all applications.
- - The only shortcut is to sail to the area between Florida
and put her on a raft that she can get to the beach with. Then scream in Spanish she is a Cuban. The point is there are totally illogical "exceptions" passed by the politicians that really piss off upstanding citizens of other countries who really and honestly only want to visit and tour the USA and then go back home.