reply to post by samlf3rd
Let's see, I'll go off the top of my head to give you something to chew.
The norm is, if you aren't a citizen of a country, but you want to go to that country, you need a visa. There are exceptions to this, though, for
example, with temporary travels (holidays and such) some countries have treaties that exempts their mutual citizens from having to get a visa. They
can fly straight to the country, tell the immigration officer they are there on holiday, and get something like a one month visa.
Japan has one such treaty or agreement with the US if I am not mistaken (although there is a new procedure where you need to sign up for an electronic
verifying service separate from visas), so if they have the planet tickets to come over, they could be at your house and bunking up within 24 hours. I
know the B-2 visa (tourism visa) which you apply for through a US embassy can last up to 6 months. But I'm not sure if nationals from countries with
waived visa requirements get a different visa, or if they get the B-2 upon passing through immigration. This would not allow them to work in the
If you want to stay on a more permanent basis, and even work, you need to get a different visa. In the US, the standard work visa is an H1B. It
requires an employer to sponsor the person coming in, which in effect says to the government, "Yes, this person is here with legal employment,
therefore he will be contributing to the company" (among other things). The filing fee is somewhere between $300 and $400 dollars. But employers
usually elect to hire an immigration attorney which itself can cost upwards of $5000 dollars. By law, employers aren't allowed to displace this
burden onto the immigrant/employee, but in practice, the immigrant/employee sometimes does (as there is no prejudice; the immigrant wants to come in
and is willing to pay, and the employer wants the immigrant to come in and doesn't want to pay). A lot of this is on the USCIS site
There are other visas that you can apply for as well. If you are an investor bringing in a significant amount of capital. Or if you have some
extraordinary credentials, like being an Olympic athlete, or a Nobel laureate (I suspect celebrities apply under this category).
There's also a refugee visa, but that doesn't need to be discussed except in passing because the requirements for that visa are in line with
international law--namely that to be a refugee, you must be at threat of suffering some kind of persecution from your own country (persecution based
on categories such as race, gender, etc.).
Aside from the refugee visa, there is a similar visa granted for "Temporary Protected Status." (See
). It is targeted specifically towards people whose countries have suffered a natural calamity.
But, TPS is not granted to persons who are not already within the United States.
Both the refugee visa and TPS will allow the holder to work in the United States, although not automatically. They need to file a separate form to
apply for work authorization. And respecting TPS, the country needs to first be designated as falling under TPS which I haven't seen the US do with
To cut a long story short: You could probably take in some of the victims from the earthquake and tsunami for up to 6 months (though I think the B-2s
are granted usually for 3). But, because they would be coming in as tourists, technically, all travel costs would have to be borne by either you or
the affected. They also would not be able to work with a B-2.
There's other stuff as well, and at first glance the US provides many avenues for people to come in (and stay) legally. But these legal methods are
made circuitous by various roadblocks.