It’s often hard to get your hands on a visa for the US. When you’ve set your sights on one of the many options, you then have to enter one of the most complex parts of American bureaucracy.
The country’s president-elect Donald Trump isn’t going to make things easier. He’s been very clear on his ideas about immigration, and if his policy will be implemented it’s expected that gaining temporary or permanent immigration status will only get harder.
Goldman Artem, CEO of legal advice company Legalspace, used Trump’s words as fuel for a project that’s making it easier than ever as an immigrant to gain access to the United States.
Visabot is a Facebook Messenger chatbot that helps you to apply for a visa in the US. The process works smoothly — you just start talking and the bot decides the best case specific to your situation. By answering a series of questions, it checks your chances and offers to set up a consultation call with Legalspace’s attorneys if it thinks you could be a good fit.
In less complex situations, it helps with filling out the right forms you can then manually send to the U.S. goverment.
Right now, the bot can only help with applications for the O-1 visa and B-2 visa extension. The first is meant for “Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement”, and known to be one of the hardest to obtain. The second is an extension for a B-2 tourist visa which lets you stay in the US for an additional six months. According to the website, it’ll offer support for other visas like H-1B and L-1 soon too.
I’m not a big fan of chatbots, mainly because I haven’t found them to be of much use. Visabot, however, is looking like it could mean a lot for people trying to get to the US. It’s offering the solution to a very complex problem in a simple, human interface that anyone can understand, and this accessibility makes it unique.