Visas

Overview

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. The visa allows a foreign citizen, to travel to the United States port-of entry and request permission of the U.S. immigration inspector to enter the U.S.

Investors

Nonimmigrant Investors. The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification. This is a nonimmigrant visa.

Immigrant Investors. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program provides Green Cards for the foreign investor, his spouse and unmarried children under 21. (See EB-5 Section of this website.)

Family

If you want to become a lawful permanent resident based on the fact that you have a relative who is a citizen of the United States or is a lawful permanent resident, your relative in the U.S. will need to sponsor you and prove he/she has enough income or assets to support you, the intending immigrant(s) when in the United States.

First, the USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition filed by your sponsoring relative
for you. Next, most sponsors will need to demonstrate adequate income or assets to support the intending immigrant, and accept legal responsibility for financially supporting their family member, by completing and signing a document called an Affidavit of Support. Once this is complete, then the intending immigrant may apply for the immigrant visa to come to the United States.

Employment

If you want to work in the U.S. temporarily as a nonimmigrant, under U.S. immigration law, you need a specific visa based on the type of work you will be doing. Most temporary worker categories require that the applicant’s prospective employer or agent to file a petition which must be approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before you can apply for a visa.

To be considered for an immigrant visa under some of the employment-based categories below, the applicant’s prospective employer or agent must first obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. Once received, the employer then files an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the appropriate employment-based preference category.

Visitors

B-1 Business Visitor Visas. When the purpose for your planned travel is to consult with business associates, travel for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or conference on specific dates, settle an estate, or negotiate a contract, then a business visitor visa would be the appropriate type of visa for your travel.

B-2 Pleasure, Tourism, Medical Treatment – Visitor Visas. When the purpose of your planned travel is recreational in nature, including tourism, vacation (holiday), amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment, activities of a fraternal, social, or service nature, and participation by amateurs, who will receive no remuneration, in musical, sports and similar events or contests, then a visitor visa (B-2) would be the appropriate type of visa for your travel.

Students and Exchange Visitors

The United States welcomes foreign citizens who come to the U.S. to study or participate in an exchange program. Before applying for a visa, all student and exchange visitor applicants are required to be accepted and approved for their program. When accepted, educational institutions and program sponsors will provide each applicant the necessary approval documentation, to be submitted when applying for a visa.

For details regarding students and studying in the U.S., read this.

Fiancés

The K-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen. The K-1 visa permits the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the United States and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. The foreign-citizen will then apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Because a fiancé(e) visa permits the holder to immigrate to the U.S. and marry a U.S. citizen shortly after arrival in the United States, the fiancé(e) must meet some of the requirements of an immigrant visa. Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants receive K-2 visas.

Those requirements and other details can be read here.

Asylum/Refugees

Refugee status or asylum may be granted to people who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

Find out more by reading this.

Crime Victims

U nonimmigrant status provides immigration protection to crime victims who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime. The U visa allows victims to remain in the United States and assist law enforcement authorities in the investigation or  prosecution of the criminal activity.

More can be read at this link.

Battered Spouses

As a battered spouse, child or parent, you may file an immigrant visa petition under the Violence against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA allows certain spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) to file a petition for themselves without the abuser’s knowledge. This will allow you to seek both safety and independence from the abuser. The provisions of VAWA apply equally to women and men. Your abuser will not be notified that you have filed for immigration benefits under VAWA

Adoption

Each year thousands of U.S. citizens adopt children from abroad and many families in other countries adopt U.S. children. Overseas adoption is governed by both the laws of the country in which the child lives and the country in which the adoptive parents live. Under U.S. law, there are two distinct overseas adoption processes: the Hague Convention process and the non-Hague Convention process. Which process you will follow will depend on whether or not the other country involved is also a party to the Hague Convention. We will guide you through and answer your questions about these processes.

Extensions

If you want to extend your stay in the United States, you must file a request with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status before your authorized stay expires. If you remain in the United States longer than authorized, you may be barred from returning and/or you may be removed (deported) from the United States. Check the date in the lower right-hand corner of your Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, to determine the date your authorized stay expires. We recommend that you apply to extend your stay at least 45 days before your authorized stay expires.

You may apply to extend your stay if:

  • You were lawfully admitted into the United States with a nonimmigrant visa
  • Your nonimmigrant visa status remains valid
  • You have not committed any crimes that make you ineligible for a visa
  • You have not violated the conditions of your admission
  • Your passport is valid and will remain valid for the duration of your stay

You may not apply to extend your stay if you were admitted to the United States in the following categories:

  • Visa Waiver Program
  • Crew member (D nonimmigrant visa)
  • In transit through the United States (C nonimmigrant visa)
  • In transit through the United States without a visa (TWOV)
  • Fiancé of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiancé (K nonimmigrant visa)
  • Informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S nonimmigrant visa)

Interviews

The USCIS often requires visa applicants to attend an interview. Our office will prepare you for your interview so that you will know what to expect when you get there. We will coach you on how to dress, what to bring, the possible questions that you will be asked, etc. This is a very valuable service that not all immigration firms provide.

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