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Visa Information for Temporary Visitors

Nonimmigrant visas are for international travelers (citizens of other countries), coming to the U.S. temporarily.

Joa Vianna interviewing travelers for vejatv.com

The temporary visa, placed in your passport when issued, allows you to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (airport, for example) and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection immigration officer to enter the U.S. A visa obtained at a U.S. consulate does not guarantee entry into the U.S.

International travelers come to the U.S. for a wide variety of reasons, including tourism, business, medical treatment and certain types of temporary work. The type of visa needed is defined by immigration law, and relates to the principal purpose of your travel. For an overview of the types of nonimmigrant visas available under immigration law, please see our Visa Types for Temporary Visitors webpage. The Consular Officer at the U.S. embassy or consulate will decide what kind of visa you need, when you apply.

Most Canadian citizens and many citizens from Visa Waiver Program countries can come to the United States (U.S.) without a visa if they meet certain requirements. All Visa Waiver Program travelers must present a machine-readable passport at the U.S. port of entry to enter the U.S. without a visa; otherwise a U.S. visa is required.

Advance planning can smooth the visa application process for you. Apply for your visa well in advance of your travel!

Important steps to remember:
  1. Review your visa status, and find out if you need a U.S. visa or a renewal.
  2. Review the Visa Wait Times information below for interview appointments and visa processing at each embassy and consular section worldwide available on our website. Visit the embassy or consular section website where you will apply for your visa to find out how to schedule an interview appointment, pay fees and any other instructions.
  3. Plan on an interview, as well as quick inkless fingerprint scans at the U.S. embassy or consulate, which is required for most visa applicants. Some visa applications require additional administrative processing, which requires some additional time. Applicants are advised when they apply.
What We Can Do For You: We can explain clearly all the alternatives visas available, how long it will take to obtain and what we have to do to succeed in the case in the fastest time. Our staff will go over every question in the applications with you, prepare the documentation, speak to any governmental agency if necessary, collect and review the supporting documents. If the applicant is out of the country we will do everything necessary to have the consular interview go smoothly. If you or your relative is in the United States the application will processed at the correct USCIS Service Center. If you are applying for an H or L visa, we can have the case expedited.
Listing of Non Immmigrant Visas

A

Ambassador, public minister, career diplomatic or consular officers. 3 Categories of A:

[A-1]: Ambassadors, public ministers, or career diplomats/officers;
[A-2]: Other accredited officials and employees of foreign governments;
[A-3]: Attendants, servants, personal employees.

 

B-1 - Tourist for Business

 

B-1 Missionary

FAQ's

The "Business Visitor" visa is the most commonly utilized category for persons initiating business activity in the United States. The visa is issued upon the merits of the individual applying; ordinarily, it is not necessary to retain counsel in applying for a B-1 visa. The B-1 allows an individual to incorporate in the U.S., acquire property, sign contracts, etc.; it precludes the individual from directly managing any U.S. business or in any way receiving wages from a U.S. source, even if self-owned. The B-1 tourist for business category is intended for business people coming to the United sates to engage activities of a professional, business or commercial nature, relating to their foreign business. A B-1 tourist for business cannot be paid from a United States source, other than incidental living or travel expenses. B-1 visitors cannot do any local employment.

 

B-2 Tourist for Pleasure

 

Tourist for pleasure granted B-2 visas, are used by a majority of the person coming to the U.S. each year. People with this classification of visa are usually admitted for a period of up to six months and may apply for extensions. However, the maximum limitation of stay for this visa category is one year.

When the tourist enters the U.S. a white piece of paper is stapled into the passport. This document is called an I-94. The date on the I-94 is what controls the period you are allowed to stay in the U.S. not the visa stamp obtained at the consulate. The visa stamp obtained at the consulate tells you what is the last day you may enter the U.S. with the visa. The date on the I-94 tells you how long you are authorized to stay in the U.S.

Before you are issued a tourist visa for pleasure you must satisfy the American consulate and the immigration official at the border that you are coming to the U.S. for a temporary visit for pleasure and that you have an un-abandoned foreign residence which you intend to return to at the end of the trip.

A tourist for pleasure cannot be employed in the United States.

 

C - In Transit

 

A C visa is used for person who are merely stopping in the U.S. to continue their trip or persons in transit to and from the United Nations Headquarters District and foreign countries under a special agreement.

 

D - Crew Member

Crew member (Sea or Air).

 

 

E-1 & E-2

Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors

 

 

More Info About E visas

Treaty traders are E-1 visas, Treaty investors are E-2 visas.

These two nonimmigrant visas are the closest thing to having a Green Card. Unlike most other nonimmigrant visas, treaty traders and investors do no have to retain a permanent residence abroad. There is also no limit on the duration of their stay as long as they maintain their status. The American consulate generally grants these visas for multiple periods of five years. Additionally employment by family members is not viewed as a violation of status.

This visa sounds ideal, however, the problem is that only nationals of countries having a "treaty of commerce and navigation" providing for nonimmigrant entries is in existence between the U.S. and the foreign country qualifies.

The "Treaty Trader" category is available to individuals from nations which have signed a treaty of trade and commerce with the United States. The Treaty Trader visa is available for an unlimited number of years and allows the spouse and minor dependents of the recipient to live and attend school in the United States. While many large corporations involved in import/export utilize the category, it is most frequently used by small to mid-size companies seeking a permanent trading presence in the United States.

Like the E-1, the E-2 "Treaty Investor" allows a foreign individual or corporation to invest actively in a U.S. business and remain in the U.S. while operating and managing it. Like the E-1, it has no limit on the number of years and does not require an un-abandoned foreign residence. The Treaty Investor visa is not limited to any particular type of business and it can include restaurants, manufacturing, and virtually any other type of activity permissible by law.

 

 

F-1


How to become a student or Exchange visitor.

 

 

F-1 Student Visa - Basic Info

 

 

Validity Following Break in Studies

 

 

F-1 Foreign Student in Public Schools

 

 

Arrival Procedures for International & Exchange Students

 

 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

 

 

Optional practical training (OPT)

 

 

 

Foreign nationals may come to the United states to study at authorized institutions. These students range from elementary school to post doctoral studies. Students who are coming to the U.S. to take vocational courses receive M visas and will be discussed later. As long as the student maintains his status he or she can pursue their studies and remain in the United Sates for many years in order to pursue their studies. Many may also qualify for Practical Training after the completion of their studies. When a student enters the United States he or she will usually be admitted for "DURATION OF STAY" and to pursue a full time course of studies at the school that has accepted him and has been approved by the U.S. consulate or immigration service. Students are in status for a period of 60 days after completion of their course of studies.

 

 

Druration of stay means that a student can basically remain in the United States indefinitely, as long as the student is still in school and maintaining the minimum 12 hours per wek schedule.

 

 

After  two semesters, astudent can apply for a work permission based upon hardship.  If this premission is granted, a student can work anywhere for up to 20 hours per week.  The hardship must be explained, for example; the father who was providing the support has had his hours reduced and can no longer provide the support as easily or perhaps the currency in the home country has lost value and the same money the parent was spending, now buys less American dollers, therefore requiring the studnent to work part time on order to take burdon from the parents.

A student an change schools at any time, ptovided hw is still in status and obtains a new I-20 AB from the new school.

G

 

G-1 Visas: (1) Principal resident representative, family and staff (of any rank, including clerical and custodial employees, so long as they are assigned on a "resident basis."); (2) Foreign government has de jure recognition; (3) International organization listed (e.g., IMF, U.N., OAS, OAU); (4) Only subject to certain security grounds of inadmissibility; (5) G-1 to G-4 duration of status so long as U.S. DOS recognizes credentials.

G-2 Visas: (1) Other accredited representatives and immediate family; (2) Personnel of any rank or temporary delegation

G-3 Visas: (1) G-1/G-2 from government without de jure recognition from U.S.; (2) Nonmember country of international organization

G-4 Visas: (1) Officers & employees of international organization and immediate family; (2) special expeditious treatment to U.N. reps. because United States host country; (2) sons & daughters, widows and retirees in G-4 status can be special immigrants.

G-5 Visas: Attendants, servants, and personal employees of G-1 to G-4's.

Employment is generally not available but may be authorized for certain G categories.

 

H1-b Specialty Occupation and Fashion Models

The H Category is perhaps the most useful category for business employers. Within the H category, the most commonly used visa is the H-1B visa (specialty occupation). In order to qualify for an H-1B visa, an individual must show that he or she is a member of a specialty occupation.

To be considered a member of a specialty occupation, the individual must have obtained, through education and/or experience, the equivalent of at least a Baccalaureate Degree in a specific discipline. Additionally, the job offered in the U.S. must reasonably require such a Baccalaureate Degree to perform the job duties. Common examples of members of specialty occupations are architects, engineers, teachers, lawyers, mathematicians, graphic designers, etc.

 
H-1(b) - Physical Therapist Physical therapists are generally eligible for an H-1B visa, since the bachelor’s degree is generally a minimum standard requirement for that occupation in the United States. An H-1B visa is available when the occupation requires a bachelor’s degree and the applicant has the same or teh equivalent degree. 

H-1(C)

 

Foreign-born Registered Nurse

The H-1C nonimmigrant category expires on Dec. 21, 2009.

The H-1C nonimmigrant temporary worker classification authorizes the admission of up to 500 nurses annually to work in eligible health care facilities. After the original 1999 statutory authorization of the program expired in 2005, Congress reauthorized it for three years beginning Dec. 20, 2006 in the Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Reauthorization Act of 2005.  The statutory authority for the program has not been extended. USCIS accepted petitions until Monday, Dec. 21, 2009.

 

 

H-2(b) Temorary Workers

Temporary employment based on an offer for a temporary position. Approval is conditioned on evidence that the job is temporary and that there are no willing, able, or qualified U.S. workers for the position. A labor certificate must be obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor. Approval is only for 1 year, with a maximum 3 year presence.

H-3 - Trainees

Employment authorization for the purpose of receiving training in a field that is not available in the applicant's home country. Period of approval depends on the nature of the proposed training, but no longer than 2 years total.

 

 

I - Foreign Correspondent

More information about I Visas

 

An I Visa is available for an alien who is a proper representative of foreign press, film, or other information media, who seeks to enter the United States solely to engage in such vocation, and the spouse and minor children of such representative.

 

 

J Visa Exhange Visitor

 

 

How to become an Exchange visitor.

 

A J visa is an Exchange Visitors visa under a special program enacted in 1961. The aim of the program is to foster international relations by bringing exchange visitors into the Unites States, under certain approved programs, to acquire skills that can then be utilized in their home country. In line with this aim, a condition is imposed upon certain of those participants that a t the end of the program they return to their native country for two years before being eligible to apply for a Green Carry and certain non-immigrant visas. In other words certain people with J visas cannot receive a Green Card without first leaving the U.S. and residing in their home country for two years. To determine if your J visa is subject to the 2 year foreign residency requirement you must look carefully at the form you received upon entry. This form is numbered IAP-66. Look carefully at the lower left hand corner. There is a box with two lines. One says SUBJECT TO the other says NOT SUBJECT TO.

 

K-1/k2 - Fiances of U.S. Citizens

A foreign national intending to marry an American citizen after arrival in the United States, who has met the U.S. citizen within two years prior to the date of filing, and who intends to remain in the U.S. permanently after the marriage may be issued a fiancée visa -a K-1 visa- for this very purposes. The people must marry within ninety days of arrival. If they fail to marry within that time period there will be a violation of the Immigration laws. The application for a Fiancée visa is filed with the Immigration Service. Once approved it is forwarded to the U.S. consulate in the home country of the intending immigrant. At the port of entry the fiancé will receive work authorization.

 

K-3/K-4 Spouse & children of a U.S. Citizen

 A new nonimmigrant category within the immigration law that allows the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen to be admitted to the United States in a nonimmigrant category. The admission allows the spouse or child to complete processing for permanent residence while in the United States. It also allows those admitted in the new category to have permission for employment while they await processing of their case to permanent resident status.

 

L-1A Executives / Managers



L-1B Specialiazed Knowledge

 

The "Intracompany Transferee" category is available to individuals who either own or are employees of a foreign corporation in which they have worked for at least one of the prior three years, in an executive, managerial, or specialized-knowledge capacity. The employer must be a U.S. corporation related directly, in any one of a variety of ways, to the foreign company. The L-1 visa carries a maximum approval of seven years, but is perhaps the most direct conduit to permanent residency in the United States.

 

M

Vocational (non-academic) student, or his/her spouse or child.

 

N - Nafta Professional

 

Professionals Under the North American Free Trade Agreement" is available only to citizens of Mexico and Canada. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) a citizen of a NAFTA country may work in a professional occupation in another NAFTA country provided that 1) the profession is on the NAFTA list, 2) the alien possesses the specific criteria for that profession, 3) the prospective position requires someone in that professional capacity and 4) the alien is going to work for a U.S. employer. The spouse and unmarried, minor children of the principal alien are entitled to the derivative status, but they are unable to accept employment in the United States.
 

 

 

O-1 Aliens of "Extraordinary Ability"

The O visa is set aside for aliens of " extraordinary" ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, certain aliens accompanying or assisting those aliens, and their family members. The primary requirement for an O visa is to have reached the epitome of the profession or endeavor for which the alien seeks admittance into the United States. The beneficiary of an O visa may remain in the States until the event, project or activity for which the alien is admitted is completed. The initial period of stay can be sought for three years and thereafter one year increments may be sought to complete the activity, event or project. An employer must petition for the O alien; the petition must be submitted only after the employer consults with a peer group, labor organization, or management organization regarding the work to be performed and the alien's qualifications. In most cases the consultation takes the form of a written advisory opinion from a peer group.

 

P-1A Internationally Recognized Athlete

 

P-1B Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group



P-3 Artist or Entertainer Coming to Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program

 

Q-1 Cultural Exchange

 

The P visa category covers those entertainers and athletes who cannot qualify under the extraordinary ability standard of the O category. The category covers alien athletes who compete individually or as part of a team at an internationally recognized level and aliens who perform with or, are an integral and essential part of the performance of, an entertainment group that has received international recognition as "outstanding" for a "sustained and substantial period of time."

P-1: Internationally recognized athlete or member of internationally recognized entertainment group.


P-2:Artist or entertainer in a reciprocal exchange program.


P-3:Artist or entertainer in a culturally unique program.

 

R - Religious Workers

Non immigrant visa for Religious Worker. This category covers ministers of religion, professional workers in religious vocation and occupations, and other workers in religious occupations or vocations employed by religious nonprofit organizations in the United States. R non immigrant may be admitted for a temporary period not to exceed 5 years. Initial admission may be approved for a period up to 3 years. The applicant must have been a member of the religious organization for a period of 2 years prior to application. This requirement was created in order to protect against people becoming a member of a church just to obtain immigration benefits. This visa should still be very useful for religious organization as the applicant has only to be a member to qualify and does not have to be a minister. Additionally a successful applicant who works for two years for the church will be able to apply for a green card under the "Special Immigrant" religious category.

 

S Visa & Green Card for Informants

An S nonimmigrant is an individual who has assisted a law enforcement agency as a witness or informant. A law enforcement agency may submit an application for permanent residence (a green card) on behalf of a witness or informant when the individual has completed the terms and conditions of his or her S classification. Only a federal or state law enforcement agency or a U.S. Attorney’s office may submit a request for permanent residence as an S nonimmigrant on behalf of a witness or informant. The requesting agency must also be the same agency that initially requested S nonimmigrant status on behalf of the individual. Qualifying family members of the principal S nonimmigrant may also be eligible to apply for a green card.

U Visa for Victims of Crime

A new nonimmigrant category (V) within the immigration law that allows the spouse or child of a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident to live and work in the United States in a nonimmigrant category. The spouse or child can remain in the United States while they wait until they are able to apply for lawful permanent residence status (Adjusting Status), or for an immigrant visa, instead of having to wait outside the United States as the law previously required.

 


 

 

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