What Are the U.S. Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visa Types?
May 15th, 2020
Generally, people from another country must obtain a visa, whether immigrant or non-immigrant to enter into the United States, if they do not qualify for the visa waiver program (ESTA), which allows non-immigrants from certain qualified countries to enter the country for up to 90 days without a visa. Immigrant visas are given to those seeking permanent residence in the U. S. and meet the required conditions, while non-immigrant U.S. visas authorize a stay for a period of time and for a specific reason.
Immigrant visas are visa petitions which would allow the beneficiary to live and work in the U.S. as a Legal Permanent Resident. An immigrant visa petition may be filed on your behalf by a qualified immediate family member (spouse, parent, child over 21, or sibling) or by an employer. In some very special cases, an individual may qualify to petition for themselves, for example an alien of extraordinary abilities, the qualified widow of a U.S. citizen, etc.
There are numerous non-immigrant visa categories that include temporary visitors, entertainers, athletes, students, investors and employees. Some of the most common non-immigrant visas are:
- H1B Visas for professionals
- L-1 Visas for intra-company transfers
- E-1 Visas for Treaty Traders
- E-2 Visas for Treaty Investors
- O Visas for foreigners with outstanding abilities
- K-1 Visas for fiancés of U.S. Citizens
- U Visas for victims of crime
- H-2 A Visa and H-2B Visa for seasonal workers
Each category of non-immigrant visas has particular rules about who is eligible for the visa, what activities are permitted through the visa as well as how long the person is allowed to stay in the U.S. and how often and how many times the visa may be renewed.
A non-immigrant visa can offer great opportunity and may be a gateway to later apply for an immigrant visa. It is therefore, it is essential to identify the best visa for you, given your short term and long term goals.
Visa Qualification and Application Process
The type of visa application process you will have to go through, whether it be consular processing at a consulate abroad, or adjustment of status with the USCIS office in the United States, depends on many factors, including whether you are inside or outside the United States at the time of applying and whether there are visas immediately available for your specific category and country.
Generally, both immigrant and non-immigrant visas require that the applicant meet specific criteria in order to qualify for the visa, and that sufficient and relevant evidence be submitted as supporting documentation with the application, in order to be approved. In addition, some visas have numerical limitations and therefore wait times, so it is important to work with your immigration attorney to carefully evaluate the qualification requirements and the limitations associated with the different visa processes to determine whether you may qualify or not and whether you can satisfy the evidence requirements.
Contact an Experienced Immigration Attorney Today
There are many intricacies and exceptions in immigration law which can be confusing and time consuming for most people. Utilizing the services of an experienced immigration law firm can simply the process and help you get it done properly. Our highly qualified immigration lawyers have a long track record of success processing both immigrant and non-immigrant visas for our clients. Our attorneys take the necessary time to listen to your short term and long term goals (whether they are to obtain a visa or to become a citizen), identify the best strategy for your case and assist you in carefully preparing all the documentation and forms so that they are submitted in the proper way and with enough evidence to get your case approved.
To schedule a consultation with one of our visa lawyers and learn more about what we can do for you , call (617)303-2600 today. We serve Boston, East Boston, Malden, Everett, Revere, Saugus, Lynn, Cambridge, Somerville, Quincy, Jamaica Plain, Brookline, Newton, Waltham, Framingham, Lowell, Lawrence and all of the surrounding communities in Massachusetts.