VISA for the USA

An Overview


by Tanya Arteaga

Consular Processing:

In order to obtain an immigrant visa and a non-immigrant visa, an interview at the Consular office in your home country may be required.

Immigrant Visa

Non-Immigrant Visas

Investor Visas

Employment Based Immigrant Visa

Marriage and Fiancé Visas

Immigrant Visa:
Immigrant Visa’s are issued to persons who are applying to obtain lawful permanent resident status.  An interview before a U.S. Consul in the applicant’s home country is required who will determine eligibility. The following are a list of scenarios in which an applicant could qualify for permanent residency:

 - A spouse or minor child of a U.S. Citizen or legal permanent resident;

 - A parent, adult child or sibling of an adult U.S. Citizen;

 - An approved applicant in the visa lottery

 - An employee  of a U.S. employer who has received approval from the DOL (Department of Labor) to hire;

 - A refugee or asylee

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Non Immigrant Visa:
Applications for non-immigrant visas are prepared by our firm and sent to U.S. Consul in the applicant’s home country. An interview to determine eligibility will then be required before a U.S. Consul who will only grant the non-immigrant visa if they are satisfied that the applicant wishes to enter the U.S. for a limited time and only for a specific purpose. The categories of non-immigrant visa’s are as follows:

B-1/B-2 Tourist and Business Visa

F-1 Student Visa

H-1B Work Visa for Professionals in Specialty Occupations

E-1/E-2 Treaty traders and treaty investor Visa

J Visa for an Exchange Visitor

K-1 fiancé of U.S. Citizen Visa

L-1 intra-company transferee Visa

 

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Non-Immigrant Visas

The following are several visas for foreigners who may qualify to come to the U.S.:

B-1 Visa:
B-1 Visas allow foreigners to temporarily enter the U.S. for business related purposes.  B-1 Visas are generally issued for a period of 10 years with any one visit not to exceed 6 months in the U.S.

 
H-1B Visa:
H-1B visas allow professionals to temporarily enter the U.S. to work in a capacity that requires a specialization or specialized skill.  At a minimum the applicant must have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree and the position must require at a minimum the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree.  This visa requires a U.S. employer who will sponsor the applicant and pay them the required wage.

 
H-2B Visa:
H-2B Visas allow foreign workers to temporarily enter the U.S. to perform work seasonally, intermittently, or one-time only for a U.S. employer. As with the H-1B, this visa requires a U.S. employer who will sponsor the applicant and pay them the required wage.

 
L Visa:
L Visas are available to intra-company transfers. L Visas are only available to foreign-based executives, managers, and employees with a specialized skill who are being transferred to an affiliate, subsidiary, or branch of the foreign company in the U.S. Applicants must prove that they have worked for at least 1 full year within the preceding three years for the foreign company.  The L Visa provides a work permit for the applicant’s spouse and can ultimately lead to permanent residency in the U.S.

 
O Visa:
There are two categories of O Visas who are issued to persons of extraordinary ability.  O-1A Visas are available for scientists, business people, educators, or athletes who wish to temporarily come to the United States to work in their field of business.  O-1B visas are available for artists – including literary artists, performing artists, and visual artists, who wish to temporarily come to the United States to work in their field of business.

 
J Visa:
The J Visa is an educational and cultural program designed by the Department of State and is available for exchange visitors.  Students, trainees, institutions, teachers, professors for higher education or research scholars, professionals in the medical fields and international visitors coming to travel, observe, consult, or conduct research may be included as participants.  Many exchange visitors who enter the U.S. are subject to a requirement that they return to their native country to share their knowledge acquired here for a two year period before they may return to the U.S. with immigrant visas or apply for another nonimmigrant visa.

 

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Investor Visas

E-1 Visas
E-1 Visas are treaty trader visas and are available to foreign nationals from qualifying countries who wish to enter the U.S. in order to engage in substantial trade between their country and the United States. Trade refers to the exchange of goods, services, money, and technology.

 
E-2 Visas
E-2 Visas are treaty investor visas and are issued to foreign nationals from qualifying countries who wish to enter the U.S. in order to develop and direct a commercial enterprise or business in which they have invested, or are in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.

 
EB-5
The employment based fifth preference category was created to create more job opportunities in the U.S. and benefit the U.S. economy. The requirements are as follows:

 - Invest $1 million in a new or existing U.S. business or commercial enterprise that will create at least 10 full-time U.S. jobs

 - Invest $500,000.00 in a new or existing U.S. business or commercial enterprise that will create at least 10 full-time U.S. jobs that is either a rural area or an area with a high unemployment rate

 - Invest in a U.S. government designated Regional center

 

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Employment Based Immigrant Visa
There are 5 main categories, each with a 40,000 annual visa allocation.

First Preference (EB-1): There are three separate categories within the first employment based preference:

Managers and executives subject to international transfer to the U.S.

Outstanding Professors and Researchers.  A job offer for a permanent position from a U.S. research or teaching institution is required.

Aliens of “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics.  This category is available only to a small percentage of people who have risen to the very top of their field.

 
Second Preference (EB-2): An EB-2 visa is available for aliens with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.  Requirements include an advance degree of expertise above that ordinarily encountered in the specific field.  This category generally requires a Department of Labor certification. Currently there is a backlog for this preference and the process can prove to be time consuming.

 
Third Preference (EB-3): An EB-3 visa is the “catch-all” category which covers other aliens with offers of employment in the U.S. This preference requires both a job offer by an employer who will file the petition and a labor certification.  There are currently significant waiting times for this preference. The following three groups which qualify for this preference:

Professionals with bachelor’s degrees in their fields;

Skilled workers;

Unskilled workers

 

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Marriage and Fiancé Visas

K-3 Marriage Visa: K-3 Visas allow a spouse of a U.S. citizen to lawfully enter and reside in the U.S. until the immigration process has been completed. The requirements to qualify for a K-3 Visa is as follows:

1.  The petitioning spouse must be a U.S. Citizen

2.  The foreign spouse is otherwise admissible to the U.S.

K-1 Fiancé Visa:  K-1 Visas allow U.S. citizens to bring their foreign fiancés into the U.S. in order to marry.  Once your fiancé enters the U.S., you have 90 days to marry and apply for permanent residency. The requirements to qualify for a K-1 Visa are as follows:

1.  The petitioner must be a U.S. Citizen

2.  You met your fiancé within the past two years

3.  Both you and your fiancé have intentions to marry within 90 days of your fiancé’s arrival in the U.S.

4.  You meet the minimum income requirement to fulfill the affidavit of financial support.

5.  The foreign fiancé is otherwise admissible to the U.S.

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