Whether you want to come to the United States for a short period of time for tourism or for business purposes, or if you intend to immigrate into the U.S. and take up permanent residence, you will need a visa in order to legally enter U.S. territory. However, since there are more than 180 different categories of visas available to non-U.S. residents, it can be a complicated process to determine which one you need to apply for.
A Marietta visa lawyer could provide crucial guidance and support throughout the visa application process. In addition to explaining what forms and documentation you need to provide, a bilingual immigration attorney could help you prepare for your interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if one is required for your visa.
Anyone whose country of origin is part of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) does not need a visa in order to travel legally to the United States for a maximum period of 90 days. However, they will need to have an e-Passport, fill out an application through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, and pay associated processing and authorization fees.
Individuals from non-VWP countries who want to travel to the United States on a short-term basis generally must apply for either a B-1 or B-2 visa. The B-1 is meant for business travelers and athletes competing in competitions for money, while the latter covers tourists, participants in amateur contests without financial incentives, and individuals traveling to the United States for medical care.
Various other visa categories apply to other types of temporary visitors. For example, most foreign exchange students will need an F visa, foreign media employees need an I visa, and temporary or seasonal workers need an H-2A or H-2B visa, depending on whether or not they are performing agricultural work. A local visa attorney could help an applicant understand what visa best suits their circumstances and streamline the application process.
With a few notable exceptions, there are two categories of immigrant visas for individuals seeking to immigrate permanently to the United States: family-based visas and employment-based visas. The first category allows immediate relatives of U.S. citizens—such as spouses, fiancés, children, parents, siblings—to seek sponsorship from their U.S.-based family member(s) to reside in the United States themselves. Green card holders with legal permanent resident (LPR) status can also sponsor certain family members for an F2A or F2B immigrant visa, although these visas are only available in limited quantity each year.
Employment-based visas allow U.S.-based employers to sponsor foreign nationals with specialized skills to come work for them in the United States. Persons of higher technical ability generally receiving higher priority during the application review process. Immigrant investors may also be able to seek E5 immigrant visas if they meet specific criteria for investment and job creation in the American economy. A Marietta immigration visa lawyer could explain these criteria in further detail.
Even if you only intend to spend a short time in the United States, getting the visa you need to legally enter the U.S. at a port of entry can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. If you want to pursue an immigrant visa of any kind, you will likely need assistance from legal counsel in order to navigate the various rules and restrictions in place for these visas.
A Marietta visa lawyer could help you make the most of your visa application and ensure that your future plans proceed as smoothly as possible. Call today to learn more during a free consultation.