If you wish to visit the U.S. as a tourist or to work temporarily, you may
be interested in getting a non-immigrant visa. There are many different
types of temporary visas (visas that are issued for a specific purpose and
specific time period), the most common of which is the
B visa for visitors. It is now possible to visit the
U.S. for up to 3 months from many different countries without any visa at
all. Our office is very experienced in assisting you with the necessary
documentation and procedure to procure a non-immigrant visa, but most
importantly, we can analyze exactly what type of visa will best suit
your immediate and future needs.
There are several
temporary visas that allow you to work here.
If you are a professional or a fashion model, an employer can petition for
you to have an
H-1B visa. This visa can last up to 6 years. In most
cases the position requires a college degree, but there are exceptions and
experience may be considered instead. There are many other conditions, such
as the commitment from the employer to pay the prevailing wage and the
occupation of the alien which must be a specialty occupation. Finally, this
type of visa is employer dependent and non-transferable.
Certified nurses can also have an
H1C visa, which follows specific requirements
Many foreign companies that establish or have existing subsidiaries in the
U.S. can transfer key employees to the American office on an
L-1 visa. There is a requirement that the employee must be
employed in the foreign company for at least
one year in the previous three years prior to the transfer. These visas are
currently highly scrutinized by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration
Services (BCIS) because fraud is becoming rampant.
Another popular visa is the E visa for investors. Foreigners who
substantially invest in our country or who conduct substantial trade with us
can reside here on an E visa provided the U.S. has a
treaty with their country permitting such investment or
trade. The E visa is valid for as long as the investment or trade is valid.
Students may reside here on
F or M visas which require that the applicant goes to
school full-time at a school recognized by the BCIS. Most public schools and
colleges qualify for this visa (although some do not accept anymore foreign
students). However, if the student is in public elementary or high school,
there will be a tuition charged for attendance. Most students are not
allowed to work. But it is possible to get a work permit after one year of
studies under certain circumstances. Even then, the student may only work
for 20 hours/week.
After the terrorist attacks on the U.S. soil on September 11, 2001, a new
regulation has been enacted and this means that every case is highly
scrutinized which delays the process. As a result, do not make plans to come
to the U.S. unless you have your visa in hand. This advice is equally valid
for all visas.
International exchange visas also exist, such as
J and Q visas.
K visa is issued to a fiancée/fiancé of a U.S. citizen
who is planning to marry an alien. This visa permits the alien to enter the
U.S. to get married, a ceremony which must take place within 90 days of
entry. Once the immigrant gets married, he or she must go to the local BCIS
office for an interview to get the green card.
Another type of K visa exists, created by Life Act, a
law enacted by President Clinton on December 2, 2000.
V visa has been created in the same time to avoid the
cruel separation of spouses and children of green card holders.
TN visas have been established for Canadians and
Mexicans, beneficiaries of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
which allows them to stay and work on the U.S. territory under specific
There are other temporary visas such as the
O visas and
P visas designed specifically for athletes and entertainers of
extraordinary skill and ability.
All of the "letter" visas have their own specific procedures and
requirements. The list provided here is not exhaustive and we may find a
visa that is specifically fit to your situation.