Immigration & Naturalization Law
U.S. Visa Overview
Immigrant visas are for foreign nationals who seek to enter the United States to live and work permanently. Immigrant visas may be filed based on family-based immigration, employment-based immigration and diversity immigration. There is a maximum number of visas issued per year which is divided into those categories.
Nonimmigrant visas are for foreign nationals who do not intend on staying permanently in the U.S., such as tourists and business visitors. Non-immigrant visas are the most common sort of visa in the U.S. immigration system. Which type of non-immigrant visa someone holds determines how long they are allowed to stay in the country and what sort of activities they can undertake. There are eighteen types of nonimmigrant visas, so it is important to contact an immigration attorney to see which non-immigrant visa is right for you.
Are you engaged to a non-citizen? You can bring your fiancé to the United States to get married by filing a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Office. The fiancé visa program, or K-1 visa, allows non-citizens to come to the United States with their citizen fiancés, under certain conditions. The marriage must take place within 90 days of entering the U.S. and the couple may be interviewed by the USCIS to show that the marriage is legitimate and not solely for the purpose of gaining entry into the United States.
Once the application is approved, it is valid for four months, during which time the foreign fiancé may travel to the United States. The petition can also be extended, however if your fiancé(e) intends to live and work permanently in the United States, your fiancé(e) should apply to become a permanent resident after your marriage. For more information on fiancé visas, consult an immigration attorney in your area today.
This program allows nationals of certain countries to enter the U.S. for a short period time. Tourists or business visitors from the selected countries are allowed entry into the U.S. without a visa for up to 90 days. To register for this program, an online application must be submitted. This pre-approval is required to register for online travel clearance, and should be submitted no later than 72 hours before departing the U.S.
Do you need a family-based visa? The U.S. Immigration laws highly value family unification and therefore allow for a person to obtain a family based visa. The laws carefully define the family relationships which form the basis for an immigration visa. Immediate relatives such as spouses, unmarried children under 20 years old, and parents of a U¬S citizen may be eligible for this type of visa. However, other family members, who aren’t considered “immediate relatives” under the laws, may not be able to obtain a visa as readily. Because such visas are generally limited, it may take several years before one is available for a foreign relative.