There are roughly 185 different types of entry visas into the United States. A U.S. visa attorney can help you understand your options in deciding which visa best fits your specific situation, whether it be visa eligibility, bringing over family members, visa extensions, etc.
In general, foreign nationals who are visiting in the United States will need to obtain a visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate prior to entry. You do not need an entry visa if you are:
There are several other entry visa exemptions. U.S. visa policy can get complicated quickly. You should speak with a U.S. visa lawyer to better understand whether a visa exemption or other visa scenario applies to your situation.
There are two main U.S. visa categories: immigrant and non-immigrant visas. Immigrant visas are issued to those coming to the U.S. with the purpose of gaining permanent residency to live and work here. Immigrant visas usually require sponsorship from a U.S. citizen relative, U.S. lawful permanent resident, or prospective employer. Non-immigrant visas include visitor visas for tourism and business, student visas for international students, and temporary worker visas.
You’ll need to complete Form DS-160, pay the visa application fee, and schedule an appointment for visa application interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country of residence. The form and additional application details are available on the U.S. Department of State website. A visitor visa is typically issued for 6 months and precludes visitors from working and conducting business, which would require a separate visa. A U.S. visa lawyer can help determine which type of visa suits your needs.
In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.
Prepare for your consultation by writing down notes of your understanding of the case, jot down questions and concerns for the attorney, and gather your documents. Remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether the attorney has your trust and can help you address your legal issues. Questions should include how the attorney intends to resolve your issue, how many years he/she has been practicing law and specifically practicing in your area, as well as how many cases similar to yours the attorney has handled. It can also be helpful to broach the subject of fees so that you understand the likely cost and structure of your representation by a specific attorney and/or legal team.
Pro se – This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.
Statute – Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.
Subject matter jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.